The Los Angeles Dodgers' veteran took out Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada on a late slide that led to a violent collision at second base in the seventh inning and opened the door for a 5-2 Dodgers victory Saturday night in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. It also sent Tejada off the field in a motorized cart with a broken right fibula.
Utley was within arm’s length of the second-base bag but slid well to the right of it as he took out Tejada to break up a potential double play, which would have ended the inning and preserved a one-run New York lead. Instead, the Dodgers scored four runs that inning and tied the series at one game apiece as the series heads back to New York for Game 3.
The two players had a similar collision in Sept. 2010 when Utley was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Mets responded angrily to the play at the time. Neither player was injured in that slide.
Lost in all the hubbub was Zack Greinke's seven strong innings in which solo home runs were the only damage New York could muster. Greinke struck out eight and walked nobody.
Thumbs up: Before the game, Justin Turner talked about how difficult it is to face such hard-throwing pitchers after a four-day layoff, but he has been on more pitches than any Dodger hitter in this series. Turner sparked the rally that led to the Dodgers’ first run in the fourth inning by lining a 96-mph Noah Syndergaard fastball into the left-field stands on one hop for a leadoff, ground-rule double. Turner then scored on Andre Ethier's double to right and also cranked an RBI double to right-center in the seventh-inning rally. Turner has easily been the Dodgers’ best hitter this series, going 4-for-8 with three doubles.
Thumbs down: Yasiel Puig came into the game to play right field late, but if Carl Crawford doesn’t start hitting, Puig might find himself getting a chance to start. Crawford went 0-for-3 and hit into a double play. He remains hitless for the series and has, at times, looked bad swinging at pitches well out of the strike zone. The Dodgers will most likely face left-hander Steven Matz in Game 4, which might be the day Puig gets a start, if not sooner.
Up next: The teams are off Sunday to travel to New York, where the series continues Monday night. Dodgers turn to Brett Anderson (10-9, 3.69 ERA), which is both encouraging -- he has been a mainstay in their rotation all season -- but also a little scary. Anderson had the highest ground ball rate in the major leagues. Roughly two-thirds of his outs are recorded on the ground. If they happen to go to his fielders, he can fly through innings. If they find holes, things can quickly spiral out of control.