By Dylan Hernandez
1:14 AM EDT, July 24, 2013
TORONTO — Their starting pitcher failed to complete five innings. Their new reliever showed why his previous team got rid of him. They trailed by five runs and were down to their last nine outs.
Still, the Dodgers won. And the way they told it later, they never doubted it would happen.
"We actually talked about it in one of the pitching changes," Adrian Gonzalez said. "When we got together in the infield, we were like, 'We're not that far off, especially in this ballpark.' "
The Dodgers scored three runs in the seventh inning and four in the eighth to win for the 22nd time in 27 games, remaining in first place in the National League West with a 10-9 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.
Gonzalez hit a towering three-run home run in the eighth inning to move the Dodgers in front, 9-8. Andre Ethier immediately followed with a home run.
"There's been times, earlier in the season, where maybe we would have felt out of it," Chris Capuano said. "I don't think anybody felt out of it by the way they were going up there not giving away a single pitch. It's a different attitude, it's a great attitude."
Capuano was one of the primary reasons the Dodgers faced such a large deficit. He was charged with five runs and seven hits in 41/3 innings. He gave up two home runs and departed with the Dodgers behind, 5-2.
His replacement, newcomer Carlos Marmol, gave up three runs. The Dodgers were down, 8-3, after six innings.
The comeback started with Yasiel Puig's second infield single of the game, this one against reliever Brett Cecil. Puig was the first of six consecutive Dodgers to reach base.
Gonzalez singled. Hanley Ramirez walked. Ethier walked to push in a run.
Right-hander Dustin McGowan replaced Cecil but couldn't stop the surge. Mark Ellis singled to left field and drove in two runs. The deficit was cut to 8-6.
Manager Don Mattingly said he has observed how the players are starting to trust each other more.
"It's just everybody trying to have good at-bats," Gonzalez said. "The pressure is taken off when you know the guy behind you is going to have a great at-bat as well. When things go well, you don't feel that pressure to have to come through. It allows you to work the count, take a hit, take a walk. You don't try to do too much."
That was the opposite of what was happening earlier this season, when the Dodgers couldn't score and were in last place.
"When you're not coming through as a team, everybody tightens up and tries to do too much," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez delivered the big hit the next inning, when he sent an offering by Darren Oliver into the elevated bleachers behind the center-field wall.
The only other time the Dodgers overcame a five-run deficit and won was against the Angels on May 27. In that game, they had 51/2 innings to come back.
Mattingly acknowledged that such a comeback might not have been possible in most other ballparks.
"It's a little bit like Colorado," Mattingly said. "Nothing's really safe, so you have to keep playing. There's going to be runs scored. You play in the ballparks we play in the West, you just don't do this because the ballparks are too big. Some of these balls are outs. The air is different."
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