Dodgers can’t seem to lose

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - HE­LENE EL­LIOTT

Af­ter fall­ing be­hind by five runs, the Dodgers roll over the Colorado Rockies 12-6 to com­plete the sweep and ex­tend their win­ning streak to 10 games.

Cody Bellinger in­sisted he didn’t re­al­ize that the Dodger Sta­dium crowd was chant­ing his name and wanted him to emerge from the dugout for a cur­tain call in the eighth in­ning Sun­day.

“I didn’t re­ally hear them un­til some­one pushed me up the stairs,” he said, “Then it was, ‘Oh, this is hap­pen­ing.’ It’s pretty spe­cial.”

Look­ing al­most em­bar­rassed, Bellinger came out for a mo­ment to ac­knowl­edge the cheers, the first cur­tain call of his ca­reer. It won’t be the last.

“I don’t know what took so long. He keeps do­ing this over and over and over again. I feel like he should be three or four cur­tain calls deep right now,” starter Bran­don McCarthy said af­ter the Dodgers ral­lied for a 12-6 vic­tory over the

Colorado Rockies, “but it’s re­ally fun to watch him hit, watch him play. He’s un­con­scious right now, and it’s great.”

Bellinger’s two-run home run to right-cen­ter field in the third in­ning against Tyler Anderson and two-run blast to right field in the eighth against hap­less Adam Ot­tavino, each es­ti­mated at 423 feet, gave him a Na­tional League­lead­ing 24 home runs and his sixth multi-home run game.

That’s the most by a Dodgers rookie and sec­ond all-time among rook­ies to the seven multi-homer games Mark McGwire had for Oak­land in 1987. How is he do­ing it? “I don’t know,” Bellinger said.

He gave the same an­swer when asked how he gets so di­aled-in late in games to the point where he’s 22 for 70 (.314) with 12 home runs and 26 runs bat­ted in dur­ing at-bats from the sev­enth in­ning and on­ward.

“I didn’t know about that,” Bellinger said, with a small smile. “I guess some­times when the game is on the line you kind of fo­cus a lit­tle more. And maybe that’s it. I think every fourth at-bat you kind of know what your swing is and you get com­fort­able dur­ing the game.”

It’s un­usual for a rookie to be so poised in the late in­nings.

“It’s un­usual for vet­er­ans as well,” man­ager Dave Roberts said. “When you’re look­ing at the sev­enth in­ning and be­yond, you’re look­ing at back-end guys and guys they’re match­ing up to get you out. For Cody, it’s left-handed killers. For him to hit left-handed pitch­ing, hit the back-end guys, and in big spots, there’s no panic.

“He has a great pulse about him. For a young player, he’s def­i­nitely ac­cel­er­ated, but he likes be­ing in those spots.”

Bellinger’s at-bats draw a lot of raves, and de­servedly so. He has hit 13 home runs in 23 games in June, tied for the third-most all-time by a rookie in one month. But on Sun­day he showed he has other di­men­sions, hus­tling to beat out a grounder to short­stop in the first in­ning and mak­ing a fine catch on a tricky liner to right field by Pat Valaika in the sev­enth in­ning with two Rockies on base and the Dodgers trail­ing 6-4.

It was es­pe­cially im­pres­sive be­cause Sun­day’s game was his first start in right field. He had started at first base and in left field, though he said he had played more right field than left field in dou­ble-A ball.

“That was a weird one. I thought it was more to cen­ter,” Bellinger said of Valaika’s liner. “I was run­ning af­ter it hard and it kind of started tail­ing to­wards me and I was, ‘Oh, this is mine,’ and luck­ily I got a glove on it.”

Bellinger went hit­less Satur­day, end­ing a sea­sonbest hit­ting streak at nine games, but he didn’t let that carry over to Sun­day’s game. Nor will he let his suc­cess Sun­day make him com­pla­cent when he re­ports to Dodger Sta­dium on Mon­day for the first of four games against the Angels.

“Manny Mota comes in every day to re­mind me that I al­ready got paid for yes­ter­day. It’s a good re­minder,” Bellinger said of the Dodgers’ long­time coach and Span­ish-lan­guage broad­cast con­trib­u­tor. “So whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t mat­ter.”

What mat­ters is the fu­ture, and that’s sure to in­clude many more cur­tain calls for him.

Photographs by Kevork Djansezian Getty Im­ages

MUCH OF THE DAM­AGE had al­ready been done by the time Chris Tay­lor slid home to give Dodgers a 9-6 lead in the eighth. Tay­lor scored on the last of four wild pitches by Colorado’s Adam Ot­tavino that sparked L.A.’s come­back from a 6-4 sev­enth-in­ning deficit.

A NIGHT­MARE SE­QUENCE in the sev­enth and eighth in­nings spelled de­feat for Adam Ot­tavino, who was charged with six runs.

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