The Los Angeles Dodgers took the series opener from the Texas Rangers thanks to an offensive outburst and two game-changing catches from Jonny DeLuca on back-to-back hitters.
In the bottom of the fifth inning with one out and the game tied, Leody Taveras lined a ball into the left-center gap with an expected batting average of .310. It looked like DeLuca had only a slim chance to make the play with the ball tailing away from him, but at full speed he dove to make the catch, robbing what would have been at least a double.
On the next play, Marcus Semien blasted a ball to left-center field as well, posting a .660 expected average on a drive that would have been a home run in 19 of 30 parks, including Globe Life Field. However, DeLuca had other plans for that ball as he jumped and made the catch to take away the homer from Semien.
In total, DeLuca ended up saving what would have been two runs to keep the game tied, which he discussed on SportsNet LA after the Dodgers’ 11-5 win:
“The first one, I was very surprised I caught. I just ran as hard as I could, courtesy dive, and it ended up going in the glove. I feel like the second one, I almost made it a little harder than it needed to be. I didn’t take the best route on it. But it was fun. Two plays that were pretty good, so I was excited.”
The Rangers ended up adding a run to take the lead the next inning, but being down three runs as opposed to one would have been a tougher challenge for the Dodgers to overcome. It’s impossible to predict if they would have been able to complete that comeback, which led Deluca to believing he made momentum-changing catches:
“Yeah, for sure. That was a pretty close part of the game. Tony doing his part, pitching his butt off, just glad I could contribute, help and do my job.”
The Dodgers went on to take the lead in the seventh inning and continued to add on until they pulled away.
DeLuca went 1-for-2 at the plate before he was replaced by James Outman as a pinch-hitter. Overall on the season, DeLuca is batting .229/.289/.343 with one home run, three RBI and four runs scored in 35 at-bats.
Dodgers recently recalled Jonny DeLuca
The Dodgers recalled DeLuca from Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 19 when Jake Marisnick was placed on the 10-day injured list. The move was less than one week after he was optioned to make room for Marisnick on the active roster.
DeLuca was originally recalled June 4 when the Dodgers put Trayce Thompson on the 15-day IL because of a left oblique strain.
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