Yasmani Grandal stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday with the bases loaded, two outs, and the Dodgers trailing the Colorado Rockies by two runs.
In the span of a six-pitch at-bat that ended with Grandal striking out on an Adam Ottavino breaking ball, three runs crossed the plate, two on a single wild pitch, giving the Dodgers the lead and Grandal what had to be the most productive out in baseball history.
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.
The Dodgers rode the unconventional rally, rookie phenom Cody Bellinger’s sixth multi-home run game and a five-out save by Kenley Jansen to a 12-6 come-from-behind victory, giving them 10 consecutive wins and 16 in their last 17 games.
As if the seventh inning wasn’t absurd enough, the Dodgers scored five more runs in the eighth — two on wild pitches, two on Bellinger’s National League-leading 24th homer, which led to his first curtain call, and Jansen’s first career double and RBI, a drive to the center-field wall off Rockies closer Greg Holland.
The grueling 4-hour 19-minute marathon, in which the Dodgers overcame a 5-0 third-inning deficit, was the longest nine-inning game in the history of Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962.
The clubs combined for eight wild pitches, the most in a major league game since 2013. The Dodgers were the first team since 1920 to score five runs on wild pitches.
“That was a long, crazy game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “To go through all the things we did, to be [down by five], for us to hang in there is a credit to our guys. We talk about playing every pitch, and that’s what we did.”
The Dodgers trailed 5-0 before Enrique Hernandez and Bellinger smashed two-run homers to right-center field in the third, giving the Dodgers home runs in 17 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in club history and seven shy of the franchise record of homers in 24 straight games, set in 1953.
Colorado took a 6-4 lead in the fifth on Ian Desmond’s RBI single but was stifled by two stellar Dodgers defensive plays, Chris Taylor’s throw from left field to cut down Alexi Amarista at the plate to end the sixth and Bellinger’s diving catch in right-center with two on to end the seventh.
Then came the wacky bottom of the seventh.
Rockies manager Bud Black summoned Ottavino to face Austin Barnes, who took a borderline full-count pitch that was called outside for ball four, loading the bases.
Ottavino’s first pitch to Grandal, a 95-mph, down-and-in fastball, skipped by catcher Tony Wolters, allowing Turner to score to make it 6-5. The other two runners advanced on the wild pitch.
Ottavino’s 2-and-2 pitch to Grandal, a 96-mph down-and-in fastball, bounced past Wolters, who was unable to locate the ball immediately. Forsythe scored easily from third. Barnes, who was on second, never slowed around third, and he was beyond the bag by the time Wolters even located the ball. Barnes slid into the plate without a throw, giving the Dodgers a 7-6 lead. Grandal then struck out to end the inning.
“You’ve got guys everywhere on the bases, and the next thing you know, he’s hitting 2-2 with nobody on base,” Roberts said. “A very productive at-bat. We talk about having quality at-bats. He was getting them over, getting them in.”
“He didn’t slow down,” Roberts said. “He took a hard turn around third, and the play is in front of him. At that point, you have to be instinctual. I think if you look at our roster, we have a lot of dynamic players, guys you can play anywhere, who can run the bases and compete. Austin fits that bill.”
The Dodgers blew the game open in the eighth, and Jansen, despite issuing his first walk in 32 2/3 innings this season, threw a scoreless ninth to finish off his 17th save, the second five-out save of his career, not counting the postseason.
Jansen had struck out 51 of the first 115 batters he faced, a major league record for most strikeouts to open a season without a walk.
“You know that eventually you’re gonna walk someone,” said Jansen, who is 4-0 with an 0.83 ERA. “It was a great ride, a blessing to make history, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning.”
Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna