LA's Toles answers bell, swats clutch slam

Rookie outfielder, who's endeared himself to Dodgers, caps six-run rally

LA's Toles answers bell, swats clutch slam

DENVER -- Heading for a doubleheader and series sweep at the hands of the Rockies, the Dodgers instead had rookie Andrew Toles go Alex Guerrero on Coors Field with a ninth-inning, two-out, go-ahead grand slam Wednesday night, part of an historic rally and a 10-8 win.

Coming back from a six-run deficit tied the Los Angeles record and it was only the fourth time in franchise history the club rallied from six or more runs after the seventh inning. It was the wildest win for the Dodgers here since last June, when Guerrero's ninth-inning slam provided a 9-8 win.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Instead of having their lead sheared to one-half game, the Dodgers still hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the Giants in the National League West after finishing August 15-13. And instead of Yasiel Puig or the injured Andre Ethier in the outfield, the Dodgers figure to give more playing time to Toles, whose whirlwind transformation from outcast to big leaguer is linked directly to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

Friedman drafted Toles in the third round in 2012 when he ran the Rays. Last spring, while Friedman was in his first year in charge of the Dodgers, Toles was released by the Rays after a series of personal issues.

The Dodgers signed him last September, sent him to Class A Rancho Cucamonga for a month to start this season, to Double-A Tulsa for two months and then Triple-A.

This is his second stint in the big leagues and he'll stay awhile. In 25 games, he's hitting .397 with a 1.152 OPS, playing all three outfield positions with a quiet confidence that has endeared him to teammates and, especially, his manager.

Toles drives in Grandal

"Andrew is a beautiful human," said Dave Roberts. "The guys have really taken to him. He's a heck of a ballplayer. His story and trek to the big leagues is amazing. Just as a baseball player, he's so calm and cool. A little bit of the naivete and not knowing how good the ballplayers are and the ballparks are and just going out there and playing like it's his backyard."

That's how it was when Toles came to bat in the ninth Wednesday night. Bud Norris, in an emergency start for the scratched Rich Hill, allowed a five-run first and was gone after three. Through seven innings, the Rockies had built an 8-2 lead, trimmed to 8-5 in the eighth around a Yasmani Grandal double.

With two out and a runner on first, Grandal singled, Josh Reddick had his first RBI single in his month as a Dodger and Joc Pederson worked a walk to load the bases for Toles, who went opposite field on closer Adam Ottavino.

"I thought it was an out, but it went over the fence and we won," said Toles, who admitted he didn't expect to make such an immediate impact. "I just go up there, not try to think too much and make things happen."

The win was huge for a club that looked like it was coming back to the Giants.

"I had my motivation speech ready after the fifth today," said Roberts. "But there's a lot of fight in our guys. It was going sideways, but to salvage the series, that's why you've got to play 27 outs. Crazy things happen. Where we were at, losing the first two games and falling far behind, it says a lot about the guys in the clubhouse."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.