Corey Seager hits first career grand slam in Dodgers’ 9-7 win over Reds
It was a weekend of firsts for Corey Seager. On Saturday, he had the first walk-off hit of his career. On Sunday, he hit his first career grand slam. That one also was a game-winner, the capper of an improbable six-run rally, the drama so intense and the thrill so great that Seager could have punctuated the moment with his first career bat flip.
Why not? He already had been hit by a pitch, as the big red welt on his back revealed after the game. But Seager probably would play naked before he would flip his bat, even on such a grand occasion.
A Seager bat flip? No flippin’ way.
“It’s probably not going to happen,” Seager said. “Yeah. That one probably won’t happen.”
The Dodgers scored six runs in the eighth inning, stunning the Cincinnati Reds in a 9-7 victory that completed a three-game sweep. Enrique Hernandez, whose 13-pitch walk helped to set up Seager’s slam, said Seager was far from stoic after circling the bases.
“He was excited,” Hernandez said. “We were all excited. We knew Colorado lost. It hasn’t happened very often that they lose and we win.”
Indeed, the Dodgers gained a game on the first-place Rockies for the first time in 10 days.
Cody Bellinger hit two home runs, giving him a team-high 15. He spotted the rest of the league three weeks and still has more home runs than Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo.
Kenley Jansen earned his 200th career save, although he called it “a little disappointing” that center fielder Chris Taylor inadvertently tossed away the ball from the final out. Jansen has converted all 11 save opportunities this season, with a 1.03 earned-run average, 43 strikeouts and no walks.
Hyun-Jin Ryu threw four uneven innings, giving up three home runs. His velocity dropped from 91-93 mph in his previous start to 88-90 mph in this one, but manager Dave Roberts said he was unaware of any physical issues and said Ryu would make his next start.
The Dodgers were five outs from defeat Sunday, and the Reds had a 7-3 lead. After Bellinger homered and Yasmani Grandal singled, the Reds turned to closer Raisel Iglesias for what they hoped would be a five-out save.
Iglesias, who had not blown a save this season and had not given up a run in seven weeks, could barely throw a strike.
He walked Yasiel Puig on four pitches.
He walked Hernandez on 13 pitches, after Hernandez had fouled off eight.
“That’s huge,” Seager said. “It wears down the pitcher. You lose confidence in your pitches. You start making mistakes. That wears on guys for sure.”
Hernandez said he believed he’d had such an epic at-bat previously in his career.
“Maybe not in the big leagues,” he said, smiling. “I usually get out within three pitches.”
Iglesias walked Chase Utley on six pitches, forcing home a run and closing the gap to 7-5.
At that point, Iglesias had thrown 23 pitches without recording an out.
The 24th pitch was no better. Seager hit it over the fence in right-center field, his first grand slam since Aug. 23, 2015.
He played for the Dodgers’ triple-A Oklahoma City team then. His grand slam that day drove in three former top Dodgers prospects — pitcher Zach Lee, dealt to the Seattle Mariners in a great trade for Taylor, and Scott Schebler and Jose Peraza, traded to the Reds in a not-so-great trade for three prospects, one of whom remains in the organization and none of whom is in the majors.
Schebler hit a home run Sunday; he’s tied for the NL lead in home runs, with 18. Peraza had two hits.
But the scoreboard is what it is, and that taut comeback was what it was. Even Adrian Gonzalez, who had left the game because of a back injury, could enjoy it from a safe distance.
“It’s a lot of fun to see,” he said, “from the training room.”
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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