Yasmani goes grand, and magic is in the air
By Cary Osborne
That sound off the bat of Yasmani Grandal — so distinctive of him that you could close your eyes and know what’s happening — happened twice on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Once in the second inning, and again in the seventh inning.
Grandal, one of the most forceful hitters in the game, hit a solo home run in the second inning. Then he hit a grand slam in the seventh with the Dodgers down by a run. The second explosion off his bat, his 27th homer of the year, put the Dodgers ahead for good in a 7-4 win over Colorado. The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the National League West is now down to four.
If Grandal has any ill effects of a right elbow injury that kept him out of the lineup on Saturday and Sunday in Arizona, he didn’t show it Thursday. He went 4 for 4 with five RBI, falling a triple short of a cycle. His sixth-inning double fell less than 10 feet short of leaving the yard.
“Now that we’re good and healthy and ready to go, we’ve got to turn it up,” Grandal said. “We have, what, nine games left? Let’s get this thing over. Let’s close this. Let’s win the division and keep on playing.”
It is nine games and the Dodgers maintained a six-game lead over San Francisco, which beat San Diego 2-1 on Thursday.
The Dodgers needed to do something Thursday to maintain that lead that they’ve become experts at this year. They erased a 4-1 deficit and fought back to win. It was the 44th time this year the Dodgers have come from behind to win a game.
The Rockies put up four runs on Brett Anderson, who made his first start since August 20. Anderson, though, took a lot of positives out of the outing. He went five innings and had one rough frame — a three-run second. Outside of that and a fifth inning solo homer by D.J. LeMahieu, Anderson showed his own fight.
Anderson retired the first three hitters he faced — a trio that makes up three of the hottest hitters in baseball in the last 10 days, Charlie Blackmon, LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado. He rebounded after the second to retire the Rockies in order in the third. In his five innings, he allowed six hits and a walk, while striking out two, tallying 72 pitches. It was a much better showing than his first two starts this season after returning from back surgery. In those games he allowed 11 earned runs over four innings.
“I still feel like a good pitcher when I’m able to go out there healthy and give us a chance to win,” Anderson said. “Some things Id like to take back, but for the most part I like where I was at today.”
And then there was the Chase Utley play in the fourth inning.
Utley booted a grounder by Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood, went back to grab the loose ball and then flipped it behind him for a no-look assist to Adrián González at first base to get the final out of the inning.
Dave Roberts said he congratulated Utley for making the mind-blowing play that would make Magic Johnson proud. Utley’s response, Roberts said: “I can’t believe I missed the ball (in the first place.)”