NEW YORK — It took one swing from the bat of Dodgers catcher Will Smith to wipe away the frustrations of a blown lead on Friday night, forget his folly in allowing that comeback to be completed, and, at least for now, not think about the team’s near-unexplainable futility when a game goes to extra frames during the season.
Smith’s two-run home run leading off the top of the 10th inning put the Dodgers back in front for good in a 6-5 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field for Los Angeles’ 70th win. Closer Kenley Jansen recorded the final six outs of the game to earn the victory, just the Dodgers’ second win in 14 extra-inning games on the campaign.
Against Mets reliever Jeurys Familia, and with the automatic runner Max Muncy on second base to begin the inning, Smith was able to work a full count before launching a fastball into the bleachers down the left-field line to reclaim the lead for Los Angeles. Each of Smith’s last six home runs, dating back to July 18, have given the Dodgers the lead in the game, with four of those dingers coming in the eighth inning or later.
“I’ve had success late in the game, so I feel confident,” Smith said about hitting in the clutch. “I feel like I know what I’m doing and stick to my plan and am able to execute in those situations. It’s a lot of fun.”
It was a Smith mistake behind the plate that aided the Mets in their comeback from 4-0 down in the seventh inning, as Mets first baseman Pete Alonso scored the tying run on a passed ball by Smith on a pitch from Blake Treinen. New York’s four-run rally in the inning started with two outs and no one on base, with a double from pinch-hitter Michael Conforto and a run-scoring from Dominic Smith putting New York on the board. Brandon Nimmo drew a walk and, after a wild pitch advanced Smith and Nimmo, Alonso was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Jeff McNeil’s bloop single to center scored Smith and Nimmo to cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-3, and the lead officially evaporated on the passed ball soon thereafter.
“We’ve had a lot of big wins and every win is important, but this was a really gutty performance,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Los Angeles scored single runs in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings, with the runs coming in the latter three frames all coming on sacrifice flies. Corey Seager hit a ground-rule double off Mets starter Tylor Megill to score Muncy to open the scoring with two outs in the first.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s contest, with photographs taken by ALOST photographer Roberto Carlo. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 11 pictures in total.