In the top of the 11th inning Monday, misplays by both Dodgers defenders proved costly, leading to the deciding runs in the team’s 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
In a back-and-forth affair highlighted by a two-hit performance from Max Muncy — who forced extra innings with a tying home run in the bottom of the eighth — it was his replacement at third base, Taylor, who started the snowball in the 11th inning.
Matt Chapman began the frame with a seemingly harmless ground ball to third. Taylor, however, air-mailed a throw across the diamond, pulling Freddie Freeman off the first base bag for a leadoff error.
After a single from Whit Merrifield loaded the bases, Daulton Varsho roped a line drive to right field that Heyward couldn’t corral. The veteran outfielder tried to make a diving stop on the sinking one-hopper. Once it got by him, though, two runs easily scored for the Blue Jays, who tacked on a third later in the inning against reliever Phil Bickford.
Up to that point, it appeared Muncy would help lead a late-game Dodgers comeback.
With the team trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Muncy turned on a hanging changeup for his 25th home run of the season and fourth in his last five games.
Where the slugger was once throwing his arms aloft in frustration, seemingly unable to get a hit for stretches earlier this season, his increased confidence surfaced in celebration, admiring his long ball while twirling his bat away.
For Muncy, who also opened the scoring Monday night with a first-inning single, it was another sign of optimism amid a recent offensive resurgence. In his last five games, he is eight for 31 with 11 RBIs. For the first time since June 8, his season batting average is back over .200, rising 14 points from a season-low of .187 on July 18.
It’s been much closer to the form Muncy was struggling to find prior to the All-Star break, when he acknowledged frustration with his performance and manager Dave Roberts declared “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 the time being, Muncy is finally making good on that promise.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers (57-42), on Monday it still wasn’t enough.
After jumping to an early 2-0 lead — Heyward added a solo homer in the fourth — the Blue Jays (56-45) tagged starter Michael Grove with two runs in the fifth.
The score remained tied until the top of the eighth, when Matt Chapman hammered a solo home run off Brusdar Graterol.
While that 3-2 lead lasted for all of 10 minutes, the Dodgers couldn’t edge their way back in front.
They left the bases loaded later in the eighth, went down in order in the ninth, then stranded their automatic baserunner in the 10th, setting the stage for an 11th-inning meltdown from which they couldn’t recover.