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Topsy-turvy game ends with Dodgers beating Giants in extra innings

Mookie Betts celebrates as he scores ahead of Freddie Freeman on Will Smith's double in the 10th inning Monday.
(Godofredo A. Vásquez / Associated Press)
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When the season ends, and the Dodgers reflect on their 162-game journey through the schedule, the details of Monday’s game against the San Francisco Giants aren’t likely to be remembered.

The result probably will be lumped in with dozens of others, another indistinguishable thread in the tapestry of a six-month season.

But for one crisp Bay Area night, in front of a split crowd of 35,000 at Oracle Park, both the Dodgers and the Giants — and large swaths of their rival fan bases — hung on the anticipation of every little twist.

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And in the Dodgers’ 6-4 win, there were plenty of them in a game that featured an early pitchers’ duel, a late-inning bullpen battle, and a dramatic extra-inning ending, when Will Smith hammered a go-ahead two-run double in the top of the 10th and J.P. Feyereisen converted an improbable save for a shorthanded Dodgers bullpen.

“A lot of weird stuff tends to happen in this stadium, especially late in games,” said longtime Dodgers utilityman Kiké Hernández, who helped push the game to extras with a tying home run in the seventh.

“I think there’s something to the rivalry,” manager Dave Roberts added. “Regardless of records, it seems like we always have tight ballgames.”

On this night, the fireworks started early. Mookie Betts hit a leadoff home run — ending a 26-game home run drought, and giving him his 50th career leadoff blast — only for Giants center fielder Luis Matos to answer in the second inning with a three-run drive to left.

Walker Buehler delivered a shaky performance during his second start since his second Tommy John surgery, but the Dodgers aren’t worried yet.

May 13, 2024

The starting pitchers offered little separation, with Giants right-hander Jordan Hicks giving up two runs over five innings, and Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto surrendering four runs for the Dodgers (28-15) while pitching into the sixth.

The Dodgers tied the score at 3-3 by manufacturing runs in the fifth (on a Shohei Ohtani infield single) and sixth (on a Gavin Lux ground-rule double). They did it again the seventh, knotting the score at 4-4 on Hernández’s pinch-hit home run.

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Finally, the tension reached its apex in the bottom of the 10th.

With several of their top relievers out because of injuries, and all of their available late-inning choices having been burned in the regulation innings, the Dodgers were down to Feyereisen — an injury-plagued veteran with a 9.00 ERA this season — as their best option remaining in the bullpen.

That made Smith’s two-run double in the top of the inning imperative, arriving at a crucial time for both the catcher (who entered the night in an 0-for-16 slump) and the team (which was coming off a series loss to the San Diego Padres).

“For us to ‘struggle’ in San Diego … and [tonight] come back and tie the game, tie the game and take the lead late in the game, it was good,” Hernández said. “Hopefully we get rolling again.”

Monday was rich with other minor subplots, in the first of a three-game series at Oracle Park.

The game marked the first trip both Ohtani and Yamamoto had made to San Francisco since this offseason, when they both legitimately considered the Giants as free agents before spurning them for record-breaking contracts with the Dodgers.

“Having those two guys in orange and black would change the landscape,” Roberts said pregame, before adding with a grin. “I think they look better in Dodger blue.”

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The MLB’s bat-tracking data shows that Shohei Ohtani’s swing generates the most bat speed for the Dodgers, while Mookie Betts’ swing squares up the most and Freddie Freeman’s swing is the shortest.

May 13, 2024

Ohtani was greeted with a hostile reception. Unlike last month’s trip to Toronto, there were no unanimous boos from a crowd with large swaths of Dodger blue. But, there was plenty of heckling from those in orange and black — including a sign from one Giants fan that read “Parlay Shohei,” in an apparent dig at the gambling scandal surrounding his ex-interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

Yamamoto, meanwhile, was approached after the first inning by the umpires, who were checking to see if his blue glove had too strong of a white accent (MLB regulates glove colors to ensure batters can distinguish the ball on each pitch).

“They said something about the white Nike logo on there, they didn’t know if that was allowable,” Roberts said. “But they were just giving us heads up.”

After Yamamoto made way, Roberts had to navigate five leverage innings without some of the top arms in his banged-up bullpen.

Alex Vesia limited damage in the sixth, after Yamamoto walked two batters and gave up a go-ahead run on a Heliot Ramos single that got past Betts at shortstop.

The Dodgers then got consecutive zeros from Michael Grove, Daniel Hudson and, in the bottom of the ninth, Blake Treinen — who recorded a crucial pick-off at first base to post his fourth scoreless outing since returning from injury.

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Then, after Smith put the Dodgers in front in the top of the 10th, Feyereisen induced a game-ending double-play for just his fifth career save, putting a climatic final touch on Monday’s rollicking one-night script.

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