Bellinger’s 3-run homer in 8th helps Dodgers narrow Atlanta’s NLCS lead

October 24, 2021
Bellinger's 3-run homer in 8th helps Dodgers narrow Atlanta's NLCS lead
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Cody Bellinger hit a tying, three-run homer and Mookie Betts then lined an RBI double as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied in the eighth inning, beating Atlanta 6-5 Tuesday and cutting Atlanta’s lead in the NL Championship Series to 2-1.

The Dodgers were down to their final five outs when Bellinger drove a two-strike pitch from Luke Jackson into the right-field pavilion, igniting the blue towel-waving crowd, some of whom had already left with LA trailing 5-2.

Chris Taylor singled, stole second and moved to third on pinch-hitter Matt Beaty’s groundout. Betts followed with a double off Jesse Chavez to right-centre.

Game 4 is Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

With the cheering, chanting crowd on its feet in the ninth, Kenley Jansen struck out the side to earn the save, the ninth pitcher used by the Dodgers. They ran through a combined 15 in the first two games.

After getting staggered with back-to-back walk-off losses in Atlanta, the Dodgers returned home, where they’ve dominated Atlanta in recent years and were an MLB-best 58-23 during the regular season.

Atlanta hasn’t won at Dodger Stadium since June 8, 2018. It sure looked like they’d end that skid after leading 5-2 in the fifth.

But the 106-win Dodgers staged another improbable comeback late, just like they’ve done so often this postseason.

They beat St. Louis in the NL wild-card game, then edged 107-win San Francisco in Game 5 of the NL Division Series on Bellinger’s tiebreaking single in the ninth inning. Last year, the Dodgers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat Atlanta in the NLCS.

Atlanta built its lead with a bunch of singles, pounding out 12 hits. Freddie Freeman broke out of his slump, going 3 for 4 with a walk and a run scored after he struck out seven times in eight at-bats in the first two games.

Astros defeat Red Sox to even up ALCS

Jose Altuve hit a tying home run in the eighth inning and the Houston offence awakened with seven runs in the ninth on Tuesday night as the Astros came back to beat the Boston Red Sox 9-2, evening the AL Championship Series at two games apiece.

Six outs from falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and facing a Game 5 in Fenway Park — where Boston hadn’t lost all postseason — the AL West champions instead guaranteed themselves at least one game back in Houston.

In a series that had been dominated by offense — especially Boston’s — the teams traded first-inning homers and then both pitching staffs put up six straight zeros on the Fenway scoreboard before Altuve’s leadoff shot in the eighth.

Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros hits a home run against the Boston Red Sox in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Carlos Correa doubled and scored the go-ahead run on Jason Castro’s two-out single in the ninth. But that was just the beginning for Houston, which had seen Boston bully its pitchers for 10 homers in the series, including a record-setting three grand slams that turned Games 2 and 3 into routs.

“That’s what they’ve been doing to us this whole series,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re capable of doing that as well.”

Houston runs away in the 9th

After Alex Bregman hit a solo homer into the Green Monster seats in the first, Xander Bogaerts topped it with a towering, two-run drive onto Lansdowne Street in the bottom half to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.

Then, the pitchers took over: It was still 2-1 when Altuve led off the eighth with a homer against Garrett Whitlock.

Game 2 winner Nathan Eovaldi, making his first relief appearance since he was coming back from an injury in 2019, came on for the ninth and gave up Correa’s leadoff double. With two outs and two on, Castro singled in Correa to give Houston the lead.

And the Astros just kept on scoring.

Michael Brantley hit a three-run double off Martin Perez. Yordan Alvarez added an RBI single. Correa reached on a run-scoring infield single. Kyle Tucker singled in another run.

The Red Sox, who were the first team in major league history to have double digits in hits six straight times in a single postseason, had just five on Tuesday — two of them trailing by seven in the ninth.

Eovaldi took the loss, allowing four runs while recording just two outs. Kendall Graveman, the fifth Houston pitcher, threw two scoreless innings for the win.

Bogaerts followed Bregman’s 354-foot homer into the Green Monster seats in the top of the first with a 403-foot shot in the bottom half that cleared the Wall, the seats and the billboards above them before landing on Lansdowne Street.

Nick Pivetta allowed just one more hit after Bregman’s homer before leaving with a 2-1 lead through five innings.

It was the third straight game the Red Sox got five or more innings from a starter, and the third straight that the Houston starter didn’t make it out of the second inning; Zack Greinke got just four outs on Tuesday.

Pivetta was charged with one run on two hits and two walks, striking out three. He got Altuve to end the fifth on a hard grounder to Rafael Devers at third. First baseman Kyle Schwarber made a nice play to scoop the throw; replays showed he pulled his foot off the bag, but the Astros did not challenge the call.





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