MemberOctober 18, 2020 at 9:44 pm
Behind electrifying home runs and Julio Urías’ stellar performance late, the Los Angeles Dodgers complete the comeback over the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series and advance to the World Series with a thrilling victory in game seven, 4-3.
Dustin May was tasked as the opener in a planned collective effort by the Dodgers’ pitching staff. May’s first four pitches were all uncompetitive, and he walked Ronald Acuña Jr. nearly immediately. Acuña Jr. stole 2nd on the next pitch, and Freddie Freeman walked on four pitches as well. With Dave Roberts’ plan already backfiring, Marcell Ozuna quickly drove home the game’s first run with a base hit through the hole. May worked a vital double-play ball of Travis D’Arnaud, and struck-out Ozzie Albies to importantly mitigate the damage to only the lone run with Freeman stranded at 3rd. With a 1-0 edge, Ian Anderson took the mood for the Braves — still yet to allow a run this postseason. Mookie Betts battled back into the count before riffling a leadoff single. Freeman knocked down Corey Seager’s sharp grounder and tossed to Anderson at 1st, just beating Seager to the bag. Betts advanced to 2nd, but Anderson worked a shallow fly-out of Justin Turner and struck-out Max Muncy to leave him there. Originally thought to be the starter, Tony Gonsolin relieved May to start the second. Dansby Swanson took him very deep three pitches into his outing, doubling Atlanta’s lead to 2-0. Austin Riley then flew-out, a scary sight off the bat, and Gonsolin got Nick Markakis looking. Christian Pache earned a two-out walk, but Gonsolin got Acuña Jr. to fly-out. In the bottom half, Will Smith crushed a home run ball that hooked just foul, then he flew-out a few feet shy of the warning track. Cody Bellinger subsequently lined-out to the track, and after roping a ball down the line that also didn’t star fair, AJ Pollock pulled a two-out single that did. Joc Pederson continued the trend of hard hit balls when he poked a base hit the opposite way, putting runners at the corners. Pederson advanced to 2nd on a cross up, but it proved to be meaningless when Anderson got Chris Taylor swinging to escape the jam. Freeman lined-out to open the third, and Ozuna did the same thanks to a great running catch by Pollock. D’Arnaud attacked the next pitch and flew-out to right, finishing a five-pitch frame for Gonsolin. Betts flew-out to begin the home half, and Seager grounded-out on the next pitch. Turner earned a two-out walk, and Muncy smashed a double down the line — unfortunately, Turner’s previous hamstring struggles kept him at 3rd. Finally getting the base hit necessary, Smith came through for LA with single against the shift to tie the game at 2. Bellinger earned a walk to put two-on with still two-away, but Pollock lined-out sharply to center, allowing Anderson to escape with no further damage. Albies led-off the fourth with a walk, and he stole 2nd soon after. Gonsolin was squeezed, ultimately resulting in a walk to Swanson. Riley came up with a big opportunity, and he delivered an RBI knock to make Gonsolin pay. Atlanta grabbed a 3-2 advantage, and Gonsolin was pulled. Blake Treinen entered, and after a wild pitch moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd, Markakis hit a grounder. Turner fielded and made a spectacular play, throwing home to put Swanson in a run down. Turner was ultimately the man who dove to tag Swanson, then he popped up and threw to Seager at 3rd to get Riley. Taking advantage of a mistake to get two outs on the base paths, Treinen proceeded to work a ground-out of Pache to keep it 3-2. Tyler Matzek trotted in from the Braves bullpen, officially concluding Anderson’s day. Taylor blooped a one-out single, and Matzek walked Betts right after. Seager pounced on the first pitch he saw and roped a liner, but unfortunately it was right at Acuña Jr.. Matzek walked Turner to load the bases with two-away, but got Muncy swinging to work out of the jam. Treinen remained in for the top of the fifth and got Acuña Jr. to fly-out. Freeman swung at the next pitch and hit a towering drive to right field that kept on carrying. Betts tip-toed back, timed his jump, and made another incredible catch at the wall — this time reaching over to make the catch. Treinen worked a soft pop-out of Ozuna to end the frame. Shane Greene entered to pitch LA’s turn and struck-out Smith. Bellinger earned a walk, but it was erased on Pollock’s double-play. Brusdar Graterol shattered D’Arnaud’s bat on a grounder with a 101mph sinker for the first out of the sixth. Graterol then issued Albies a free pass on four pitches, but answered with strike-outs of Swanson and Riley. AJ Minter entered to pitch the bottom frame, and his outing commenced with a battle against the pinch-hitting Kiké Hernàndez. After spoiling a few good pitches, Hernàndez absolutely crushed a clutch game-tying solo shot, evening things up at 3. With the Dodgers fired up, Taylor smashed a double down the line, and advanced to 3rd on Betts’ productive fly-out. With an opportunity to put LA ahead for the first time, Seager grounded to Albies, who cut down Taylor at the plate — a backbreaker. Chris Martin relieved Minter to face Turner with two-down and worked a fly-out. Julio Urías was turned to for the seventh, and he worked a line-out of the pinch-hitting Johan Camargo. He then worked pop-outs of Pache and Acuña Jr. to get the Dodgers back to the plate. Martin remained in and struck-out Muncy and Smith. Bellinger, fighting off multiple good pitches on the corner, eventually forced a mistake of Martin over the middle of the plate. Needless to say, Bellinger didn’t miss it — sending the go-ahead solo homer into orbit, and putting LA in front, 4-3. Back out for the eighth, Urías won a battle with Freeman, working a liner for the first out. Urías fell behind Ozuna, but worked back in and got him to line-out softly on a full count. He then got D’Arnaud to ground-out, prompting the entry of Mark Melancon in the home frame. Melancon worked easy fly-outs of Hernàndez and Taylor prior to Betts’ double. Melancon got Seager to ground-out, sending the game to the top of the ninth. With Kenley Jansen having thrown back-to-back days, the decision to leave Urías in for the save opportunity with three righties coming up was quite nervewracking. Urías fell behind to Albies, but battled back and worked a ground-out. Urías got the same result of Swanson, bringing Atlanta to their final out. Riley pounced on Urías’ first pitch to him and flew-out lazily to Bellinger in center — a fitting final out — to end the ballgame. Urías, just tremendous, earned the save to send the Dodgers to the World Series!
After a rough start to the NLCS, falling behind 3-1 to the Braves, the boys in blue win three straight elimination games, topped off by an exciting game seven victory, to advance to the 2020 World Series. They were down, but never out. With the excellent play of Mookie Betts, Walker Buehler, Blake Treinen, Julio Urías, Will Smith, and of course series MVP Corey Seager, the Dodgers win the National League pennant for a third time in four seasons. They’ll face none-other than the American League’s best Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays, fueled by the best pitching staff in all of baseball, pummeled the Yankees and Astros, both in winner-take-all finale’s, to earn their trip to Arlington. A stressful NLCS week prompts a much-needed off day tomorrow. On Tuesday, game one of the World Series will take place. Clayton Kershaw will likely get the ball for LA with either Tyler Glasnow or Blake Snell starting for Tampa. Four more wins… 5:09pm first pitch Tuesday. Go Dodgers!
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