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By Jon Weisman
Last week was peculiar for Scott Van Slyke. Hitting .394 with a .462 on-base percentage and .606 slugging percentage through May 2, Van Slyke went 0 for 10 with five strikeouts from May 3-6, then didn’t get into either of the games over the weekend at Coors Field, where he somewhat predictably had a .985 OPS in 25 plate appearances last year.
Tonight, Van Slyke was in the lineup against Miami, not only facing a right-hander, but for the first time in his career starting in the No. 8 slot. The big outfielder made the most of it.
First, Van Slyke doubled in the fifth inning and appeared to score the Dodgers’ second run on Jimmy Rollins’ deep liner to right, only to be thwarted when Joc Pederson was doubled off first base following Giancarlo Stanton’s great catch and bullet throw.
Van Slyke then made what appeared to be the pivotal play of the game for the Dodgers, catching Adeiny Hechavarria’s bases-loaded liner with one out in the seventh inning and throwing out Christian Yelich at home to perserve a 1-1 tie.
In the bottom of that same inning, Van Slyke singled, went to second on a Yelich error and this time came around to score for real, on a redemptive single to center by Pederson.
Then, after Yelich stunned Dodger reliever Yimi Garcia with a two-run homer in the ninth — the first runs allowed by Dodger relievers at home in their last 38 1/3 innings — Van Slyke came through again.
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The come-from-behind, 5-3 walkoff victory gave the Dodgers a 21-10 record — 14-2 at home — and a season-high five-game lead in the National League West. Already, it’s the Dodgers’ fourth walkoff victory at home in 2015, and in all four of those games they were either trailing at one point or never led.
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It would be wrong to let this game go by without tipping our cap to this play by old friend Dee Gordon.
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