Fri, 03 Dec 2021

Cody Bellinger's blast pulls Dodgers back into NLCS

Field Level Media
20 Oct 2021, 13:05 GMT+10

LOS ANGELES -- With the National League Championship Series approaching runaway status, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally got to work Tuesday on their own dramatic victory.

Cody Bellinger hit a game-tying, three-run home run and Mookie Betts delivered a go-ahead double as the Dodgers erupted for four runs in the eighth inning to earn an improbable 6-5 triumph over the Braves in Game 3.

"Pure enjoyment," Bellinger said. "In the moment, it's loud and you don't hear anything and you don't see anything. I rounded second, saw the boys in the dugout doing the celebration and had to do it back. I was just glad I could tie up the game right there to give us a chance."

After the Braves won the first two games of the series on game-ending singles, it was the Dodgers' turn to send the home fans into a frenzy.

Five outs away from falling into a 3-0 series hole and trailing by three runs with little momentum on offense, the Dodgers got singles from Will Smith and AJ Pollock wrapped around an out to open the eighth against Luke Jackson (0-1).

Bellinger, whose miserable regular season included a .165 batting average and a .302 slugging percentage, crushed a 1-2 fastball into the seats in right field, milking his slow trot around the bases as he tied the game 5-5.

"We were dead in the water and you could see it," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "To get behind in the count and to hit a homer, it just flipped everything. It was a shot in the arm. I'm expecting it to carry over into (Game 4)."

A somber Jackson was torn afterward. His high fastball to Bellinger was right where he wanted it, and he got beat with it anyway.

"The sad part is, I'd do the same thing again," Jackson said. "I was trying to throw a fastball up and away and I threw it better than I thought. Out of my hand I was like, 'That's a ball. It's too high.' No, it wasn't too high. It was a good player who put a good swing on it and it was pretty remarkable."

A single by Chris Taylor ended Jackson's outing, with Jesse Chavez taking over on the mound. Taylor stole second base, went to third on a groundout by Matt Beaty and scored on a double to right-center from Betts.

The Braves now have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NLCS, just as they did last season when they eventually went up 3-1 before the Dodgers rallied to advance and go on to win the World Series. Freddie Freeman had three hits for the Braves after starting the series 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts.

For the second consecutive game, Corey Seager gave the Dodgers a 2-0, first-inning lead with a two-run home run, but the Los Angeles offense was reduced to a trickle despite working six walks against Atlanta right-hander Charlie Morton.

The Braves pulled ahead in the fourth inning on RBI singles from Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and Dansby Swanson before a bases-loaded walk from Eddie Rosario gave Atlanta a 4-2 advantage. The Braves made it 5-2 in the fifth on another Duvall RBI single.

Dodgers starter Walker Buehler lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. Morton rallied from his slow start to yield two runs on three hits over five innings. He fanned five.

Eight Dodgers relievers combined to give up just one run on five hits over the final 5 1/3 innings. Evan Phillips went 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and Tony Gonsolin (1-0) got the last out of the eighth inning. Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth to earn his first save of the postseason.

Morton's five innings helped keep the Atlanta relievers somewhat fresh heading into a bullpen game Wednesday, while the Dodgers will turn to left-hander Julio Urias.

"We've lost tough games before, bounced back and have done some really good things," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "This is just one of them games. You have to get 27 outs. You have to make pitches and plays, the whole thing, and it just didn't happen today."

--Doug Padilla, Field Level Media

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