Dodgers' winning streak ends when late rally fizzles Sunday

After six consecutive wins this week, three empty at-bats doomed the Dodgers on Sunday.

Despite trailing the Toronto Blue Jays by multiple runs for most of the afternoon at Rogers Centre — in a game the hosts got a big second-inning rally from their offense, a dominant start from right-hander Kevin Gausman and a bunch of dazzling plays defensively — the door to a Dodgers comeback opened in the top of the eighth inning.

But, in the kind of squandered sequence the team had avoided during its return to form, the Dodgers failed to capitalize, wasting a bases-loaded situation in their eventual 3-1 loss to the scuffling Blue Jays.

Trailing by two and finally facing someone other than Gausman, the Dodgers (18-12) quickly created a threat against the Blue Jays bullpen.

Austin Barnes drew a leadoff walk. Mookie Betts smacked a double into the gap. And with no outs in the inning, the team had the heart of its order coming to the plate.

Rather than complete the rally, the Dodgers’ biggest early-season weakness — situational hitting — made a consequential reappearance.

Shohei Ohtani popped out after chasing two fastballs. Teoscar Hernández struck out after Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked in front of him. And then, Max Muncy watched a deep towering drive die at the warning track, just missing extra bases (if not more) on a 370-foot flyout to the right-center field gap.

That all but sealed the Dodgers’ first loss since last weekend, a defeat in which — well before their close call in the eighth inning — almost nothing seemed to break their way.

Right-hander Michael Grove got knocked around at the start of a scheduled bullpen game, giving up three runs on three hits — including Alejandro Kirk‘s homer — in the bottom of the second.

His counterpart, Gausman, ended his poor start to the year by giving up just one run — a solo blast by Freeman in the sixth — in seven strong innings.

And every time the Dodgers hit the ball hard, the Blue Jays (14-15) found away to avoid damage.

A deep drive from Ohtani in the first inning was snagged at the wall on a leaping effort by center fielder Daulton Varsho. Another fly ball from Freeman was caught on an equally athletic play by right fielder George Springer in the fourth.

Then, Springer went full sprawl on an Andy Pages line drive in the ninth, extinguishing any hope of last-gasp comeback — and unlikely extension of the winning streak — with perhaps the game’s most impressive play.

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