Toles takes Dodgers from milder to wilder
By Jon Weisman
Andrew Toles found the golden ticket.
Impossible to believe even as it was happening right in front of us. Joe Davis making the call into his mic, TV capturing the dramatic picture.
The Dodgers, who scored three runs in their first 25 innings at Coors Field this week and trailed 8-2 after seven innings in their series finale with the Rockies, rode the Wonkavator to three runs in the eighth and five in the ninth — capped by Andrew Toles’ everlasting gobstopper of a grand slam — to a 10-8 victory over Colorado.
In a week-long performance that resembled a Broadway show purposefully designed to be the worst it could possibly be, the Dodgers shocked expectations (spookily similar to Alex Guerrero’s ninth-inning grand slam last season) by bringing their fans to their feet.
This Dodger team, a veritable young Frankenstein for all the ways it has been reconstituted during this injury-plagued, transaction-filled season, delivered a “Puttin’ on the Ritz” finish thanks to Toles, whose remarkable rise from Single-A ball now has him batting .397 with a .463 on-base percentage while slugging .690 on the big stage.
Let’s not go stir-crazy: Toles isn’t about to unseat Corey Seager for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. But for all the publicity that Yankees freshman Gary Sanchez is getting in New York, Toles leads Sanchez and all other late arrivals (minimum 50 plate appearances, in other words) in on-base percentage, holds similarly gold-medal status in batting average and is riding a silver streak to second in slugging percentage.
For the Dodgers, it was thievery worthy of Bonnie and Clyde. Major League teams had lost 448 out of 449 games this year when trailing by at least six runs after the seventh inning. According to Elias Sports, this franchise rallied from a similar deficit against the Cleveland Spiders in 1899 — this is only the fourth time they’ve done so in 117 years since.
Did the Dodgers need any help? Oh, all they could get. And they got it, with a string of hits and walks leading up to the opposite-field blast by the Way-to-Go Kid.