How Justin Turner helped Gavin Lux redeem himself with walk-off double in Dodgers’ win
When the ball went between his legs, Gavin Lux tried not to show much emotion.
After committing a two-out error in the second inning Sunday, when his missed ground ball at second base led to four unearned runs for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers infielder tucked his glove into his arm.
He took off his cap and looked at the scout card for the next batter.
And when he returned to the dugout, he sat down next to starting pitcher Michael Grove, who was making his MLB debut, and didn’t say a word.
He didn’t need to.
“I gotta make that play,” Lux later acknowledged. “Everybody knows that … Those runs are on me.”
The Dodgers’ starting pitching rotation is a mess with Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney out, and Trevor Bauer remaining on the roster isn’t helping.
A couple hours later, Lux redeemed himself.
After three straight losses to the Phillies this weekend during which the Dodgers couldn’t dig out of an early hole, the 24-year-old former top prospect helped the team finally flip the script.
Down by four following Lux’s error, the Dodgers cut the deficit to one by the bottom of the ninth. Then, with two on and two out, Lux came to the plate, hit a line drive into the right-field corner and — this time — let all the emotions come pouring out.
Lux had delivered a two-run double to give the Dodgers a walk-off 5-4 win. And as the winning run crossed the plate, the rest of the team came pouring off the bench to mob him, serenading him near second base with high fives and hugs and more than a few sprays from a water bottle.
“I think,” a smiling Lux said postgame, “that might be my first walk-off in my whole professional career.”
At the very least, it was the first walk-off RBI of Lux’s MLB career. It was also the first walk-off win for the Dodgers (21-12) this season, as well as their first comeback victory after trailing in the sixth inning or later.
“It’s huge,” manager Dave Roberts said after his team avoided its first four-game home sweep since May 2018 and snapped a 1-5 skid this week. “I don’t want to say it’s the biggest win of the year. It’s a small sample. But right now this is a big one … Guys are feeling pretty good.”
No one more so than Lux, who not only committed the second-inning error — leading to the only runs given up by Dodgers pitchers all afternoon — but had one hit in his previous 13 at-bats.
Really, Lux had been cooling off for weeks, following his auspicious start to the season.
But as he tried to forget his defensive miscue Sunday, it was a teammate who provided some impactful advice at the plate.
Following Lux’s second at-bat in the fifth inning — a strikeout against Aaron Nola, who gave up only two runs in seven innings for the Phillies (17-18) — Lux was approached in the dugout by Justin Turner.
Turner noticed the weight distribution in Lux’s swing was off. Where earlier this season he was loading slightly more on his back leg, he was now letting his head and body shift too far forward.
With the help of a couple side-by-side screenshots on a dugout tablet, Lux immediately noticed the difference.
“Guys aren’t always receptive in-game to adjustments, but I didn’t think it was something that was major,” Turner said. “I kind of floated it to him.”
Lux immediately noticed a difference when testing it out on-deck before his next at-bat.
“It was like, ‘Yeah, that feels right,’” he said. “It helped me a lot, just seeing pitches.”
Julio Urías gives up four home runs and the Dodgers struggle against the Phillies’ bullpen on the way to a fourth consecutive loss.
Lux first used the tweak to draw an eighth-inning walk, getting aboard to lead off before scoring on an RBI double by Mookie Betts.
That made the score 4-3, following Betts’ solo home run in the third inning and Max Muncy’s RBI single in the fourth.
The Dodgers had a chance to take the lead in the eighth, too, when a Freddie Freeman walk put the go-ahead run on base. But Trea Turner hit into a double play and Will Smith grounded out into the shift.
When the Dodgers made two quick outs in the ninth against Phillies closer Corey Knebel, it looked like their latest comeback bid in this series — they overcame big deficits Thursday and Friday only to lose both times — would again fall short.
But then Cody Bellinger shot a triple into the corner, Chris Taylor walked to represent the winning run at first base and Lux got into a 2-and-1 count.
Knebel threw a curveball below the zone, but Lux stayed on it, driving a double into the corner that allowed Taylor to score without a throw — and sent the 51,869 in attendance into pandemonium as Lux was mobbed on the bases.
“As a young player, if something like [the second-inning error] happens, it’s front of mind and it spills into at bats,” Roberts said, before complimenting Lux. “He was still staying patient. … [To] ride it out and not panic shows some maturity.”
Echoed Lux, with a deep sigh of relief postgame: “Baseball is all about having a short memory.”
On Sunday, it led to a moment he won’t soon forget.
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