If you missed Monday’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins, you missed a barnburner. I had to write and rewrite this postgame article more times than I can count, in what quite literally was the craziest game I’ve seen in recent memory.
The first-place Twins clawed their way back multiple times, but it wasn’t enough as the Dodgers walked off the Twins in the bottom of the 12th inning thanks to a walk-off walk by none other than Trayce Thompson.
It shouldn’t have had to get to that place, as the Dodgers held multiple leads late in the game. But a win is a win (I guess), and the Dodgers have now won 14 of their last 16 games, and extended their National-League-best record to 27-15. Here’s everything — and I mean everything — you need to know about this game.
Let’s Get Into The Highlights
Noah Syndergaard was on the mound for the Dodgers despite leaving his previous outing after just one inning with a pretty gnarly, bloody blister. He said he would be good to go on Monday, though, and he came out firing in the first inning.
Syndergaard threw his hardest pitch of the season at 94.3 mph and got two strikeouts, including one on the loudly-booed Correa.
In the bottom half of the first inning, it didn’t take long for the Dodgers offense to get going. A Freddie Freeman single put Will Smith in a position to do some damage, and the best catcher in baseball (according to Freeman) didn’t miss it.
Smith hit a two-run home run to center field, giving the Dodgers the early 2-0 lead.
Max Muncy was the very next batter, and it didn’t take him long to reassert himself as one of baseball’s best power hitters. He crushed (and that word may be an understatement) a ball to right field, going back-to-back with Smith and giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.
The Twins got to Syndergaard in the second inning with three singles and a stolen base. However, he was able to limit the damage to just one run.
The next highlight came in the third inning, when Muncy got his second plate appearance of the game.
Muncy entered Monday’s game with one home run in his last 14 games, and in the midst of a 2-for-28 slump. On Monday, that slump was busted.
After a great nine-pitch at-bat in which he fouled five straight pitches off, Muncy smoked a 2-2 pitch to center field to give the Dodgers a 5-1 lead. He also retook the MLB home run lead with that dinger.
In the top of the fourth inning, Syndergaard struck out two, but allowed a home run to Jorge Polanco. That would ultimately be his final inning, although we don’t know if it was because of the blister or if that was the plan all along. He threw just 59 pitches.
Syndergaard’s early exit left the Dodgers bullpen to get 15 outs (and then a lot more). That proved to be trouble.
The pen started off well, with Justin Bruihl and Shelby Miller pitching consecutive scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth. However, Caleb Ferguson came in to finish the seventh inning, and struggled.
He loaded the bases and the Twins scored a run on a wild pitch. Fortunately, he got Correa to ground out on a 3-1 pitch with runners on second and third with two outs to end the inning.
It didn’t take long for the Dodgers to get that run back, though.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mookie Betts walked and Freeman followed with an RBI double, just missing a home run that would have been the 300th of his career.
Dodgers 6, Twins 3.
The trouble continued for the Dodgers bullpen in the top of the eighth, as Yency Almonte allowed a single and double to leadoff the inning. Then, it got really bad, as Trevor Larnach launched a three-run home run, and suddenly, this game was tied at six apiece.
Again, the Dodgers offense delivered, though.
After two quick outs in the eighth, the rookie Miguel Vargas came up and crushed a double to left-center field.
Then, it was David Peralta’s turn, and the man who gave the Dodgers their first walk-off win of the season delivered in the clutch yet again. He hit an RBI double that barely stayed fair, giving the Dodgers the 7-6 lead. And by saying barely, I mean I’m not sure if it even stayed fair. You can be the judge of that one.
Evan Phillips was tasked with closing the game out, and the bullpen struggles bled into his game, too.
Phillips suffered his first blown save of the season, allowing an RBI double courtesy of Byron Buxton.
Fortunately, Phillips was able to limit the damage, and the Dodgers had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth tied at seven. They did not, and we went to extra innings for the first time at Dodger Stadium this season.
Phil Bickford came on in the 10th, and got into immediate trouble. The first three runners reached, and with the ghost runner on second, the Twins had a quick 8-7 lead.
However, with the bases loaded and nobody out, Bickford turned into Harry Houdini, and with a little help from home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, got out of the jam and limited the damage to just one run.
Muncy flew out to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning, leaving Smith on second base. Next up was J.D. Martinez, and he didn’t make that same mistake.
Martinez banged an 0-2 pitch into center field, and just like that we were tied again.
Trayce Thompson then came in as a pinch-hitter, and became the second Dodger to get picked off in the game.
To the 11th we go.
The 11th was the Phil Bickford inning, as he just dominated the Twins with his fastball. Bickford struck out the side, and put the Dodgers in perfect position to win the game in the bottom of the 11th.
Unfortunately, perfect position meant nothing to the Dodgers offense. They were able to get the ghost runner over to third, but nothing more. To the 12th we went, and Bickford was back out there, as the last man standing in the Dodgers bullpen.
I don’t know how, but Bickford managed to put up a 0 again. He threw a career-high in innings and pitches, and earned himself a win.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Dodgers gave it to him.
It wasn’t pretty, but after two intentional walks of Freeman and Muncy, Trayce Thompson drew the walk-off walk and, finally, the game ended and the Dodgers won.
The Dodgers can’t lose, winners of 14 of their last 16. They tried their best to lose this one, but ultimately came out with the win.
The Dodgers and Twins will be right back on the Dodger Stadium field on Tuesday for game two of the series. First pitch for that one is at 7:10 p.m. PT, too.
Clayton Kershaw is taking the mound for the Dodgers (despite the loss of his mother over the weekend), going up against RHP Bailey Ober of the Twins. Hopefully the Dodgers can get another long outing out of Kershaw.
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