Zach Greinke was on a roll, which by now is almost expected. Scott Van Slyke was … what?
Not forgotten, certainly. Yet he had started only three times in the Dodgers’ last 10 games and had lost some playing time to Alex Guerrero.
But there he was Monday, back in the lineup and in the middle of absolutely everything in the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over the Marlins before a crowd of 44,941 at Dodger Stadium.
Batting eighth, he had three hits, was a tad lackadaisical tagging from third to have a potential run go uncounted, threw out a runner at the plate, scored what appeared to be the winning run in the seventh, and then after the Marlins had gone ahead by a run in the top of the ninth, delivered a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
It was a massive hit for Van Slyke and the Dodgers. It was only his second home run of the season and second walk-off home run of his career.
Greinke was again strong, throwing seven innings. He allowed one run on six hits and two walks, striking out five.
And he would have earned the victory Monday if Yimi Garcia had not experienced the worst outing of his young career. Garcia, who had allowed only one run in 14 appearances, gave up a two-run homer to Christian Yelich in the top of the ninth.
Garcia had been so dominant, the blast was fairly stunning.
But with one out in the bottom of the inning, Miami closer Steve Cishek walked Justin Turner and Andre Ethier singled him to second to bring up Van Slyke.
There was little doubt the hit was going out, Van Slyke capping the Dodgers’ 11th comeback victory of the season.
There was no score after three innings when Howie Kendrick produced the Dodgers’ first hit against Miami right-hander Tom Koehler. With one out in the fourth inning, Kendrick lined a double to right that went just beyond the glove of Giancarlo Stanton.
Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single to shallow center that advanced Kendrick to third. Turner, again starting at third in place of Juan Uribe, hit a bouncer to shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria which was hit slow enough to keep the Marlins from being able to turn a double play. Turner beat the relay as Kendrick scored.
With Greinke cruising again, one run looked fairly significant. Still, the Dodgers missed an opportunity to add a second run in the fifth due to some unimpressive baserunning.
The Dodgers had Van Slyke on third and Joc Pederson at first with one out when Jimmy Rollins lined a drive to right. Stanton retreated quickly, making a nice running catch at the warning track.
Trouble was, Pederson apparently did not think Stanton would get to the ball and wandered too far off the base. Stanton fired to first for a double play. Which was made more troubling because Van Slyke causally strolled home rather than running full speed. Stanton’s throw to first arrived just before Van Slyke came home, nullifying the would-be run.
Greinke was still clinging to a 1-0 lead in the seventh when outfielder Marcell Ozuna connected for his third home run of the year, this one a solo shot that went half way up the left-field pavilion to tie the score at 1-1.
The Marlins had a chance to take the lead in the seventh when singles by Yelich and Michael Morse, a wild pitch and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Hechavarria lined a drive to shallow left, but Van Slyke made a nice running catch as Yelich tagged.
Van Slyke had some trouble getting his throw off, but when he did it was a bullet to catcher Yasmani Grandal, whose tag just nipped the out-stretched arm of Yelich as he crossed the plate.
But the game did not remain tied long. In the bottom of the inning, Van Slyke drove a one-out single to left, and when Yelich overran the ball, Van Slyke kept running to second and just beat the throw. With two outs, Pederson bounced a single under the glove of reliever Nick Bassett and up the middle. Van Slyke slid home and the Dodgers had a 2-1 lead.
But there was still much more Van Slyke drama to come.