LOS ANGELES – Game 4 of the National League Championship Series needed a hero, even if it lasted all night. And it was almost.
Cody Bellinger broke out of a dreadful postseason slump with a 13th-inning single and brought the Los Angeles Dodgers to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night for a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. The much-needed victory for the Dodgers tied the NLCS to two games apiece.
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Bellinger was 1
Bellingtons playoff feats were dropped earlier in the night. In the eighth against Milwaukee Josh Hader, the left-hander who is impenetrable to the same side hitter, Bellinger laced an opposing single field to the left against a suspended defense from Brewers. It did not lead to a run, but it sewed the seeds for what came later.
"It's nice to see results," said Bellinger. "I stick to this process, but I feel good for most of the series, and if I stay in the process, they'll fall for it, and that's what it showed today."
Bellinger also defensively defeated with a diving in the 10th. Lorenzo Cain seemed to have thrown a ball into the gap in the middle of the field, but Bellinger hung it up and slid across the field as if he were on a waterslide.
"I saw him running up there, running as fast as I could and pouncing on it," Bellinger said.
All this formed the basis for the winning goal. Manny Machado hurled a broken bat one by one to the left, leading to a reunion in the first base with Milwaukee's Jesus Aguilar. Machado had touched Aguilar's foot on the bag on a 10th inning ground. This resulted in words between the players that led to the emptying of both shelters.
This time, Machado and Aguilar exchanged pleasantries as they hid their words behind their hands. However, it was a brief conversation as Machado soon made it into second base on Junior Guerra's wild spot.
"What stays in the field stays in the field," Machado said. "Between the lines."
Bellinger then put Guerra's 3-2 off-speed pitch to the right while Machado roared around third base beating Christian Yelich's throw, which gave the Dodgers the first extra-inning post-season win in over 30 years , The Dodgers were out of the dugout before Machado ever came home.
"Honestly, I have not even seen her," Machado said. "I tried to score."
Meanwhile, Bellinger never stopped running, turned into a back pedal and headed for the left field with a mob of his teammates. The lawsuit was led by Bellingers 46-year-old manager Dave Roberts.
"That was the first person I knew she had before me except the boys," Bellinger said. "I think we hugged each other, I think it was the first time I was bullied in the field."
The celebration was understandable. After more than five hours, 16 pitchers and 32 strikeouts, both teams were exhausted. The Dodgersbank and the Bullpen had emptied; If the game had taken much longer, Roberts would have had to use the starter Hyun-Jin Ryu – strictly speaking, an emergency option.
The emergency was averted with Bellingers hit. Now both teams know that the series will return to Milwaukee after match 5 on Wednesday, which will start just hours after the end of the long game on Tuesday. The contest ended two minutes "faster" than L.A.'s epic Game 5 loss to Houston in last year's World Series, the longest game in Dodger's post-season history.
"Understand and see what Cody has gone through," said Roberts. "Really, I'm just wearing it and the weight of the world on him … I just felt for him and all of our boys to get through this big place, I wanted to make sure I got out there and greeted him."
The Achilles tendon will now hurt
Cody Bellinger gets verticale with the ground to make an incredible catch in extra innings.
The question is: Will one of the teams have enough pitch to navigate a crucial game 5 in an undecided series?
As already mentioned, Roberts used his entire bullpen, although only Jansen (34 pitches) scored a high pitch. Clayton Kershaw will start with normal calm and Ryu will also be rested for Game 6.
For the Brewers, it's a bit more complicated, using their Relief-Ass Hader for 20 pitches, the second straight night it was used. He has never thrown in three straight games. Corey Knebel threw an inning and threw games in all seven Milwaukee postseason games. Only Wade Davis and Greg Holland, both for the Royals 2014, had done that before.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell had three other helpers who went two innings or more – Freddy Peralta, Corbin Burnes and Guerra. When they finished in 13th place, the Brewers' feather had thrown 11 goalless innings, giving up only three strokes, four walks and swipes. This is the stuff of folklore if you win – the strikeouts were the most of a bullpen in the postseason. But now that the Brewers have lost, it has become the headache of tomorrow. When Counsell was asked if he wanted to go into the game on Wednesday with the availability of Hader, it seemed annoying, though it might have been a product of such a long night.
"It's not about Josh," Counsell said. "We had to cover 13 innings of baseball, and I think every time you have to cover 13 innings and there's a game the next day, you're always worried about it."
Milwaukee did not long use the help of Brandon Woodruff, left Xavier Cedeno or short helper Jeremy Jeffress. And the bullpen could get an unexpected boost. Starter Gio Gonzalez had to go in the second inning as he sprained his ankle and tried to catch a comebacker. After the game, Gonzalez told ESPN's Pedro Gomez that he expects to be replaced before Game 5 on the club's NLCS list. Regularly his replacement must be a launcher.
"We were able to stay away from a few guys tonight," Counsell said. "But we are definitely in a difficult situation."
For the Dodgers, this ability to avert disaster becomes a kind of defining feature. They almost dropped out of the playoff race, until a late season opener. They did not secure their sixth NL West title until they defeated the Colorado Rockies in a tiebreaker. And with a loss they would have won three against a strong Brewers team on Tuesday, including two in Milwaukee.
Instead, the clubs fought deep into the California night and landed with a clean vest. This series has just begun, although both teams will be more than tired when they report to the stadium on Wednesday morning.
"Once I was not in the game," said Jansen. Good pitching, just keep fighting and fighting, it's huge, we do not want to lose 3-1 and have to win all those games, especially two in Milwaukee, that's huge. "