The Los Angeles Dodgers went into a pivotal four-game series against the San Francisco Giants with an opportunity to stake claim to first place in the National League West. What unfolded at Dodger Stadium was a trio of losses despite the Dodgers leading in the ninth inning of two of them.
Losing the series came on the heels of the Dodgers falling short of sweeping the Colorado Rockies. They were three outs from accomplishing as much when Kenley Jansen suffered the first of what’s become three consecutive blown saves.
Per the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in Dodgers franchise history they have held a lead in the ninth inning but lost three straight games in a single season.
As for just the Giants and Dodgers, it was the first time the teams have played three straight games that included a comeback in the ninth inning or later since they both moved to California in 1958.
Jansen’s latest stumble came in particularly frustrating fashion for the Dodgers. He induced a ground ball to shortstop that should have been the third out, but Chris Taylor’s soft throw and Sheldon Neuse failing to extend for the ball resulted in Jason Vosler being safe at second base on an overturned call.
That cut the Dodgers’ lead to 3-2, and a missed check-swing call on Darin Ruf instead was a bases-loaded walk that tied the game. LaMonte Wade Jr. landed the knockout punch with a game-winning, two-run base hit on Jansen’s next pitch.
“I think this team has absorbed gut punches many times over. It’s part of baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the loss. “That’s what makes baseball difficult. That’s what makes championship ballclubs a championship ballclub, because they can rebound.
“Where most teams or people fold, we don’t do that. We’re going to get ready to go tomorrow to win a baseball game. It’s not the first time we’ve taken gut punches, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.”
By allowing back-to-back contests to slip away against the Giants, the Dodgers come out of the series not only on a small losing streak but three games out of first place in the National League West.
Dodgers, Giants previously made history
The Dodgers getting a walk-off win followed by the Giants responding with a dramatic victory of their own marked the first time in the Modern Era of MLB history that the storied rivals each had a ninth-inning comeback against one another in consecutive games.
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