In what was considered a mild surprise, the Los Angeles Dodgers optioned Matt Beaty to Triple-A Oklahoma City as one of two corresponding roster moves to recalling JT Chargois and Josh Sborz. Before he boarded a plane, Beaty was summoned back to Dodger Stadium.
Sborz was experiencing lower back tightness, prompting a stint on the 10-day injured list and creating another opportunity for Beaty. He delivered in walk-off fashion hours later.
With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, Max Muncy kept the inning alive by working a two-out walk. Beaty took a first-pitch for ball, then lined the next one he saw over the fence in center field.
The walk-off win was the Dodgers’ fourth this season and third delivered by a rookie (previously Alex Verdugo and Will Smith).
While that thrust him into the spotlight, Beaty credited Buehler and Muncy for setting the stage for his memorable highlight, via SportsNet LA:
“First off, Walker was brilliant tonight. We really wanted to get him a win. And then Max Muncy battled. He got two strikes, down in the count early and battled that at-bat. I don’t know, I just felt good walking to the plate. I just wanted to get the barrel to the ball. … It’s awesome. I felt like I was floating around the bases.”
Walker Buehler set a career high with 16 strikeouts and pitched his first complete game. Among other accomplishments, he became the first pitcher in Dodgers franchise history with 16 strikeouts against zero walks in a game during the Modern era (since 1900).
For Beaty, the night added to what’s been an impressive showing despite being a rookie. Entering Saturday, he’s batting .300/.323/.450 with three doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI in 24 games. That includes recently returning from a left hip flexor strain that forced him to the injured list.
“If you perform and I feel you give us the best chance to win, you’re going to be in there. Matt, to his credit, the at-bats that he’s taken, he’s earned that,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said about Beaty.
“The thing is for me, for the most part he swings at strikes. And when he does get out of the strike zone, he has a good ability to adjust within the at-bat. Doesn’t punch much, hits velocity and uses the whole field.”
The 26-year-old has also provided some positional flexibility, starting games at first base and left field thus far.