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Dodgers outlast Twins with bases-loaded walk in 12th for 6th straight win

LOS ANGELES — If at first you don’t succeed – put a runner on second base and keep trying.

The Dodgers blew leads in the eighth and ninth innings Monday night, fell behind in the 10th, tied it in the bottom of the 10th and won it in the 12th on a walk-off walk by Trayce Thompson. The 9-8 victory over the Minnesota Twins extended the Dodgers’ winning streak to six games.

Thompson still doesn’t have a hit since April 17, going 0 for 30 since then. But he worked a two-out, full-count walk with the bases loaded in the 12th against Twins reliever Jorge Lopez.

The bullpen had been solid during the winning streak. A run-scoring wild pitch by Caleb Ferguson in the seventh inning snapped a 15-inning scoreless streak by Dodgers relievers. But they allowed six runs in a four-inning span, making an early 5-1 lead disappear.

Nonetheless, the biggest hero of the night was Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford who pitched a career-high three innings (48 pitches), stranding seven baserunners in that time while putting up scoreless innings in the 11th and 12th.

While the Dodgers were surging with 13 wins in their 15 games before Monday, Max Muncy was coughing and sniffling his way through a 6-for-49 slump with just one home run. A flu bug that really took hold during the Dodgers’ series in San Diego left him at less than full strength.

He took two healthy cuts Monday against right-hander Pablo Lopez, driving in three runs with two home runs as the Dodgers bolted to that early lead.

Muncy’s first home runs since his walk-off grand slam on May 3 leap-frogged him past the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso and back into the MLB lead with 14 this season. It was his 13th career multi-homer game and his fourth this season.

Add in a two-run home run by Will Smith and Noah Syndergaard had an early cushion. He wasn’t around long to enjoy it.

Starting for the first time since a bloody blister limited him to one inning in Milwaukee last week and only the second time in two weeks after being skipped in the rotation, Syndergaard flashed improved velocity in the first inning, averaging 93.7 mph on his first seven fastballs (up from an average of 91 mph in his first six starts this season).

That dipped as he got deeper into the game and the Twins bunched three hits and a stolen base – the 10th against Syndergaard this season – to score a run in the second. Jorge Polanco took Syndergaard deep for a solo home run in the fourth.

Syndergaard didn’t go any farther. He came out of the game after four innings and 59 pitches.

Freddie Freeman added to the lead with an RBI double in the seventh. In the eighth, though, an ineffective Yency Almonte was strafed for a single, a double and a three-run home run by Trevor Larnach that left the bat at 112 mph and tied the score when it landed in the right field pavilion.

Miguel Vargas and David Peralta untied it with back-to-back two-out doubles in the bottom of the eighth. But the Twins matched that in the ninth against Evan Phillips. Correa drew a walk and pinch-runner Michael A. Taylor scored from first on Byron Buxton’s double.

In the 10th, the Twins built their first lead of the game without leaving the comfort of the infield. Bickford walked Kyle Farmer to put two runners on then hesitated on Willi Castro’s bunt, looking to third base before throwing late to first base.

With the bases loaded, Bickford walked the No. 9 hitter, catcher Christian Vazquez, to push across the go-ahead run. But Bickford escaped with two strikeouts and a fly out.

Smoke-throwing Twins reliever Jhoan Duran averaged 102.1 mph on his fastball over two innings but gifted J.D. Martinez a curveball that he dropped in center field to drive in the free runner from second and tie the score again in the bottom of the 10th.

Bickford stranded two more runners in the 11th and again in the 12th.

More to come on this story.

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Will Smith starts the game off hot! pic.twitter.com/4EpCcbLn7Y

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 16, 2023

Max sends it to the crowd! pic.twitter.com/3Ds4kWR2aK

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 16, 2023

Max Muncy, your MLB home run leader. pic.twitter.com/ySmxHqIO68

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 16, 2023

David clutch! pic.twitter.com/NtFynzlPI8

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 16, 2023

TIE GAME. pic.twitter.com/uxGgqZurWY

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 16, 2023

GAME. pic.twitter.com/ejXnKtVBMj

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 16, 2023

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