LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cody Bellinger didn’t know until first base umpire Bill Miller signaled home run that he had given the surging Los Angeles Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the slumping Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
After rounding third base to fake crowd noise, seeing cutouts in the Dodger Stadium stands and not being mobbed by teammates at home plate, he admitted it was a satisfying win albeit bizarre at the same time.
“The crowd noise was good but the celebration was strange with everyone jumping with their hands in the air. It felt like a (Nintendo) Wii sports game,” Bellinger said.
The reigning NL MVP drove a slider from Daniel Bard (1-2) just over the glove of Rockies right fielder Sam Hilliard for his seventh home run of the season and the second walk-off shot of his career. Bellinger said he lost track of the ball and manager Dave Roberts said it was weird to judge because the line drive had plenty of top spin.
After everyone was sure it went over the fence, though, Roberts’ first instinct was to yell to his players to properly social distance during the celebration at home plate.
Such is life in sports during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re used to jumping on each other so I was trying to do my part,” Roberts said. “We miss the fans every game but this is the first time where it really showed with the climax of a walk off and they would have been on their feet.”
Chris Taylor also homered for the Dodgers, who have won 10 of 11. They are 12-2 this season when hitting at least two home runs.
Kenley Jansen (1-0) got the win after coming on to get the last out of the ninth inning.
Hilliard, who homered for the Rockies, thought he was going to rob Bellinger at the wall and was surprised the drive had enough distance. Colorado has dropped six straight overall, and 15 of its last 16 at Chavez Ravine.
“It just kind of snuck out,” Hilliard said of Bellinger’s home run. “It’s frustrating. We definitely want to beat this team.”
The Dodgers quickly went up 1-0 in the first. Mookie Betts drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on Corey Seager’s single to left and scored when Seager was caught in a rundown between first and second.
They added to their lead in the second when Taylor’s solo shot to right field just cleared the wall. Taylor took Kyle Freeland to a full count before connecting on the eighth pitch of the at-bat for his second homer of the season.
Hilliard began the Rockies’ rally by tattooing Dustin May’s sinker 431 feet over the wall in right-center leading off the third. Colorado tied it in the sixth when Trevor Story scored on Nolan Arenado’s sacrifice fly.
The Rockies took a 3-2 lead in the seventh after Ryan McMahon scored on a wild pitch by Blake Treinen. Los Angeles tied it in the bottom half when Justin Turner came home as Taylor grounded into a double play.
Freeland has gone at least six innings in all six starts this season. The left-hander allowed three runs and four hits with a season-high six strikeouts.
“I felt good from the get-go. With the offense they have, you’ve got to be smart. They’re going to be aggressive with a lot of stuff, which they were,” Freeland said.
May yielded only two hits and one run but didn’t factor in the decision for the fourth time in six starts. After striking out eight in a win over San Diego on Aug. 4, he has only five strikeouts in his last three starts. He had one on Saturday.
Dodgers: C Will Smith (neck inflammation) is expected to come off the injured list Sunday after taking five at-bats at the team’s alternate training site. … INF Edwin Rios (left hamstring strain) took batting practice and fielded grounders. He is expected to be activated Thursday barring any setbacks.
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 3.90 ERA) pitched eight scoreless innings and allowed only three hits in his last start Aug. 18 at Houston.
Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (3-1, 5.61 ERA) is 0-1 in four starts against Colorado.
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