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Max Muncy's homer in 10th lifts Dodgers over Blue Jays

Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES -- Boos accompanied Kenley Jansen's every step back to the dugout. For the sixth time this season, the Dodgers closer had blown a save opportunity. Once again, the home fans let him have it.

During last week's trip, when he tossed two scoreless appearances in nonsave opportunities, it looked as if Jansen had turned a corner after the latest rocky stretch in his inconsistent season.

When the right-hander took the mound Wednesday night, in a game in which starter Walker Buehler threw seven innings for his seventh scoreless start of the season, it looked like Will Smith's fourth-inning home run was all the offense the Dodgers would need.

After striking out the Toronto Blue Jays' leadoff man in the ninth inning, on three pitches no less, it looked as if Jansen would make the team's one-run lead stand up.

But he couldn't put away the left-handed-hitting Rowdy Tellez. Tellez worked the count full, then fouled off a four-seam fastball and a cutter down and in. On the eighth pitch, Jansen tried another cutter inside. Tellez got to it and lined it over the right-field wall.

"Went to the well one too many times," manager Dave Roberts said. "It wasn't a bad pitch, but when you give a guy like that -- who has some power -- multiple looks in the same quadrant, it decreases your margin."

An inning later, Max Muncy bailed out Jansen with a line-drive, walk-off home run against Tim Mayza (1-3). It was his fifth consecutive game with a home run, his 33rd, and gave the Dodgers a 2-1 victory to increase their National League West lead to 20 games.

After launching the low fastball to center field, Muncy glided around the bases and was mobbed at the plate. His jersey was covered with a sports drink and baby powder as he walked off the field.

"I was looking for something out over the plate that I could get extended on," Muncy said. "He left something out there for me."

But the rest of the plotline -- a late blown lead salvaged by a winning rally -- is becoming familiar for the Dodgers.

 

In the early innings, Toronto quieted the Dodgers offense. Starter Wilmer Font, a former Dodger, tossed two innings. Left-hander Buddy Boshers retired the four hitters he faced.

Right-hander Zack Godley wasn't summoned until there was one out in the fourth inning. Smith hit the first pitch, a high sinker, off the left-field foul pole.

In his first three years in the minors, the 2016 first-round pick hit 35 home runs. Between 62 triple-A games and 28 big league games this year, he has 32.

Buehler took over from there. After working around baserunners in each of the first three innings, Buehler retired 13 of the final 14 he faced. He struck out eight and found the strike zone on 64 of 91 pitches. He surrendered five hits and didn't walk anyone. After a flat five-inning outing in Miami last week, he returned to form in Dodger Stadium, where he has a 2.13 earned-run average and nearly twice as many strikeouts (102) as hits given up (58) this year.

"I thought Walker was really good," Roberts said. "He was in sync all night long, changing speeds. The fastball really had the carry, the command all night long."

But the confines of Chavez Ravine haven't been as friendly to Jansen. Half of his six blown-save chances, which are tied for second most in his career, have come at home. The Dodgers overcame again Wednesday and Roberts said Jansen would remain the team's closer.

(c)2019 Los Angeles Times

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