Noah Syndergaard on the mound in St. Louis on May 20.

Today we start a three-game holiday weekend series in Tampa Bay. The Rays, in the American League East, have the very best record in all of baseball (37-15, .712). We have the best record in a meager National League West (31-20, .608).

They are 7 games ahead of the New York Yankees. We are 1.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks. (To be fair, the D’backs have a slightly better record than the Yanks.)

I fret for our chances today, but I have faith in the Boys in Blue. They have proven hard to count out, even when faced with a seemingly insurmountable deficit. Our starter, Noah Syndergaard, is 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA, which isn’t great. But their starter, Jalen Beeks, is 1-2 with a 4.68 ERA. So they’re rather evenly matched, statistics-wise.

The last time I wrote was on Mothers’ Day (Sunday, May 14). I was so happy, and the Dodgers did not let me down. The Cat Man, Tony Gonsolin, pitched the boys to a shutout victory over the Padres, 4-0.

The next day (Monday, May 15) was Mookie Betts Bobblehead Night, and Stephen and I both went. It started out great for our team: we took a 5-2 lead into the 5th inning with Syndergaard on the mound. He had to leave then — I think his finger hurt — and gradually, the relievers called in to finish for him allowed the Twins to catch up. By the end of the 9th, it was 7-7, and we were headed for extra innings.

This is the time Stephen usually heads for the hills. But this game was so much fun that he decided to see it through. I was taking score, so there was no question about whether I would stay.

In the 10th, with that ridiculous rule that starts extra innings with a runner on 2nd, Phil Bickford loads the bases and walks in the go-ahead run! Minnesota took an 8-7 lead. (Now I’m sure Stephen will go home. He gives up easily. But no. He’s in it ’til the end.)

Lucky for us, their late reliever was just as shitty as Bickford, and he gives up an RBI single to J.D. Martinez (who had been 0-for-4 that night). We tie it up again, and on to the 11th (no scoring) and then to the 12th. Mind you, Bickford is still pitching for us. I suppose we had no other options, but also he settled down a great deal.

In the top of the 12th, with 2 outs, Bickford walks a guy. Two men on and 2 outs and Bickford gets Alex Kiriloff to fly out. It was very exciting! (Also, I had no more room on my scorecard after the 10th, so I’m just watching, cheering and whistling by this point.)

In the bottom of the 12th, as the 4-hour mark approached, Chris Taylor starts the inning on 2nd, and Mookie pops out (going 0-for-5 on his bobblehead night). Then the Twins intentionally walk Freddie Freeman, I guess to set up a double play. As Will Smith strikes out, Taylor and Freeman pull a double steal! Un-fucking-believable! So with 2 outs and two men in scoring position, Minnesota intentionally walks Max Muncy, loading the bases for .125-hitting Trayce Thompson (who had pinch-run for Martinez earlier in the game).

Thompson sees a ball, then fouls one off, then watches a sinker go right over the plate. The count 1-2, he watches the next three balls go over the plate with the patience of a saint, and he pulls off a walk-off walk. The Dodgers win 9-8, and the 20,000 or so left in the stadium go apeshit! Thompson valiantly fought off attempts to strip him of his jersey, but his teammates still made him aware how much they appreciated it!

PS: When I got home from this marathon baseball game, I re-created my scorekeeping on a 12-inning card. I present the final product:

NOTE: From now on, I’m going to be providing links to box scores only of games I talk about specifically. Where the end result is mentioned, that is a link to the box score of that game.