Dodger Walk Off

Dodgers Unfurl Victory Formula Again at Expense of St. Louis


By David A. Avila

LOS ANGELES-As the St. Louis Cardinals slowly walked off the baseball field on Wednesday afternoon, the victims of yet another Los Angeles Dodger walk-off victory, it was apparent that one team has the formula for success while the other searches and searches.

For the 10th time this season the Dodgers conjured up a walk-off win but this time from one of the veterans Russell Martin who stung a liner through the infield to bring in two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 2-1 come-from-behind victory.

“I just wanted to put it in play especially with two strikes and the guy throwing 100 miles an hour,” said Martin. “All I wanted was to find a hole.”

In many recent walk-off wins it was the Dodger rookies who were the heroes. In part, two rookies contributed to the teams 77th win of the season to extend their NL Western Division lead to 18 ½ games.

Dustin May and his floppy long red curls pitched a strong 5 and 2/3 innings for L.A. and only made one mistake that allowed Marcell Ozuna to rocket a homerun over the centerfield wall for the Cardinals only run. For several innings though the Cardinals threatened one other time the rookie pitcher remained composed and on target.

“He had really good stuff today,” said Dodger manager Dave Roberts about the redhead. “One mistake is all he made.”

After May departed, the ball was eventually given to relief pitcher Joe Kelly. Three Cardinals flailed at his 99 mph fast balls in the seventh inning and all left shaking their heads the victims of strikeouts. It was reminiscent of last year’s World Series when Kelly pitched for the Boston Red Sox. His stuff seemed unhittable then and it seemed unhittable on Wednesday in front of more than 40,000 fans in a getaway day game.

“He’s been great. He’s worked through some things. It’s really good to see him have some success for quite a while,” said Roberts of Kelly.

Martin said that Kelly’s dominance has allowed him to explore other options such as his four-seam fastball.

“He used a four-seam fastball for the first time in two months,” said Martin. “It had a little rise to it.”

It all led to victory in the ninth inning as Cory Seager was hit by a pitch by Andrew Miller with one out. He was replaced by Carlos Martinez who struck out Edwin Rios. Next up  rookie Will Smith lined a single to put runners at first and second. Martin walked up to the plate and Cardinal pitcher Martinez fired a fastball wide of the plate past the catcher for a wild pitch. Both runners moved into scoring position.

“When he threw that pitch wild I said ‘alright’ I don’t have to hit a double to bring them in,” said Martin.

With a 2-2 count Martin stroked the ball past the reach of Cardinal shortstop Paul DeJong and into centerfield. Seager and Smith scored and once again the formula was spot on for a 10th walk-off victory.

“We expect to win that game,” said Roberts about the Dodgers comeback abilities. “I think the other dugout feels it as well.”

The Cardinals were swept by both the Dodgers for three games and loss two against the Oakland A’s. But in the turbulent NL Central Division despite the five consecutive losses the Cards are still in the thick of a race.

On the other side of the coin the Dodgers have 10 walk-offs and need five more to equal the team record set by the 1974 Dodgers a team consisting of Steve Garvey, Dave Lopes and Ron Cey. They need 10 more walk-offs to tie the major league record.  

“We always feel we’re going to win,” said Martin.