The Los Angeles Dodgers had managed just two runs on five hits through eight innings against Philadelphia Phillies pitchers Zach Eflin and Joaquin Benoit. Eflin held his former team to two runs on four hits over seven strong innings.
Hector Neris took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with a 5-1 lead. He was due to face Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger and a pinch-hitter for Grant Dayton. Bellinger had already homered on the night, the first of his young Major League career.
Puig opened the inning with a home run to left-center field, breathing some life into what had been a dormant Dodger Stadium crowd. Bellinger followed suit with a shot down the right-field line that clanged off the foul pole.
“I hit it and it was fair,” Bellinger said when asked if had a sense on the direction of the ball. “I saw it going foul, and I said, ‘Just please hit [the pole] before it goes foul.’ Luckily, it did.”
Justin Turner, who was given the night off after playing eight consecutive games, stepped into the box with the Dodgers suddenly only trailing by one run.
He had a career-high 14-game hitting streak on the line, and had yet to hit a home run this season. That changed two pitches into his at-bat, with Turner crushing a fastball halfway up the left-field pavilion.
The Dodgers then resorted to small ball, with singles from Austin Barnes and Corey Seager. Adrian Gonzalez hit a chopper to third base that Maikel Franco was unable to field, and the Dodgers had a 6-5 walk-off victory.
“At first, I thought it was a groundball to where third basemen usually play me,” Gonzalez explained. “But when I saw he was closer to the line, and moving to his left, I thought I had a pretty good shot because of the way the ball was going to bounce.”
With their third consecutive win, the Dodgers improved to 8-4 at home. They’re in position to complete a three-game sweep of the Phillies on Sunday afternoon.