The creaky old stadium roared to life, late in the evening, so late that the Dodgers canceled the fireworks show scheduled to follow the game. City curfew and all.
No worries. The best show in town was the one on the field. The Dodgers scored four runs in the ninth inning and seven runs in the final three innings, to stun the Tampa Bay Rays and delight a spirited crowd with a 7-6 victory on Friday.
“That was one of the best comebacks I have ever been a part of,” Dodgers utilityman Skip Schumaker said.
“By far the sickest win I have ever been a part of!!” tweeted Dodgers pitcher Ricky Nolasco.
Rays closer Fernando Rodney fielded what could have been an inning-ending, double-play comebacker and threw the ball into center field, sending the Dodgers spilling onto the field as they unpacked their road heroics for the home fans.
The Dodgers came from six runs down, tying the largest deficit they have overcome to win since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, according to the team.
"The magic is here, even at home," Vin Scully said.
The Dodgers are 18-3 since the All-Star break, including 13-1 on the road.
The fans were so loud in approval that the postgame interview over the public-address system could not be heard. The fans did boo the announcement of the canceled fireworks, but not too loudly.
This might have been the most magical night in a run full of them. David Price, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, toyed with the Dodgers for seven innings.
Then he was done. Then the Rays were done -- done in, that is, by a shoddy bullpen.
The Rays had a 6-0 lead after six innings. The Dodgers scored an unearned run in the seventh inning off Price, who departed after 99 pitches.
Surely the Rays could get six outs without giving up five runs. Nope. They got four outs -- among four relievers -- and gave up six runs.
In the eighth inning, the Dodgers got two runs off three relievers, cutting the Tampa Bay lead to 6-3.
In the ninth inning, the Rays turned to Rodney, and Schumaker singled.
After Dee Gordon struck out, Mark Ellis tripled home one run, Nick Punto doubled home another and Adrian Gonzalez doubled home the tying run.
After the Rays walked Yasiel Puig intentionally, Jerry Hairston Jr. grounded a ball to Rodney. What could have been a inning-ending double play became a game-ending error. Rodney threw the ball into center field, and Gonzalez scored the winning run.
“We will throw this one in the wastebasket as soon as possible,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon tweeted, “and come back ready to play tomorrow.”
Rodney has converted 27 of 34 save opportunities this season, but he has blown his last two. His earned-run average was 0.60 last season, but it's 4.24 this season.
The Dodgers scored an unearned run in the seventh inning off Price on a double by Schumaker and added two earned runs in the eighth inning on a double by Puig and a single by Juan Uribe.
Puig has driven in 26 runs this season, one fewer than the injured Matt Kemp. Puig has 224 at-bats, Kemp has 228.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun