GRAB PUTS A WIN IN THE BAG
Pederson’s ‘incredible’ catch at center-field wall is a game-saver against the Padres.
SAN DIEGO — Juan Nicasio cracked a smile as he pictured the catch Joc Pederson made Sunday in the Dodgers’ 4-2, 12-inning victory over the San Diego Padres.
“Unbelievable,” Nicasio said.
Nicasio’s thoughts were shared by others in the visiting clubhouse at Petco Park.
“Joc saved the game,” starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger said.
With two on and two outs in the ninth inning, Pederson ran down a line drive by Justin Upton and made a backhanded catch over his head. The rookie center fielder crashed face-first into the center-field wall, after which he rolled on his back, feet in the air.
“Just incredible,” Manager Don Mattingly said.
Nicasio, who delivered the pitch to Upton, was spared from witnessing a walk-off celebration from the mound. The Dodgers went on to win for the second
time in the three-game series, as Adrian Gonzalez drove in two runs with a 12thinning single.
Gonzalez was also responsible for sending the game into extra innings, as he tied the score, 2-2, with an eighth-inning double that scored Yasiel Puig from first base.
Making what was arguably the team’s most spectacular defensive play of the season didn’t make Pederson any more talkative than usual.
“I think the situation makes it bigger than it was,” Pederson said.
Mattingly made note of how Pederson runs down hard-hit balls, describing it as something of a lost art.
“He’s one of the few guys now that you see will turn and run,” Mattingly said. “He runs to a spot. He’s running to an area and then he’s looking. It allows him to cover more ground like that.”
Pederson said he learned the technique from his father, Stu, a former outfielder who played eight games for the Dodgers in 1985. Pederson credited minor league coach Damon Mashore for refining his defensive acu- men.
Mattingly laughed as he recalled how some fans called for Pederson to be traded for a pitcher at the non-waiver trade deadline last season.
“I’m glad we didn’t,” Mattingly said.
Pederson’s play on defense has made up for the rookie’s loss of form at the plate. Pederson is batting .133 over his last nine games. He was one for four with two walks on Sunday. Pederson isn’t alone. The Dodgers scored only nine runs in the 30 innings they played over three days in San Diego.
“We hung in there with pitching,” Mattingly said.
That was particularly true in the series finale.
The team’s much-criticized bullpen was particularly solid on Sunday. With Bolsinger failing to complete five innings, six relievers combined to pitch 71⁄3 innings.
“Great bullpen win,” Gonzalez said. “They did an incredible job, coming out, getting the last out of the fifth and not giving up anything after. They kept getting big out after big out. For us, this game is going to go down for what the bullpen did.”
Chris Hatcher, who entered the game with a 6.62 earned-run average, recorded two particularly important outs in the seventh inning.
With the Dodgers trailing, 2-1, in the seventh, Hatcher struck out Upton and forced Matt Kemp to fly out to right field with runners on the corners.
Hard-throwing rookie right-hander Josh Ravin pitched a scoreless 10th inning and returned to the mound to pitch a scoreless 11th.
Ravin was credited with the win.
He did a lot more to earn this victory than he did his first, when he retired one batter to become the pitcher of record in a win at Colorado 12 days earlier.
“I guess you could say I earned this one,” Ravin said.
Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless 12th inning to earn his ninth save.
“Everyone did their part, keeping the team in the game and giving our offense a chance to win it,” Ravin said.
JOC PEDERSON slams into the center-field wall after running down a line drive by San Diego’s Justin Upton and making a backhanded catch over his head.