Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, left, reacts after scoring during the 12th inning against the Minnesota Twins at Dodger Stadium on Monday. The Dodgers won 9-8. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

What was left of a crowd of 49,749 in Chavez Ravine got to witness some middle-of-May high drama Monday night when Trayce Thompson, mired in an 0-for-30 slump, drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Dodgers to a 9-8 walk-off win over the Minnesota Twins.

Max Muncy provided some early muscle with home runs in his first two at-bats, and Phil Bickford provided three gutsy innings of relief, throwing a career-high 48 pitches and limiting the Twins to one run and one hit to help the Dodgers win extend their winning streak to six and notch their 14th victory in 16 games.

A Dodgers bullpen that had a National League-best 2.15 ERA since April 27 blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning and a one-run lead in the ninth, but Bickford, the last reliever manager Dave Roberts wanted to use, salvaged the night by escaping a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the 10th and adding a scoreless 11th and 12th.

“That’s as good of an outing from him as you’ll ever see,” Roberts said. “I think he was more just realizing that he was the last man standing, and it was his game. He wasn’t going to look for any exits. I think he could have kept going if we asked him.”

With the score tied 8-8, the Twins intentionally walked Freddie Freeman with one out and an automatic runner on in the bottom of the 12th. Minnesota right-hander Jorge Lopez struck out Will Smith for the second out, with Chris Taylor and Freeman pulling off a double steal.

Muncy was walked intentionally to load the bases. Thompson, who entered as a pinch-runner in the 10th and was picked off first base, worked the count full before taking a 96-mph fastball that was up and in for ball four.

“Yeah, that was unacceptable,” Thompson, whose last hit came on April 17, said of the pickoff. “You try not to carry anything into the box. Mistakes happen. You just have to flush it and move on and wait for the next moment to help the team.”

Bickford’s night did not start out very well. With an automatic runner on second base to start the 10th, he walked Kyle Farmer to put two on. Willi Castro dropped a bunt in front of the mound that Bickford fielded cleanly, but the right-hander looked too long toward the runner going to third and threw late to first, the single loading the bases with no outs.

Bickford then walked No. 9 hitter Christian Vazquez on four pitches to force in a run for an 8-7 Twins lead, but he stopped the bleeding by striking out Donovan Solano and Alex Kirilloff and getting Michael A. Taylor to fly to the warning track in center field.

“Obviously you don’t want that to happen to yourself or anybody on the mound,” Bickford said of the 10th inning. “It was in the past, though. Just did my best to snap out of it and be in the moment and make the next pitch.”

The Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the 10th, as J.D. Martinez stroked a one-out single to center field off hard-throwing right-hander Jhoan Duran to tie the score 8-8. Thompson came on to run for Martinez but was picked off first, and Jason Heyward struck out, sending the game to the 11th.

Bickford gave the Dodgers a chance to win by throwing a scoreless 11th, getting Farmer to line out to Miguel Vargas at second base with two on to end the inning. The Dodgers couldn’t capitalize against Lopez, who retired the side in order in the bottom of the 11th, but Bickford gave them another chance with a scoreless 12th.

“Phil was unbelievable,” Muncy said. “[The Twins] threw their top two guys for two innings each. Phil hung in there and matched them each time. It was an incredible job by Phil. He’s going to need a rest after this one, that’s for sure.”

The Twins had tied the game 6-6 in the top of the eighth when Trevor Larnach hit a three-run homer off Dodgers reliever Yency Almonte.

Minnesota reliever Griffin Jax got two quick outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Vargas lofted a double to left-center, and David Peralta grounded an RBI double down the right-field line to give the Dodgers a 7-6 lead.

Dodgers' David Peralta doubles during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers’ David Peralta doubles during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Miguel Vargas also scored. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

But Dodgers right-hander Evan Phillips couldn’t close the game out in the ninth.

Carlos Correa walked with one out, and Byron Buxton lined a double to the wall in left-center to score Taylor, who entered as a pinch-runner, to tie the score 7-7.

Phillips struck out Jorge Polanco and Larnach to end the inning, but the Dodgers failed to score off Duran in the bottom of the ninth,

The Dodgers took a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Betts walked with one out and scored on Freeman’s RBI double to left-center.

That three-run cushion evaporated just three batters into the top of the eighth, when Buxton singled to left off Almonte, Polanco doubled to right and Larnach crushed a 97.7-mph fastball into the right-center-field pavilion for a three-run homer and a 6-6 tie.

The Dodgers had jumped on Twins right-hander Pablo Lopez in the first inning when Freeman singled to right-center with one out, Smith hit a two-run homer to center, and Muncy crushed a 1-and-2 changeup 390 feet to right for his 13th homer of the season and a 3-0 lead.

They extended the lead to 5-1 in the third when Smith singled to center with one out and Muncy capped a nine-pitch at-bat, which included five straight foul balls, with a towering 396-foot homer to center for his fourth multihomer game of the season and 13th of his career.

Muncy, slowed by a bad chest cough for more than a week, had hit .071 (two for 28) with a .259 OPS, two RBIs, nine strikeouts and three walks in eight games May 5, his average and OPS dropping from .239/1.040 to .200/.862 entering Monday.

“I feel like I’ve been putting together really good at-bats over the past two weeks, but there’s no energy there, nothing in the swing,” Muncy said. “Your body is fighting an illness. You’re trying to do everything you can to help the team win. To get some results tonight felt really good.”

The early power burst backed a solid but abbreviated start from Dodgers right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who gave up two runs and four hits, struck out five and walked none in a four-inning, 59-pitch effort.

Syndergaard had to leave his last start–on May 9 in Milwaukee–after one inning when the team’s medical staff was unable to stem the bleeding from a cut on his finger.

The cut, which started as a blister that had been bothering Syndergaard for about three weeks, was sealed with a topical skin glue, and Syndergaard was cleared to start after completing a 50-pitch bullpen session without incident Saturday,

“If we didn’t feel confident that the finger was gonna hold up, we wouldn’t be making this decision,” Roberts said before the game. “I think we’re pretty confident that he’ll be able to sort of make it a regular outing.”

The first inning looked anything but regular for Syndergaard, who retired the side in order and showed more zip on his sinking fastball, the pitch averaging 93.7 mph–nearly two mph faster than his 91.9-mph season average–and topping out at 94.3 mph.

Syndergaard’s velocity dipped a bit during a second inning in which Syndergaard gave up three hits, including Farmer’s RBI single that cut the Twins’ deficit to 3-1.

Syndergaard threw a one-two-three third, striking out Correa with a 79-mph curveball to end the inning, and gave up a solo home run to Polanco that pulled the Twins to within 5-1 in the top of the fourth.

But that was as far as Syndergaard would go. Left-hander Justin Bruihl entered the game to start the fifth inning, leaving a bullpen that combined to limit the Brewers to two runs and four hits in eight innings of a 6-2 win in the wake of Syndergaard on May 9 to cover what turned out to be another eight innings Monday night.

“I thought he was very sharp early, but the stuff started to curtail, it wasn’t very sharp, and there was a lot of hard outs late,” Roberts said. “But he gave us what he needed. The [skin glue] held, it got him through that start, but we’ve seen these things over the years, and once we think we’re safe, we’re not, so we’ll reassess it [on Tuesday].”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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