Sea­ger’s walk-off dou­ble does the job

Wood, in re­turn from dis­abled list, has solid out­ing as Dodgers win third straight game.

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - DODGERS 5 CINCINNATI 4 By Andy McCul­lough andy.mccul­lough@la­times.com Twit­ter: @McCul­loughTimes

The base­ball hung in the air and re­fused to come down, heart­en­ing the Dodgers with his po­ten­tial and teas­ing Reds out­fielder Scooter Gen­nett with its avail­abil­ity. Gan­nett dove, only to watch the base­ball land beyond his grasp. It was a walk-off dou­ble for Dodgers short­stop Corey Sea­ger, a two-out game win­ner in a 5-4 vic­tory.

Sea­ger de­liv­ered his sec­ond dou­ble of the evening, driv­ing home Yasiel Puig, who had used his arm to main­tain the dead­lock an in­ning ear­lier. The walk-off al­lowed the team avoid the mis­ery of a bullpen blowup and ex­tended a Dodgers (38-25) win­ning streak to three games.

An or­derly evening had im­ploded in the sixth. Back from the dis­abled list, Alex Wood ex­tended his streak of score­less in­nings to 271⁄3 be­fore al­low­ing a run in the third. He ex­ited with two run­ners aboard and two out in the sixth — a smat­ter­ing of gaso­line that Josh Fields set ablaze by sur­ren­der­ing a game-ty­ing three-run blast to catcher Devin Me­so­raco. Wood was charged with three runs across 51⁄3 in­nings.

The pregame sched­ule di­verted the play­ers from their usual rou­tine. At 4 p.m., the par­tic­i­pants in the af­ter­noon’s Old-Timer’s Day gath­ered for bat­ting prac­tice. The Dodgers min­gled with the for­mer Dodgers — from Josh Beck­ett and Nick Punto to Don New­combe and Steve Sax. As Dave Roberts chat­ted be­hind the cage, Joe Torre si­dled by.

“Lead­off hit­ter!” Torre said. Torre was not the only one who wanted to see Roberts play. Cole Roberts, the man­ager’s 16-year-old son, was only a tod­dler when Roberts stole that se­ries-altering base against Torre’s Yan­kees in the 2004 play­offs. Cole im­plored his dad to play. “I have a big league game to man­age,” Roberts said, chuck­ling, be­fore ac­qui­esc­ing to his son’s re­quest. Roberts led off the game by ground­ing out to Orel Her­shisher, and jogged back into the club­house.

His hit­ters would pro­vide more pro­duc­tive at-bats. The lineup bat­tered rookie right-han­der Asher Wo­j­ciechowski in his sixth ca­reer start. Chase Ut­ley led off with a sin­gle. Corey Sea­ger ripped an RBI dou­ble. Adrian Gon­za­lez supplied a sac­ri­fice fly.

With two outs, Bellinger stepped in. The Reds shifted their in­field, va­cat­ing the third-base line. Bellinger tried to drop a bunt, but popped the ball foul. Bellinger re­con­vened for the 1-2 pitch. Wo­j­ciechowski f lipped a slider over the mid­dle. Bellinger sent the ball soar­ing beyond the right-field fence.

In Wood’s hands, the lead looked safe. He won Na­tional League pitcher of the month in May, strik­ing out 41 bat­ters in 281⁄3 in­nings.

Af­ter five score­less in­nings against the Cubs on May 26, Wood felt sore­ness in his chest. An ex­am­i­na­tion showed in­flam­ma­tion in the joint con­nect­ing his ster­num to his clav­i­cle. Ini­tially ex­pected to miss one out­ing, the team gave him another week off af­ter his body was slow to re­spond to treat­ment.

By Sat­ur­day, Wood felt ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing. He re­tired the first six bat­ters he faced. He fell into some trou­ble in the third, when Gen­nett came to the plate. Ear­lier in the week, Gen­nett be­came the 17th player in ma­jor league his­tory to homer four times in one game. Wood man­aged to keep him in the park — but Gen­nett still stroked a curve­ball off the right-field wall.

Wood nearly es­caped, but for­mer Dodger Jose Per­aza punched a two-out sin­gle through the left side of the in­field. The Dodgers matched that with an RBI dou­ble by Ut­ley in the fifth.

Then came the sixth. Wood had thrown 70 pitches. He had not ap­peared in a game since May 26. He of­ten fal­ters when fac­ing bat­ters for a third time. De­spite th­ese fac­tors, Roberts ex­pressed his con­fi­dence in Wood by send­ing him back to the mound.

The trou­ble started in the first at-bat. Wood hit short­stop Zack Cozart with a fast­ball. Chris Tay­lor leaped into the wall to rob Joey Votto, but Eu­ge­nio Suarez fol­lowed up a sin­gle. Roberts vis­ited the mound as Wood pre­pared to face for­mer Dodger Scott Schebler.

He would be Wood’s last hit­ter, go­ing down on a three-pitch strike­out.

The crowd show­ered Wood with adu­la­tion as he left the di­a­mond.

Chris Carl­son As­so­ci­ated Press

AN ELATED Corey Sea­ger, right, is swarmed by his Dodgers team­mates af­ter dou­bling in the win­ning run against the Reds on Sat­ur­day night.

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