But Rogers hung an 84-mph fastball and Barnes smashed a line drive over the left-field wall for a game-tying three-run home run. Dodger Stadium shook. The Dodgers in the dugout were in disbelief.
Moments later, they began spilling out on the field when Albert Pujols cracked a fly ball to left field. They all thought Pujols had clubbed a walk-off home run to beat the rivals.
But Giants left fielder Mike Tauchman robbed the new Dodger with a leap at the wall, stunning the 17,873 fans in attendance into silence when they realized he made the catch after a moment of confusion.
“I thought it was about to get pretty exciting here,” Barnes said. “That was an unbelievable play.”
The Giants quickly capitalized on the spectacular heist, tallying three runs off Kenley Jansen in the 10th inning to hush the ballpark’s buzz in an 8-5 victory. Jansen surrendered a one-out single to La Monte Wade Jr. that scored Steven Duggar, who started the inning at second base. Two batters later, Evan Longoria laced a two-run double to chase Jansen.
The loss was the Dodgers’ first in five games against the Giants this season. The clubs will head into the third game of their four-game series Saturday with identical 31-20 records.
Until Barnes’ swat, the difference in the game came down to what the former MVPs in each lineup did with two runners on base.
On the Dodgers’ side, Mookie Betts struck out on three straight fastballs over the plate in the fourth inning. For the Giants, Buster Posey clobbered a fastball from Blake Treinen for a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning.
Posey, the 2012 NL MVP, is enjoying a resurgence at the plate as a 34-year-old catcher. He emerged from Friday’s clutch swing with a .336 batting average, 10 home runs and a 1.037 on-base-plus-slugging percentage this season.
Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, is trudging through a disappointing start now going on nearly two months. He finished Friday 0 for 6, reaching in the first on an error. His batting average dropped to .240. He has five home runs and a .778 OPS this season after finishing second in NL MVP voting last year.
Walker Buehler kept the Dodgers in the game by holding the Giants to two runs — one earned — despite recording just three strikeouts over six innings.
Betts, 28, has missed games with back and shoulder injuries this season — the first of his 12-year, $365-million contract extension. He missed another after getting hit on the forearm by a pitch. Earlier this week, he dismissed the ailments as the reason for his dropoff in production.
“I don’t have any excuses,” Betts said. “Sometimes you just don’t play well. I’m not here to say this is why, this, that and the other.”
For a moment, it appeared as though the Dodgers would snatch a win anyway Friday until Tauchman’s leap.
“Albert hit a home run,” Buehler said. “It just so happened a guy jumped up and caught it.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.