The Dodgers won. They won.
By Jon Weisman
The Dodgers won.
They won, 9-5, over San Diego, in 17 innings, despite the albatross of a bad week and a rough season hanging over them. They won, despite the specter of a third consecutive walkoff loss howling all around them.
They won, despite Kenta Maeda’s four no-hit innings melting into a 25-minute sabbatical when home-plate umpire David Rackley was knocked out of the game by a foul ball in the top of the fifth.
They won, despite falling behind, 4-0, in the bottom of the fifth. They won, despite three of those runs scoring off Maeda on a 224-foot bloop triple that was a floppy 71 mph off the bat of Will Myers.
They won, after taking the lead in the next three innings with five runs – the last two on solo homers by Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick (4 for 8) – despite Kenley Jansen allowing a game-tying triple to Melvin Upton, Jr. in the bottom of the eighth. They won, despite the suddenly revitalized Upton going 3 for 7 with a stolen base.
They won, despite Yasiel Puig freezing at second base on a would-have-been sacrifice bunt by A.J. Ellis in the top of the 10th inning, moments after Puig’s single and heady dash to second base on a mild wild pitch. They won, despite Ellis’ justifable frustration showing the moment Puig’s brain freeze materialized.
They won, despite making an error in between two walks in the bottom of the 11th inning. They won, despite failing to score in the top of the 14th after loading the bases with nobody out.
They won, despite stranding Kendrick at third and pinch-hitter Clayton Kershaw at second in the top of the 15th. They won, despite being shut out from the ninth through the 16th.
They won, despite using 22 of their 25 active players. They won, despite needing nine at-bats — and getting three hits, along with countless ace defensive plays — from their 37-year-old second baseman, Chase Utley.
They won, despite needing the 35-year-old A.J. Ellis to catch all 17 innings with Yasmani Grandal sidelined from defensive action, nearly matching the 18 innings Ellis caught as a minor-leaguer on August 12, 2006 (Julio Urias’ 10th birthday) — a game in which Ellis pitched the 19th and 20th for the win.
They won, despite needing rally caps and ear cups and finger snaps to keep their spirit alive.
They won, despite Kendrick’s bid for the cycle being thwarted in the top of the 17th when what would have been a triple bounced over the wall in right-center for a ground-rule double.
They won, despite needing their pitching staff to pitch shutout ball for the final eight innings of the game. They won, despite needing three shutout innings from left-handed reliever J.P. Howell — his longest outing in eight years.
They won, despite needing three shutout innings from Ross Stripling on two nights’ rest, in his first career big-league relief appearance.
They won, despite Chin-hui Tsao — the only active Dodger to play in Los Angeles’ 17-inning victory at San Diego on April 29, 2007 — being unavailable to pitch because of an injury, revealed too late for a replacement pitcher to join the team.
They won, despite needing Puig to find redemption with the long-awaited, faith-restoring, two-run, tiebreaking single in the top of the 17th.
They won, despite Puig being in line to take the mound and pitch the potential 18th inning. They won, despite the sprinklers coming on — near Puig in right field, of course — in the bottom of the 17th.
They won, despite playing their longest road game in time — 5 hours, 47 minutes — since July 7, 1993 in Philadelphia.
They won, when so many people were sure they would lose. They won, and although it’s only one game, they won.