The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Kansas City Royals but squandered multiple opportunities and found themselves trailing in the eighth inning. Then, Cody Bellinger awoke from a drought.
Salvador Perez’s solo home run off Pedro Baez in the top of the eighth gave the Royals a 4-3 lead. That didn’t last long, as Bellinger went opposite field for a game-tying home run. The 21-year-old rookie previously doubled to left-center field.
The home run was Bellinger’s first since slugging two against the Colorado Rockies on June 25. It was his 25th homer on the season, 13 of which have come in the seventh inning or later.
With the game still tied in the 10th inning, Bellinger stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded and nobody out. Royals reliever Scott Alexander walked Chase Utley, Corey Seager and Justin Turner without retiring a batter.
Closer Kelvin Herrera went to a full count on Bellinger, who only swung at one pitch before drawing the walk-off walk. “We put extra focus on Herrera,” Bellinger said.
“We knew we were going to face him in a clutch situation. He throws hard, so I was sitting on a heater. I missed on 3-1, and luckily he just missed with the slider.”
The walk-off scenario was the first of Bellinger’s career. “Calm, cool and collected under pressure,” Seager said of Bellinger. “He didn’t get out of his game and didn’t try to do too much, and took his walk.”
The Dodgers became the fourth team in the last 40 years to win 60 games before the All-Star break, and enter play Sunday with the best record in baseball.