A Sweep, A Walkoff, and Puig

Wednesday started out with early batting practice as usual.  It seemed like an ordinary day.  It was cooler which was a plus.  It was the last game of this homestand.  The Dodgers had already won the series against the Nationals, having won 2 games out of 3 so we were hoping for a sweep.  The Nationals are the number one team in the National League East.  The Dodgers had won 5 straight games losing only one game this homestand.  Obviously the Dodgers are on a roll.
Robert brought his Mom to the game.  Always nice to see her.  Lucas refused to be in the picture.  You can see his hand.
Kenta was waiting in front of the dugout for something.  Most of the other Dodgers had already gone back into the clubhouse.
Justin Turner stopped to sign.
I went up to the club to eat.  

The grilled chicken was the best.  The pork roulade was amazing.  There also was a pasta dish with mushrooms and a squash medley.  The salads were fresh and delicious.
I went back to the field.  I was surprised that although there were many fans at batting practice, the stadium didn’t seem that full considering it was Dusty Baker bobblehead day.  This was about 45 minutes before the game.  Looks pretty empty.

It’s always good to see old friends…and their favorite Dodger is Puig???  Surprises coming for this little guy later in the game.
The Dodger starting pitcher was Julio Urias who has been a nice addition.  He has done well especially considering he is still a teenager.  How long he will stay before he gets sent back down is anybody’s guess.  Being so young it’s prudent to save his arm,  limiting his pitch count and innings.
Yasmani was catching for him.  

Julio warmed up
While Yasmani took a swig of his pink drink
Tommy Davis was practicing throwing the first pitch with the bat girls.  
Trayce’s Dad and brothers were at the game to support him.
Trayce and Chase
Caught on camera with the enemy….Danny Espinosa, former dirtbag and homerun hitter.  Always friends before the game, contenders during the game.
My seat was already in the shadows which is perfect.  The sun is not my friend.
Trayce is still getting his head shaved.
He is pretty good at twirling his bat like a baton.
Tommy Davis and Dusty Baker with Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo.
Something funny caught Joc’s eye
Joc made many fans happy.  He was the only one who signed.
Justin and Kike playing catch.  
I almost missed Julio and Yasmani on their trek across the field
Spy cam in the dugout
Pat and Donna ready for a good game
Julio said a little prayer before the game
and threw the first pitch…..strike!
The Nationals pitcher Joe Ross only 23 years old is up and coming.  Julio is only 19.  Julio still got into a high pitch count which is unfortunate since he is limited to 90 pitches a game.  It was a youthful matchup.  They both only allowed two earned runs.

The first inning was good for Julio: two strike outs and a fly out.  

In the bottom of the first inning, Chase singled
Corey also singled, Chase to second.
Justin Turner sacrificed, sending Chase to third.
Wild pitch to Adrian, Chase scored.  Sorry about the blurry picture.  This was Chase’s 1000th career run.  1-0.
In the second inning, Ryan Zimmerman singled and with a wild pitch, he went to second.  Anthony Rendon ground out, Zimmerman going to third.  Danny Espinosa doubled scoring Ryan Zimmerman tying the score.  1-1.  Joe Ross doubled scoring Espinosa.  1-2.  This was frustrating.  Suddenly in one inning, the Dodgers were behind.

I went to the team store for the first time this season.  While I was there, Corey hit a homerun in the 3rd inning tying the score again. 2-2.  Go figure.  I rationalized that if I were in my seat, Corey would not have hit the homerun.

In the 4th inning, Joc walked.
Yasmani singled sending Joc to 3rd.
But Yasiel struck out ending the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Yasmani singled.
Yasiel singled sending Yasmani to second.
AJ came in as a pinch hitter and executed a perfect bunt.  Yasiel went to second and Scott Van Slyke who was a pinch runner  for Yasmani went to 3rd.
A little rest while the Nationals pondered their fate.
Someone has a very sad face.  Now whose fault was that?  Dusty isn’t happy either.  The Nationals were on a 4 game skid coming into this last game of the series.  Now they are on a 5 game losing streak.
Kike was called out on strikes.
Corey flied out.  That was the end of the 7th.  The score was still tied.  2-2.
Casey Fien had come out to pitch in relief in the 6th replacing Julio who had reached his pitch count limit.   Adam Liberatore had replaced him in the 8th inning.  Bryce Harper grounded out.  Daniel Murphy grounded out.  
And Pedro Baez came out in relief.  He allowed a homerun to Wilson Ramos.  The Nationals regained the lead. 2-3.  Baez stayed in the game in the top of the 9th inning but after allowing singles to Rendon and Robinson and a walk to Jayson Werth,  Chris Hatcher replaced Baez.
By this time Dodger Stadium was emptying out.  Many fans left after the Ramos homerun.  The Dodgers have pulled off some last minute dramatics this homestand so I was reluctant to leave.  I decided to stay although the game was running long.  I’m sure the droves of fans who left early are sorry they did.
In the 9th inning, Joc struck out.  Two outs to go.  Howie came up to bat.  Howie is good as a clutch hitter.
Howie hit a single to right field.  I was nervous with excitement.  I was hoping this was the start of something good.  Yasiel was up to bat.  I figured that there was still two chances, two outs left.
Amazingly Yasiel hit a single that became the winning walk off thanks to an error by Michael Taylor who misjudged the ball.  Howie scored and Yasiel just continued running sliding home.  It was unbelievable.  We were wild with excitement.  At first we weren’t sure what exactly happened.  Taylor seemed to be looking for the ball which totally eluded him.
Finally with all the bad luck of one run games in the past, things were finally going our way.  I still couldn’t believe what happened.  Puig just doesn’t give up.  He must have learned from Dave Roberts’ punishment before his DL to run hard because that’s just what he did to win the game.  I’m sure Woodward the 3rd base coach had put out the stop sign but Puig being so fast just kept going.  No one should doubt Puig’s athleticism.  No one can run as fast or play as hard as Puig.
It was an exhilarating win.  Actually it has been a great homestand for the Dodgers.  They have won 6 straight games.  They swept the number one team in the National League East, the Nationals.  The Dodgers are still 5.5 games behind the Giants who are still going strong.  They are 4th in the National League behind the Cubs (who have lost 3 in a row),  the Giants, and the Nationals who could not beat the Dodgers.  Suddenly the Dodgers are contenders.  As I’ve said before, they have turned the corner.

The Dodgers have a day off on Thursday and then travel to Pittsburg to play the Pirates on Friday. The Pirates pitcher will be rookie Jameson Taillon 1-1 ERA 3.50.  It is still undecided who will pitch for the Dodgers.  It might be Maeda who will have had normal rest since the last time he pitched was  on Sunday.  With Carlos Frias going back to minors, one game may consist of relievers.  

Thanks for stopping by.  GO DODGERS!!!  It has been a tiring homestand but a fun one.

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