Playing in his first game ever against his longtime former team, Jimmy Rollins delivered a key 7th inning RBI single to help the host Los Angeles Dodgers rally past the Phillies 10-7 in the opener of a 4-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Rollins had two hits, scored two runs, and drove in two runs in the game. Known for delivering key hits at big moments over his 15-year Phillies career, the man known affectionately as JRoll commented after the game, “You put me in situations where it counts, I’ve just had a knack for getting it done lots of times.“
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For awhile, this one looked like it might be a good night for the visiting Fightin’ Phils, who built up a 6-3 lead through the first half of the game. But starting pitcher Sean O’Sullivan, who was sent to the minors following the game, could not hold that lead.
The Dodgers got to O’Sullivan for a pair of runs in the first thanks to two big hits. First, Howie Kendrick legged out a one-out triple, and then scored on a sac fly. Adrian Gonzalez then crushed a solo homerun, his 16th of the season, to right center.
The Phils responded for two of their own right away when Rollins’ replacement at shortstop, Freddy Galvis, delivered his 3rd homerun of the season in the top of the 2nd inning. The 2-run shot to right center tied the game at 2-2.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier led off with back-to-back doubles against O’Sullivan to put the Dodgers back on top by 3-2. But the Phillies would score 4 runs over the next two innings to apparently take early control of the game.
To give their starting rotation a break, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was using this as a “bullpen game”, meaning that he planned on utilizing a series of relief pitchers to get through the contest. Yimi Garcia had gotten the start, and he was replaced for the third inning by Erik Surkamp, who would go the next 3.1 innings.
The Phils jumped on Surkamp for 4 earned runs on 4 hits during his time in the game, the big blow coming off the bat of The Big Piece. Ryan Howard bombed a 3-run homer, his 14th of the season, in the top of the 3rd to put the Phillies on top by a 5-3 score. In the top of the 4th, Odubel Herrera led off with his 4th homer to stretch that lead out to 6-3.
Headed to the bottom of the 5th, O’Sullivan still had that 6-3 lead. He had allowed five hits, all of them for extra bases. In that 5th, he would continue getting hit around, something that should have been predictable to the Phillies coaching staff.
Howie Kendrick led off that Dodgers 5th with a double, LA’s 6th extra-base hit off O’Sullivan, but Phils’ skipper Pete Mackanin insisted on staying with the big righty. He didn’t let down, allowing a 3-run, game-tying homer to Yasmani Grandal for his 7th extra-base hit allowed in the game.
Despite getting roped around, O’Sullivan was then inexplicably allowed to hit for himself in the top of the 6th. Again predictably, he struck out on a failed 2-strike foul bunt attempt.
In the bottom of the 6th, Rollins delivered his first-ever career hit against the Phillies, singling to right field. That was finally, mercifully, and far too late the end for O’Sullivan. The Phils’ starter allowed 7 runs, 6 of them earned, on 8 hits and 2 walks across his 5.1 innings.
The Phils went to Jeanmar Gomez, who as we highlighted recently here at TBOH, has been pitching well out of the bullpen for the club, and he allowed an RBI single to Kendrick that scored Rollins to push the Dodgers back on top by 7-6.
Maikel Franco doubled to lead off the Phillies 7th, and scored on a sac fly by Galvis to tie the game. But in the bottom of the 7th, LA and Rollins would get to Gomez for the runs that would make the difference in this one.
Gomez (0-2) allowed a pair of singles but also got two outs, and that brought Rollins to the plate. Just as he did so many times in Phillies pinstripes, JRoll delivered the key hit. His single to left scored both runners, putting the Dodgers back up by 9-7, and he hustled to 2nd on the play. When Joc Pederson, who we also highlighted here at TBOH for this series, followed with an RBI double it was 10-7.
The Phils brought the tying run to the plate in both the 8th and 9th, doing so with nobody out in the final frame. But Kenley Jansen closed the game out for his 14th Save, with the victory going on the record of Jay Howell (4-1) as one of the 7 pitchers used by Mattingly to get through the game.
The Dodgers moved to 47-37 with the win, giving them a 5 game lead in the NL West and baseball’s 3rd-best overall record. The Phillies dropped to 28-57, with an 8 1/2 game cushion as the worst team in baseball and the #1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft their only positive standings outcome remaining.