The Dodgers did not win on a walk-off home run by Carlos Marmol, in his first at-bat in five years.
But they almost did, and that was as deliciously devilish as the way they actually did earn the latest of their daily victories.
That would be Yasiel Puig, Living Legend.
Puig made a breathtaking throw, then topped himself by willing a double to start the 12th inning. Adrian Gonzalez doubled him home with the winning run, lifting the Dodgers to their eighth consecutive victory, this one 5-4 over the New York Mets.
The Dodgers erased a 4-0 deficit, tied the score on a pinch-hit home run by Andre Ethier in the ninth inning, won the game in the 12th. No deficit too big, no game too late.
“I can’t explain it,” Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said, “but it’s kind of fun.”
The Dodgers are 13-1 in August, 23-3 since the All-Star break and 40-8 in their last 48 games –- the greatest such stretch in Major League Baseball since the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals.
Puig, who had been hitless in his first five at-bats, led off the 12th inning with what appeared to be a routine ground ball single up the middle. But the ball was hit slowly, and Puig did not hesitate in rounding first and heading to second.
The throw from center fielder Juan Lagares was off line, and Puig popped up from his slide and thrust his arms toward the sky.
“There is nothing impossible in this game,” Puig said through an interpreter.
Gonzalez then singled home Puig with a hit down the left-field line, and the Dodgers raced onto the field in celebration of their latest victory. Gonzalez headed to an on-field interview, but he could not finish it before Puig and Hanley Ramirez doused him in Gatorade.
The Dodgers’ bullpen put up seven scoreless innings, the unlikeliest two by Marmol.
Marmol was chased out of Chicago, and the Cubs insisted the Dodgers take him if they wanted some international cap space too. Marmol gave up three runs in his first game with the Dodgers and one in his second, but since then he has delivered six consecutive scoreless appearances.
He walked off the mound Wednesday to a standing ovation, something that a Cubs fan would consider as unlikely as his team winning the World Series.
Better yet, he almost won the game at bat. He had not had a plate appearance since 2008, and he had not had a hit since 2006. But, with two out in the 10th inning, he took a mighty swing and drove a fly ball deep to left field … where it descended just shy of the warning track.
“I thought I got it, man,” Marmol said.
Marmol said he did not even have a bat of his own, so he borrowed one from …
“Hanley Ramirez? I don’t know,” Marmol said. “I just grabbed one.”
The Mets needed three outs for a victory, handing a 4-2 lead to reliever LaTroy Hawkins.
Mark Ellis led off the ninth inning with a single. One out later, Ethier hit his home run –- his fourth hit in six career at-bats against Hawkins –- and the charmed Dodgers had staved off defeat yet again.
“Usually nothing goes out at night, especially to the opposite field,” Mattingly said. “That’s pretty amazing what happened right there.”
Until then, the play of the game belonged to the wondrous arm of Puig.
Marlon Byrd led off the New York second with a single. Justin Turner followed with a single of his own, this one a shallow pop flare that landed barely inside the right-field line.
Most right fielders would not dream of throwing to third base, in an effort to nail Byrd. That would generally be regarded as futile, with the possibility of giving up an extra base to Turner.
But Puig is an extraordinary right fielder with little regard for limitations. He would not dream of conceding third base to Byrd.
So, after charging hard just to get to the ball, Puig pivoted, switched direction, and threw to third.
On the fly. A perfect strike. Turner was out.
“Any time somebody runs on him, I expect him to throw somebody out,” third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. said.
By the time the Dodgers scored their first two runs in the sixth inning –- one on a groundout by Ellis, the other on a single by Hairston -- their starting pitcher was gone.
Chris Capuano gave up all four Mets runs –- three on a home run by Byrd in the third inning –- and left after five innings. Capuano gave up 10 hits for the second consecutive start, and he failed to last beyond five innings for the third time in five starts.
Nonetheless, the Dodgers have not lost any of the six games he has started since July 4.
Twitter: @BillShaikinCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun