Trayce Thompson recorded the takedown, with the Dodgers center fielder leaping atop the wall to make a spectacular and potentially life-saving catch in the ninth inning of a 2-1 win on the Miami Marlins in front of a crowd of 50,431 at Chavez Ravine on Friday night.
Credit Daryl Boston with help.
Boston is a former big league outfielder who is currently the first base coach of the Chicago White Sox, but was the organization’s minor league outfield coordinator when the White Sox selected Thompson, a former standout from Santa Margarita High School, in the second round. in 2009.
“Every day after getting drafted we were there working on stuff, working on wall balls, working on ground balls, throwing guys home, so you know, he’s my guy “Thompson said of Boston. “I still keep in touch with him on a fairly regular basis. I’m sure he’ll text me when he sees this room.
Thompson, making his eighth start of the season in center field, had already made a significant contribution with his bat, stringing together a two-out double down the left field line to tie the score 1-1 down the seventh.
The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the eighth over an eccentric ground player in Will Smith, and with closest regular Craig Kimbrel down after throwing in three of the previous five games, director Dave Roberts handed the ball to installation man Evan Phillips to start the ninth.
Nick Fortes started with a deep center drive. Thompson ran to the warning track and made a bounding catch to deny the designated hitter extra bases. Phillips got the next two outs for the stoppage to help the Dodgers improve their major league record to 82-36 and win for the 37th time in 45 games.
“I think it would have come off the wall [if I didn’t catch it], but I didn’t think it was going anymore,” Thompson said. “It felt good. As an outfielder, any ball on the wall that you can knock down, it’s a good feeling to help your pitcher.
How difficult is a game when you don’t play regularly?
“Well, I mean, that’s why you prep for the game,” Thompson said. “Baking practice for an outfielder is the most important thing, in my opinion. And I feel like Doc [Roberts] did a good job running me around a bit, so you know, I feel like I was prepped.
Thompson, brother of NBA star Klay Thompsonhas rebounded on six different teams over the past five years, but is carving out a bigger role in his second stint with the Dodgers thanks to his solid play.
“He’s a clutch player,” Roberts said. “He’s a guy who’s been around for a while and really understands now who he is as a major league baseball player. And he just has this ability to slow down the game. It’s probably the lines.
The score was tied 1-1 when Mookie Bets, who had three hits, led the bottom of the eighth with a right triple. Trea Turner was third, Betts holding, and Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked.
Smith hit a left ground ball from Miami third baseman Jon Berti, who didn’t think he had time to throw to second to start a potential double play. So Berti turned and looked at the plate, where… no one was home. Literally.
Marlins receiver Jacob Stallings, thinking the game would be on the infield, had left the scene. He straddled the ground circle on the first base side of the plate, allowing Betts to waltz home with the winning run.
“We had little luck, you know, with picking that defender against Will Smith at bat,” Roberts said.
Tyler Anderson allowed one run and five hits in seven solid innings, but Thompson’s hit in the seventh inning clinched him for a potential loss.
Anderson shut out the Marlins on three hits in six innings before allowing Stallings a brace in the seventh. After knocking out Charles Leblanc first and hitting Peyton Burdick on strikes, Anderson took up too much space with an 0-and-2 change that rookie Jerar Encarnacion drove to left center for a double and a 1-0 lead.
It was short lived.
Justin Turner led the bottom of the seventh with a single to the center Miami starter Jesus Luzardo.
Chris Taylor retired and Marlins manager Don Mattingly retired Luzardo in favor of left-hander Steven Okert, who retired Hanser Alberto for the second out.
But Thompson lined up a brace just inside the left field line and into the corner. Miami looked to have a good shot on Turner, who was brought home by third base coach Dino Ebel, but Encarnacion knocked down cut man Miguel Rojas, and Turner scored without play for a 1-1 draw. .
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