Early in Monday’s 11th inning, misses by both Dodgers defensemen proved costly and led to the team’s deciding runs 3-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
In a back and forth highlighted by a two-hit performance by Max Muncy — who forced extra innings with a tied home run at the end of the eighth — it was his backup at third base, Taylor, who set off the snowball in the 11th inning.
Matt Chapman started the frame with a seemingly harmless groundball in third place. However, Taylor airmailed a pitch over the diamond and pulled Freddie Freeman from first basebag for a leadoff error.
After a Whit Merrifield single loaded the bases, Daulton Varsho launched a line drive into right field that Heyward couldn’t contain. The veteran outfielder attempted a jump stop on the sinking one-hopper. However, once he got past him, the Blue Jays easily scored two runs, which later in the inning made a third tackle against reliever Phil Bickford.
Up to this point, it seemed like Muncy would help fuel the Dodgers’ late-game comeback.
Trailing 3-2 in eight games, Muncy hit a hanging substitution for his 25th home run of the season and fourth in his last five games.
Where earlier that season the slugger threw his arms in the air in frustration and seemed unable to put down a shot for long stretches, his increased confidence showed jubilantly as he admired his long ball while spinning his racquet away.
For Muncy, who also opened the scoring with a single in the first inning on Monday night, it was another sign of optimism given the recent offensive revival. In his last five games, he’s gone 8-31 with 11 RBIs. For the first time since June 8, his season batting average is above .200, up 14 points from a season low of .187 on July 18.
It was much closer to the form Muncy was trying to find before the All-Star break as he admitted he was frustrated with his performance, with manager Dave Roberts stating, “I just don’t see a world where he’s a .190 hitter… I just think he’s a better hitter than he’s shown.”
For now, Muncy is finally making good on that promise.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers (57-42) it still wasn’t enough on Monday.
After taking an early 2-0 lead – Heyward added a solo home run in the fourth – the Blue Jays (56-45) overwhelmed starter Michael Grove with two runs in the fifth.
The score stayed tied until the end of the eighth game when Matt Chapman hit a solo home run against Brusdar Graterol.
While that 3-2 lead lasted a full 10 minutes, the Dodgers were unable to regain the lead.
Later in the eighth, they loaded bases, took turns in the ninth, then pinned their automatic baserunner in the tenth, setting the stage for an 11th-inning collapse from which they never recovered.