Dodgers honor Jackie Robinson Day with gutsy victory

LOS ANGELES – On the 74th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball color barrier, the Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies met for the final game of the series Thursday night. In a back-and-forth affair, the Boys in Blue came out on top 7-5, sweeping the homestand and earning their league-leading 11th win of the season.

Additionally, the Dodgers as a franchise improved to 14-4 on Jackie Robinson Day since the league began honoring the trailblazer back in 2004.

The Rockies grabbed a 2-0 lead by the third inning thanks to solo home runs from Ryan McMahon in the first and Garrett Hampson in the third. In the bottom half of the third, Julio Urias helped his own cause with a bloop single, and Chris Taylor walked bringing up Justin Turner, who has been the Dodgers’ hottest hitter halfway through April.

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A Dodger celebration. Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

Turner didn’t waste any time, launching the first pitch from Austin Gomber over the centerfield fence, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.

Urias was able to find some control in the fourth and fifth innings but ran into some trouble following a McMahon double. After what appeared to be a missed strike three call on C.J. Cron, Urias gave up an RBI single to Cron on the next pitch and another single to Josh Fuentes before striking out Elias Diaz.

The events that transpired on the next batter, Yonathan Daza could be best described as a calamity of errors. Daza shot a single through the right side of the infield and on Zach McKinstry’s exchange to throw home, he bobbled the ball, allowing Cron to score without a throw.

McKinstry instead threw to Taylor at second base and caught Daza in between the bases. Fuentes rounded third and headed home causing Taylor to make a throw that sailed over the head of catcher Will Smith and allowed Fuentes to score the Rockies’ fifth run.

Urias was able to get his sixth strikeout before being replaced by Jimmy Nelson in the seventh.

“I felt really good. There was a couple of pitches I would clean up and sometimes you want to throw a different pitch depending on the situation,” Urias said in his postgame interview. “Despite that, I felt good and I’m going to be ready to take the mound in my next appearance.”

The Dodger offense would not stay quiet for long. A Matt Beaty pinch-hit walk, a Taylor fielder’s choice, and a Turner walk brought up Max Muncy, who was 0-2 with a walk entering his fourth at-bat of the night. On a 2-0 pitch from Rockies reliever Yency Almonte, Muncy smacked a 3-run home run over the right-field fence, giving the Dodgers the lead once again at 6-5.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers handed the Colorado Rockies a 7-5 defeat at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2021. Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

“I was just trying to get something up and I saw the spin when he threw it that it wasn’t going to be a fastball,” Muncy said postgame. “Offensively things have been flowing well for me and I’m just trying to stay within myself and do what I can to help the win.”

The resilience of these Dodgers has been evident since last season but Muncy recognizes the mentality the team carries no matter what the scoreboard says and whether they’re winning or losing.

“We’re going to go up there and put together good at-bats,” Muncy said. “We keep trying to improve in every game, but we never feel like we’re out of the game.”

Following a Rockies pitching change, Will Smith and AJ Pollock hit back-to-back singles and Edwin Rios walked giving McKinstry a chance to make up for his defensive bobble in the top half of the inning.

A wild pitch allowed Smith to score from third and the Dodgers were able to secure the 7-5 lead and thanks to Dennis Santana pitching a scoreless eighth and David Price closing out the ninth, the Dodgers came away with their sixth straight home win and a perfect first homestand of the young season.

For Price, this was his first regular season save in his career (his only other came in the 2008 ALCS for the Tampa Bay Rays) and the accolade was that much more special pitching on Jackie Robinson Day.

“This was my first time pitching on this particular day in my career and it was extremely special to me,” Price said postgame. “Doc had told me I was going to be closing prior to the start of the game and to have Max hit that homer and Dennis pitch a great eighth, I was able to execute what I had envisioned. Wearing the Dodger blue made it an extremely special night for me.”

Featured Image: Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the plate against the Colorado Rockies on April 15, 2021. Turner and the Dodgers came away with a 7-5 win against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline