Never Leave Early

I’ve learned that it isn’t wise to leave a Dodger game early.  The Dodgers will fight to the bitter end.  Tuesday’s game was no different.

I was wearing Mike Bolsinger’s practice jersey for luck.  He was starting for the Blue Jays for the first time in 2017.   Unfortunately the Blue Jays lost.  Underneath I was wearing my Julio Urias shirt.  He was starting for the Dodgers.

They were warming up on the field.  They all looked relaxed and in good spirits.  A big win the night before made everyone happy.
Yaz was taking a few swings
Ross Stripling and Austin Barnes would be two key figures in the win on Tuesday.  Unlikely heroes.  Hi Austin.Ryu
There were a few fans who were persistently calling out to the players for balls and autographs while they were practicing.  This is the way it is during every early batting practice.  A few fans did get balls but no one signed until near the end of batting practice.  Clayton signed for a few fans.  The more the fans were persistent the further away the players moved.  I never bother them.  I just take pictures.  They know that so when I say hi to them as they pass by, they always acknowledge me by saying hi back.  They know the hi won’t be followed with pleas for autographs or balls.  They recognize my voice by now even from a distance.  Even quiet shy Andrew always says hi or nods.  Clayton also always says “Hi, how’s it going?” followed by a funny face. I don’t ever want the players to look at me as a nuisance.  They know I like pictures and don’t mind posing for selfies with me.  I haven’t gotten any so far this season.  When I ask for an autograph, it’s because they already are signing anyway.  I think I’ve only gotten about 6 autographs so far.  Not motivated.  We went toward the dugout to see what was going on.

Cody Bellinger is an elusive autograph.  I’ve seen him sign once before since he came up from minors.  When he stopped to sign, I had to get an autograph just because another opportunity may not come up.  What I really wanted was a picture!  He signed 4 balls.  Then he was gone.  I heard he signed all the time in Spring Training.
I asked Brandon McCarthy for an autograph.  He looked surprised since I see him almost everyday and never asked.  When Austin Barnes walked by, someone asked him for an autograph, he stopped to sign.  I asked him if he would sign my ball, he looked up and saw it was me.  He said “Of course.”  I may be superstitious but it seems when a player is nice to me, he has a good game.  This proved true for Austin that day.   Brandon’s autograph is just above Austin’s.
It was Mexican Heritage Day so I went around to right field pavilion and picked up two shirts:  one for my friend Norma and one for my health tech at work.  They are nice shirts.

Time to eat.  The Key West grilled chicken was really yummy.  The bow tie pasta was creamy and delicious.  I always like pasta salad so I helped myself to an extra portion.
I went back to the field as Yaz was making his way from dugout to bullpen.  He never smiles or looks at anyone.  Tuesday was no different.
Julio came next looking like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
He stretched and worked out
And tossed a few balls.
Corey came out to the field to stretch.  
Followed by Andrew and Chris.
There was a mother with her two kids standing next to me.  I know she coached them to yell and scream at Corey for autographs.  They were starting to annoy me after 20 minutes of constant screaming so I told them that I thought he got the idea that they wanted something from him.  The mother who was rude anyway told me “Well just because you’re here all the time..this is their first game.”  Interesting since they certainly knew how to pester the players for autographs.  Where did they learn that from.  Many fans use their children to get to the players. The kids have no idea who the players are.  Just saying.  Corey usually signs every day but he didn’t sign that day.  Oh well.  Too bad.  So sad. I always tell the fans that the players don’t have to sign.  It’s their job to win games.  I’m happy when a player smiles at me. What else do I need? What she said reminded me of the only player who was rude to me in all my Dodger years:  Howie Kendrick.  I’ll never forget that.  He was signing for a group of UPS workers so I held out my ball.  I was on the field and I think players are told to treat field people well.  He turned to me and growled “Well, you’re at every game….”. It’s not so much what he said but how he said it.  It hurt my feelings so much, it brought tears to my eyes.  I am a season ticket holder and haven’t missed a game in 8 years…through thick and thin, through the McCourt years, I was there.  The stadium might be almost empty especially when they were boycotting Frank McCourt, but I never missed.  I had never asked Howie for an autograph.  At that point, I didn’t want it anymore.  I think the other guys heard because suddenly Joc was asking me if I still had the jersey with his name on it because he wanted to sign it.  Andre asked me if I wanted a picture with him.  Mike Bolsinger put his arm around me and pulled me away from the mess.  They all know I am harmless.  Why be mean to me?

National Anthem time
The sky looked a little ominous.  I like it cold so I was happy.  I’m not good with heat.
CodyJoc came out for half and minute and ran back in.  Hi Joc.  He waved to me.
Yasiel came out the last minute and signed.  The people who actually have the front seats where all the autograph seekers were, must have complained so everyone had to leave the area.  I think probably the fans had refused to leave or it could have been the annoying screaming and yelling.  I don’t know because I was standing on the steps at the gate where there are no seats.  The season ticket holders who own the seats don’t mind if I’m there.  A few sorry fans can make it bad for everyone.  
Our catcher and pitcher walked down the field.
First pitch.  Julio had a no-hitter until the 7th inning…probably his best game so far.  But the game quickly went bad as baseball can do.
The first inning the Pirates were out in order.  

The only action in the first inning in the Dodgers half was a walk by Justin Turner but he was left on 2nd.
In the 2nd inning Polanco walked but Osuna, Cervelli and Bostick were out in order.

In bottom of the 2nd inning, Joc, Yaz and Yasiel hit singles but no score yet.  So many chances but everyone was left on base with Julio striking out.

In the 3rd inning, Harrison reached on an error by Julio but was left on base.  The Dodgers were out in order.  It was starting to be one of those boring games…pitchers duel.  That was to change in the next inning.

The Pirates were out in order:McCutcheon, Polanco and Osuna.

Cody walked which started the chain of events
Haha.  Watch me.  That is a Grandal smile.Yaz came up to bat.  He hit a two run homerun scoring Cody.  2-0.  Finally a score!!
In the top of the 5th inning the Pirates again failed to score with the only action being a Bostick walk.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, Julio singled with a bunt.  Huh?

Andrew Toles also singled
But ultimately both were left on base.
In the top of the 6th inning, the Pirates were out in order.

In the bottom of the 6th inning only Yaz was able to single but was left on base.

In the top of the 7th inning, Julio’s no-hitter game was ruined by Andrew McCutcheon’s double. Worse is the fact that Andrew was hurt on the play running into the wall trying to catch the ball.  He’s having an MRI on his right knee on Wednesday to assess the damage.  At least the X-rays were negative.  Kike replaced him in left field.  

Sergio Romo replaced Julio since there would be no no-hitter that day.  Julio had a magnificent game.
Cervelli doubled scoring McCutcheon.  Uh oh.  No good.  2-1.  Kike said he lost the ball in the lights.

Avilan replaced Romo.  Moroff singled scoring Cervelli.  Tie score.  The Dodgers went from a no-hitter to a tie game.  2-2.  That was the only damage. I was dreading extra innings.
Pinch-hitter Chase Utley doubled to center field.  Kike was out on a sacrifice bunt with Chase going to 3rd.
Corey was hit by a pitch so he walked.
Justin reached 1st on a fielders choice with Chase out at home.  Why did he run anyway??  Corey went to 2nd.  Cody struck out leaving everyone on base.
In the top of the 8th, everyone was frustrated anyway.

SLO-MO Baez replaced Avilan.
Everyone take a break.
To our dismay Pirates pinch hitter John Jaso hit a solo homerun.  2-3.   The stadium started to clear out.  I packed up to go to the other side of the stadium.  I usually do that about the 8th inning since my car is parked on that side of the stadium.

It became interesting when Chris Taylor hit a double but was left on base.  The stadium really started to empty with the score 2-3 at the top of the 9th inning.
Josh Fields replaced Baez.  The Pirates were out in order in the 9th.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Corey singled.
Justin singled with Corey going to 2nd.
Cody singled scoring Corey tying the game.  Yes, that blur is Corey.  He was going so fast my camera couldn’t catch it.  3-3.
What’s a Dodger game without a review and the Dodgers losing the challenge?   Score still tied.  Extra innings.
Big guy Kenley came out to straighten out the mess.  The Pirates were out in order in the 10th inning.

Yasmani hit a single.  He was setting the Dodgers up for a walk off.  That’s always what I think when a player hits a single.  I had my fingers crossed.  To my surprise Ross Stripling replaced Yaz as a pinch runner.  Chris and Yasiel both struck out so the Dodgers had one final out in the 10th.  Austin Barnes was up to bat. I have a lot of faith in Austin.  
Austin hit a line drive double to right field scoring the winning run.  It was Ross Stripling who probably ran faster than he ever has.  He was a blur in my picture.  4-3.
It was unbelievable.  What an exhilarating feeling.  Another walk off.  Another hero. This game was more exciting that the win from the day before.  Walk offs always are. 
Thank you for stopping by.  Wednesday is the final game of the series, the final game of this short home stand.  It is Kenley Jansen bobblehead day,  They tell me that it isn’t sold out.  I’m still dreading it.  The game on Tuesday seemed to have brought out the worst of the worst already.  I hope for a sweep.  Kenta Maeda (ERA 5.81) will face Chad Kuhn (ERA 6.54).  See everyone soon.  GO DODGERS!!!

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