Seager’s walk-off double does the job
Wood, in return from disabled list, has solid outing as Dodgers win third straight game.
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.
AN ELATED Corey Seager, right, is swarmed by his Dodgers teammates after doubling in the winning run against the Reds on Saturday night.