The five-out save went to Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers closer who worked overtime to secure Monday night’s 9-5 victory over the New York Mets before 47,816 in Dodger Stadium.
The 275-foot save went to Cody Bellinger who, with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, unleashed a majestic throw from deep right field to third base to nail Carlos Gomez for a rally killing double play.
“I don’t know if they give out Gold Gloves in May but it’s hard to see it playing out any other way,” manager Dave Roberts said of Bellinger, who also threw out Michael Conforto at home in the first inning and leads major league right fielders with seven assists. “That play right there … was a game-changer.”
The Dodgers had rallied for six runs on seven hits in the sixth inning to take an 8-3 lead, Chris Taylor tying the score 3-3 with a solo homer to left off reliever Tyler Bashlor and pinch hitter Enrique Hernandez hitting a tiebreaking three-run homer to right-center off left-hander Daniel Zamora.
Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly, who was activated off the bereavement list Monday, replaced Pedro Baez to start the eighth. He gave up a single to Todd Frazier, a two-run homer to Adeiny Hechavarria — cutting the lead to 8-5 — and a single to Dominic Smith.
He was booed off the mound.
In came Dylan Floro, who got Tomas Nido to ground into a fielder’s choice. Gomez, trying to beat an infield shift, bunted to first baseman Max Muncy, who threw high to second for an error. Both runners were safe. Amed Rosario singled to load the bases.
Roberts summoned Jansen to finish off the victory over the visiting Mets.
J.D. Davis lofted a fly ball to Bellinger, who caught the ball at least 30 feet in front of the warning track.
“I didn’t think I had a chance at home so I just set my sights to third,” Bellinger said. “The mentality was just to throw it as hard as I could. I tried to throw it accurate.”
Bellinger’s high-arcing throw reached third on a fly. Justin Turner snapped a tag on the back side of Gomez before Nido crossed the plate, nullifying the run.
Umpire Jim Reynolds’ out call was upheld by instant replay.
“You’re going to see that on highlights for the next 30 years,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
Bellinger, who hit his 19th homer in the third inning, is having a season for the ages. He leads the major leagues in batting (.383), hits (72), on-base-plus-slugging percentage (1.229), runs (48), RBIs (49) and is second in the National League in homers behind Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich (21).
His offense alone makes Bellinger an early front-runner for the National League most valuable player. His defense is an added bonus.
Can Roberts, who played with Barry Bonds in San Francisco and spent five years (2011-2015) as a Padres coach before taking over the Dodgers in 2016, compare Bellinger’s dominance to anything he’s experienced?
“Not that I’ve seen personally on an everyday basis in all aspects of the game,” Roberts said. You’re talking about slug, average, on base, going first to third [on singles], stolen bases, catching the baseball, outfield assists. All that stuff. That part of it, I haven’t seen anything like it.
“I’ve played with and managed a lot of great players, but to do what he can do, to check all of those boxes … and you’ve got to be careful when you talk about Mike Trout, because that’s longevity, too. But for a two-month stint, that’s what you’re talking about.”
Taylor also had a productive night, hastening reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom’s exit with a 12-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off six full-count pitches before grounding out in the fourth. In addition to his sixth-inning homer, Taylor hit an RBI single in the eighth.
Leadoff man Joc Pederson had three hits and a run and an outfield assist in the fifth, when he fielded Rosario’s double in the gap and threw to shortstop Corey Seager, who threw home to catch Nido.
“Three outfield assists in one game — they essentially saved an entire inning of baseball,” Turner said. “That’s pretty special.”