Maybe so. Not tonight.
If there was a game for the Dodgers to go quietly into that good night, an evening where Clayton Kershaw was far from his best against up-and-coming Chicago star Chris Sale seemed like as good a time as any. By the time the reigning Cy Young left after six innings, he’d allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits, including two homers; he left down 5-1, since the Dodgers had generated little after Elian Herrera‘s first-inning RBI double. If it wasn’t quite hopeless, the air had certainly left the stadium.
Then Jerry Hairston walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth, one of three free passes for him on the night. From there, seemingly out of nowhere, the hits came fast and furious. Bang – an A.J. Ellis single. Boom – a Juan Uribe double scoring two. After Tony Gwynn struck out, Ivan De Jesus (remember him?) hit for Kershaw and drove in Ellis with a single, causing us to wonder once again why he never gets to play. Then came potentially the most mystifying moment of the rally, and I’m not talking about the fact that Dee Gordon‘s attempt to sacrifice bunt ended up being a 3-4 popout, as it tipped off of Paul Konerko‘s glove into Gordon Beckham‘s bare hand – I’m talking about the fact that an ill-timed sacrifice bunt which didn’t work actually didn’t kill a rally. Jesse Crain entered and immediately allowed a tying two-run double to Herrera, followed by Juan Rivera‘s go-ahead hit. All told, the sixth inning saw five runs, five hits, and a walk. Who says there’s not magic in this team?
Yet it wasn’t over yet, because Ronald Belisario, working his second inning of relief, allowed a tying homer to Alex Rios in the eighth. (Obligatory rant: of the four Dodger relievers, Belisario was the only one who even allowed a hit, much less a run. He’ll get the win, though, because herpa derp herp.)
But hey, what’s one run when you’ve already come back from down four? And if you’re going to do that, why do it in any sort of expected fashion? James Loney, who had entered for defensive purposes earlier, singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth off tough lefty Matt Thornton. (!) After Gordon walked for the second time (!!), Herrera grounded into a fielder’s choice, pushing Loney to third. Bobby Abreu came up, but he wasn’t needed; Thornton’s wild pitch allowed Loney to run home (!!!) to tie the go-ahead run. Kenley Jansen finished up with a clean ninth.
There’s going to be games where the late magic doesn’t come. There has to be. Not tonight, though. Not tonight.