NBC Sports

Giants, Dodgers in disbelief Lux's ball was caught, not homer

NBC Sports

LOS ANGELES -- One by one, Giants and Dodgers walked into the interview room and joined sides for a moment. When it came to the final play of Monday night's thriller, they all generally saw it the same way. 

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the ball Gavin Lux crushed to the track was "a no-doubter" in normal circumstances. Gabe Kapler described it as "hammered." Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford, sitting side by side, said they both thought it was a game-tying homer.

And then there was Camilo Doval, the 24-year-old who was the calmest person at Dodger Stadium as the ball left Lux's bat at 106.9 mph with a 22-degree launch angle that would have made it a hit 89 percent of the time, and a homer nearly that often. That vibe carried over into his first career press conference. 

"I didn't think it was going to be a home run because of the wind," Doval said. "When I saw the ball going that way, I thought the wind was going to knock it down."

It did, clinching a 1-0 win that gave the Giants a two-games-to-one lead in this best-of-five series. The gusts started to pick up about an hour before the first pitch at Dodger Stadium, and by the time Tommy La Stella dug in to face Max Scherzer, longtime Dodgers employees were already convinced that this was the windiest night in the stadium's long history. The wind blew at 20-40 mph in the Los Angeles area at times, and it was particularly fierce early in Monday's game. 

 

The left field foul pole was swaying as Max Scherzer took the mound, and Scherzer stopped his delivery during one early pitch because he appeared to be knocked off-balance. After he walked La Stella, a bat girl ran out to center field to scoop up a pizza box that had blown onto the field. 

The conditions calmed down during the middle innings, but as the night went on, it once again got cold and windy. Dodger Dog wrappers and pieces of paper were whipping around the lower deck and outfield as Lux stepped in to face Doval. He got a 99 mph fastball and crushed it to center, and as Steven Duggar drifted back, he looked like someone who expected to jump up against the padded wall. And then he stopped, dug his spikes into the warning track dirt, and made the catch. 

Roberts, still seemingly in disbelief, sat down in the interview room a few minutes later.

"He got every bit of that ball," Roberts said. 

"I think any other night, the (Chris Taylor) ball and the Gavin Lux ball would have been home runs," Roberts said.

RELATED: Crawford makes outrageous leaping catch to preserve lead

Lux was almost the hero. Kapler was almost left wondering if he should have pulled Doval after one inning. The Dodgers almost sent a game to extra innings with the other side having used all of its best relief arms. Instead, the Giants gathered around Doval for a handshake line that included quite a few hearts that were still racing.

"My stomach pretty much sank when he hit it," Longoria said. "I couldn't believe that it didn't (go out), but I guess it was just our night tonight."

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast