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By Jon Weisman
Not only did the Dodgers make their most sudden comeback in a season filled with them, they did it against left-handed pitching.
Trailing by six runs before they got their first baserunner, and down 7-1 in the sixth inning, the Dodgers battled back to take a 9-7 lead … only to fall in 12 innings, 10-9.
The Dodgers’ six-run sixth matched their second-highest tally in one inning this year — and represented the biggest single-inning deficit they’ve erased all year.
Perhaps more surprisingly for fans tuned into the latest narrative, five of those runs were charged to Arizona southpaw Robbie Ray — even after Ray was perfect for his first 4 2/3 innings. Kiké Hernández broke the perfect game with a solo homer in the fifth inning and knocked Ray from the game in the sixth with an RBI single that made the score 7-3.
After Randall Delgado walked Joc Pederson and Austin Barnes to force in another run, the biggest blow of the game came on a lefty-on-lefty matchup, when pinch-hitter Adrián González hit a bases-clearing double off Arizona lefty Edwin Escobar to tie the score.
Howie Kendrick, who led off that big sixth inning with a double, broke the 7-7 tie in the eighth with another two-bagger, a two-run shot to right, but Chris Owings’ two-run homer off Louis Coleman tied the game in the bottom of the eighth. Kendrick then got the Dodgers out of that inning when he fielded a hot smash by Mitch Haniger with the bases loaded and two out.
Both teams got the winning run to third base in the ninth inning but stranded them, meaning that exactly 10 years after the 4+1 Game, the Dodgers once again went into extra innings with the score tied, 9-9.
Ross Stripling did yeoman’s work (which doesn’t really mean what we think it means, but anyway …) as the ninth Dodger pitcher, pitching four innings before allowing the winning run, on a two-out RBI single by Brandon Drury. Stripling was the second Dodger pitcher this year to go four innings in relief, along with Carlos Frias’ only 2016 appearance.
Stripling, who wasn’t expected to make Dodgers’ Opening Day roster and who had a midseason break, will finish fourth on Dodgers in innings this year.
Among today’s oddities: Four different players took turns in center field, in part because Joc Pederson got a quick ejection after a called strike three in the eighth inning.
Overall, the Dodgers used 24 players, but not relievers Kenley Jansen, Joe Blanton or Pedro Baez, all of whom had worked the previous two nights, with the big series with San Francisco starting Monday. All 24 players entered the game before the ninth inning began.
With San Francisco losing to St. Louis, the Dodgers maintained their five-game lead in in the National League West, despite losing the 4 1/2-hour marathon. Their magic number to clinch the division is nine, and to clinch a playoff spot, it’s eight.