The Fresno Grizzlies scored seven runs, all with two outs, over the final four innings to come back and beat the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 8-7, Monday night at Chukchansi Park.
The game culminated in a game-winning hit by Jon Kemmer with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning. The Grizzlies (18-25) scored all eight of their runs during the game with two outs.
The Dodgers (24-18) built a 7-1 lead through five-and-a-half innings. Following a solo home run by Jon Singleton in the first inning, the Dodgers pitching staff retired 15 of the next 16 batters. But after a pop out by Andrew Aplin in the sixth, the Grizzlies offense flipped a switch and caught fire. Fresno reeled off four straight hits to plate two runs and cut OKC’s lead to 7-3.
More of the same followed in the seventh inning, with the Grizzlies scoring four more times with two outs. A RBI double by Aplin made it 7-4, and two batters later, Singleton belted his second homer of the night – a game-tying three-run blast.
The Dodgers had a golden opportunity to break the tie in the ninth inning, putting runners at second and third with one out. After Jandel Gustave struck out O’Koyea Dickson, Fresno’s James Hoyt struck out James Ramsey and got Zach Walters to fly out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, Aplin led off with a single. After a sac bunt by Danny Worth and an intentional walk to Singleton, Jacob Rhame struck out Matt Duffy for the second out. Rhame was ahead of Preston Tucker at 1-2, but couldn’t put him away and walked Tucker to load the bases for Kemmer. Again, Rhame (0-2) was ahead 1-2 before Kemmer sent a line drive over Rico Noel’s head in right field for the game-winning hit.
The walk-off hit ended a tough night for the OKC bullpen, which allowed seven runs and 10 hits, with four walks and two strikeouts over 3.2 innings. It’s the second time in the last eight games the OKC bullpen let a lead of at least four runs slip away in sixth inning or later, resulting in a loss.
Making his first start since April 24, Jharel Cotton turned in five dominant innings. After giving up a the solo shot to Singleton in the first inning, Cotton proceeded to retire the next 12 consecutive batters, with nine via strikeout. He retired 15 of 17 batters overall and finished with 10 strikeouts – the most by an OKC pitcher this season. Cotton allowed one hit and one walk and threw 45 of his 68 pitches for strikes.
The Dodgers erased the early 1-0 deficit and tied the game in the second inning. With a runner on and two outs, Walters doubled to deep right-center field. Dickson scored all the way from first base to even the score at 1-1.
Still tied in the fourth inning, the Dodgers broke things open with a five-run rally. Dickson gave OKC its first lead with a RBI single, and Ramsey followed with a RBI bunt single to make it 3-1.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out when Noel sent a two-run double to left-center field. Austin Barnes followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to finish the scoring in the fourth.
OKC added another run in the sixth. With the bases loaded yet again, Brandon Hicks drew a walk to make it 7-1.
Monday marked the largest come-from-behind win by a Dodgers opponent this season. The last time the Dodgers lost a game they led by at least six runs was July 8, 2015 at Colorado Springs. The Dodgers also led that game, 7-1, before eventually losing, 8-7.