DENVER – Zach McKinstry was robbed of a homer over the fence. So he settled for the inside-the-park variety instead.
Just another zany night at Coors Field, which included a delay to turn off a spraying fountain but no furry feline roaming the field like the night before.
It was McKinstry hustling around the bases for the go-ahead score in the eighth inning when left fielder Raimel Tapia reached over the fence to bring the ball back, only to have it bounce out of his glove and roll away as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 6-5 on Saturday.
“Expect the unexpected,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about the four-game series finale Sunday. “When you play here, that’s kind of what happens – not necessarily cats, but things happen here.”
Kenley Jansen got five outs to earn the save.
McKinstry lined a fastball from Mychal Givens (0-1) that resulted in his first major league homer. It also was the first inside-the-park homer by a Dodgers player since Chris Taylor on Sept. 18, 2017, at Philadelphia.
McKinstry’s drive was heading into the seats before Tapia made a sensational play as he crashed into the wall. The ball bounced away as a staggered Tapia fell to the ground before realizing the ball was still in play. McKinstry motored around bases and clapped as he crossed home plate.
Not exactly how he envisioned his first big league home run.
“Still a really cool story,” McKinstry said. “It will be one to tell later in life.”
Tapia left the game after the play with a little bit of whiplash and a sore neck.
“He should be fine,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Taylor added a valuable insurance run on an RBI double later in the eighth to make it 6-4.
Tapia also was involved in another wild play at the wall in left during the season opener when Cody Bellinger‘s deep liner hit off his glove and went over the fence for an apparent two-run homer. But in that case, Justin Turner, thinking Tapia caught the ball, retreated back to first base and was passed by Bellinger, who was credited with an RBI single and an out on the bases.
Another contest with another quirky moment at Coors Field – not even counting McKinstry’s two-out, inside-the-park homer.
This game was delayed for several minutes when Roberts asked that the fountains behind the wall in center be turned off because the spray was a distraction for his hitters. They usually go off in between innings.
Meanwhile, the fans did the wave.
On Friday night, a gray cat strolled across the diamond and into the outfield before being carried away.
“It’s definitely been a weird series, with the cat last night and the home run taken away with (Bellinger) and tonight with the waterfalls in center field and the inside-the-park home run,” said McKinstry, whose parents were on hand for the game. “It’s been very eventful.”
Victor Gonzalez got one out in the Rockies eighth before Trevor Story‘s run-scoring double made it 6-5. Jansen came to the rescue. He got two outs in the eighth with two on and then got Chris Owings to fly out to end the ninth.
Corey Seager had three of the 12 hits by the World Series champion Dodgers. They have 43 hits through three games.
Rockies starter Jon Gray was cruising along until the sixth. After a brief chat with Black and the trainer, Gray left with what the team called full-body cramping.
“I’ve never had a cramp like that before,” said Gray, who allowed one run and struck out seven. “It’s just more annoying than anything. I mean, I felt really good today.”
THE DUKE OF DENVER
It was the first time a Dodgers player hit an inside-the-park shot for his first career home run since Hall of Fame slugger Duke Snider on May 2, 1948.
Dodgers: OF Mookie Betts and Turner were given the day off. Bellinger and Seager are expected to get a rest Sunday.
Rockies: INF Brendan Rodgers (strained hamstring) has resumed hitting and playing catch in Arizona.