Verdugo walks it off in only at-bat of game

Dodgers No. 2 prospect belts second homer in as many days

Alex Verdugo (27) celebrates with his teammates after the walk-off shot. (Matthew Christensen/Oklahoma City Dodgers)

By Josh Horton / | April 15, 2018 8:47 PM

The walkoffs keep coming for Oklahoma City. Same goes for the clutch RBIs for Alex Verdugo. 

The second-ranked Dodgers prospect  launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to propel Triple-A Oklahoma City past New Orleans, 8-6, on Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Verdugo, who was not in the lineup for a scheduled day off, left the yard in his only at-bat of the game, connecting on a 1-1 pitch and sending it over the center-field wall. 

Gameday box score

"I was just just basically trying to do everything I can to stay out of a double play and just hit the ball hard," Verdugo said. "[Nick Wittgren] threw a first-pitch strike, and then a changeup down, then a fastball that just leaked over the plate. I was able to put a good swing on it and put it deep out in center." 

The Dodgers have tallied three walkoffs -- two of which occurred while trailing in the final at-bat -- during a 6-0 homestand.

"I think the new rule with the guy on second makes it a little different that way to score runs," Oklahoma City manager Bill Hasselman said. "A walk-off is always pretty legit in any situation. ... It's pretty exciting, it builds a lot of confidence and you know you're never out of it. You know you can always come back as a team." 

Hasselman was hoping to get Verdugo an at-bat with runners in scoring position when he subbed him in at right field as a defensive replacement during a double-switch in the top of the 10th. 

"That's exactly who you want in that situation," Hasselman said. "I think he wants those situations because he believes in himself."'s No. 33 prospect has collected seven RBIs this season, two on a game-tying single in the Dodgers' 8-7 win over Round Rock on Tuesday and a game-tying home run in their 3-2 win over New Orleans on Saturday. 

Video: Verdugo seals win in extras with three-run walk-off.

The Tucson, Arizona native is hitting .306/.342/.541 this season with two homers and seven RBIs. Verdugo batted just .174/.240/.304 as a September callup with the Dodgers last season, but made a substantial case to make the Dodgers' 2018 Opening Day roster after posting a .324 average and a .979 OPS in 34 Spring Training at-bats. 

His goal for 2018 is to, unsurprisingly, make a return to Los Angeles. 

"I felt really good by the end of Spring Training, and obviously getting the news that I got sent down ... it [stunk], to be honest," the 2014 second-round pick said. "But it just gave me a little bit more of a fire in my belly to get up quicker and just do the best I can down here and force the Dodgers' hand to bring me up quicker."

Verdugo admits he's "more than anxious" to return to the Major Leagues, but credits a routine he developed at big league Spring Training for making sure his numbers don't slip in Triple-A. 

MiLB include

"Going through the years, I feel like I'm understanding my body a little bit more, understanding what I need to do to get ready for the games and how to act," Verdugo said. "I think this year I put it all together and everything is clicking. I just need to keep going now, keep doing the same thing and being a good teammate." 

Max Muncy started the extra frame on second base and Cael Brockmeyer worked a leadoff walk to set up Verdugo's game-winning homer.  

Henry Ramos went 4-for-5 with a home run and a double for Oklahoma City. 

Isaac Galloway collected a go-ahead RBI single in the 10th and Scott Van Slyke scored three times for the Baby Cakes. 

Josh Horton is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @joshhortonMiLB This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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