It was drama in search of a stage.
In a game that would have been an instant classic if anything had been on the line, the Dodgers got back-to-back home runs in the 12th inning by a pair of would-be Nencompoops, Aaron Miles and Trent Oeltjen (the latter’s coming inside the park) – and still lost.
In the bottom of the 12th, old horse Todd Helton fouled off 10 pitches before doubling to cap a 15-round title bout with young buck Javy Guerra. That cut the Dodgers’ lead to 6-5, and Eliezer Alfonzo’s sharp grounder tied the game and left Guerra bloodied with the first blown save of his career.
Then in the 13th, two-out hits by Mark Ellis and Dexter Fowler (redeeming himself by the madcap mishap in center that led to Oeltjen’s home run) off Blake Hawksworth finished off the teetering Dodgers, giving Colorado a 7-6 victory.
A total of 41 players were used in the game, 556 pitches were thrown and 307 minutes elapsed in the Dodgers’ leave-everything-in-the-ring first extra-inning loss of the season.
I went to my first minor-league game in ages Friday night, and there was a play in the game worth mentioning here. With a runner on second base and one out, the batter hit a grounder that went right through the first baseman’s legs, Bill Buckner-style. The runner raced around third, Ray Knight-style. But the second baseman backed up the play, threw home and nailed the runner. I couldn’t help imagining what it would have been like if that had been the play that happened October 25, 1986.
But instead, it happened in the obscurity of the minors. Today’s Dodger game hit me the same way. I mean, the circumstances were totally different, but it hit me the same way as far as it being an instantly loss classic, one we’ll be talking about for 30 hours instead of 30 years. It was a heck of a game, the Dodgers battling after their starting pitcher, Ted Lilly, struggled with and then finally succumbed to a stiff neck. Nonetheless, it’s destined for the discard pile.