Justin Turner could hear the footsteps coming from behind him. He did not try to dodge the coming deluge. He surrendered to the joy, spreading his arms wide and delighting in a Gatorade bath.
There was no joy an hour earlier, when Kenley Jansen stomped into the dugout and overturned a container of gum. Jansen had just blown the save, and the usually joyful big man let loose, the source of his frustration extending far beyond one pitch.
“Life, honestly,” Jansen said. “You can’t control life.”
This was not just another night at the ballpark. The Dodgers endured the blown save, three extra innings and a 20-minute power outage — the second at Dodger Stadium this season — before Turner’s walk-off bloop double sent the Dodgers home with weary victory smiles.
“Super weird,” Clayton Kershaw said. “We needed it, though. We needed it bad.”
During the power outage, Turner kept manager Dave Roberts updated on howthe first-place ArizonaDiamondbacks had blown a lead and lost. When the lights came back to life, Turner hit the first pitch for the hit that gave the Dodgers a 5-4, 12-inning victory over the San Diego Padres.
The victory moved the Dodgers within 21/2 games of first place in the National League West.
“To say we’re not watching the scoreboard?” Roberts said. “We all are.”
On Saturday, after Kershaw had held the Padres at bay for eight innings, and after Manny Machado and Max Muncy had homered, Jansen inherited a 4-3 lead for the ninth.
Jansen needed three outs to preserve the victory. He got one before he blew the lead, surrendering a game-tying home run to Austin Hedges.
“Middle-middle,” Roberts said, “right in Hedges’ nitro zone.”
For the first time in his career, Jansen has given up a home run in three consecutive appearances.
Since returning from the disabled list Monday, the All-Star closer has two losses and a blown save. In three innings, he has given up seven hits, including four home runs.
In 2016, Jansen gave up four home runs in the entire season, covering 682/3 innings.
Roberts met with Jansen after the game. Roberts said Jansen would not get the chance to close again until Tuesday, at the earliest. The Dodgers have the day off Monday.
On Sunday, Roberts said, Jansen would be unavailable. Was that decision intended to give him a day to work on his mechanics, or to give him a mental break?
“A little of both,” Roberts said.
“I’m fine. I’m good. I don’t need a mental break,” Jansen said.
Jansen said he would work on reviewing whether a flaw in his delivery is causing his cut fastball to run rather than cut.
“I’m not making an excuse,” he said. “It just sucks.”
He was grateful, he said, that his teammates picked him up and the Dodgers did not lose.
“This will be over with before I go home to my family,” Jansen said. “I probably won’t think about it any more. I’ll just leave it here, and move on to the next day. That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to find a way to leave everything here, and go home, and live a normal life. And then, when you come back the next day, you will figure it out.
“It’s not the first time I’ve had a blown save.”
The National League Cy Young debate rages, with Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom and Aaron Nola the leading contenders. Still, Roberts scoffed at the notion that Kershaw’s performance might be a bit under the radar this year.
“It’s hard to imagine Clayton going under the radar,” Roberts said.
Kershaw, the Dodgers’ three-time Cy Young winner, has been effectively removed from the discussion because of his two stints on the disabled list, not his performance.
“You look at his performance, it’s been pretty remarkable since he came back,” Roberts said. “It’s not lost on us.”
On Saturday, Kershaw pitched eight innings, his third consecutive start of at least seven innings, in these days the mark of a throwback pitcher. He struck out nine, walked none and made 107 pitches.