Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dodgers Get Even: #WorldSeries

What a game!

At the Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers pull even in World Series by defeating Astros 6-2 in Game 4":

Cody Bellinger skidded into second base like a kid on a slip-and-slide, a 22-year-old rookie enjoying the World Series for the first time in four games. He leapt to his feet and banged his hands together. Inside the Dodgers dugout, moments after Bellinger’s ninth-inning double paved the way for a 6-2 victory over the Astros in Game 4 of the World Series, his teammates responded with glee.

Bellinger looked stoic. Dirt caked his uniform. Lost for so long, he found himself at an opportune time for the Dodgers, who have evened this series at 2-2. A double by Bellinger in the seventh led to his team’s first run. His next hit put his team ahead and opened the door for a five-run flood.

“Every day you see him grow a little more,” starting pitcher Alex Wood said. “To see him break through was awesome.”

After a sacrifice fly by Austin Barnes padded the lead, Joc Pederson thundered a three-run homer to mute the 43,322 fans at Minute Maid Park. In his first outing since blowing a save in Game 2, closer Kenley Jansen surrendered a solo home run to Astros third baseman Alex Bregman. It was only the second hit of the game for the Astros.

A pitcher’s duel ratcheted up the tension beneath the roof of this ballpark. Wood did not allow a hit until the sixth inning, when Astros outfielder George Springer homered. Houston starter Charlie Morton suppressed the Dodgers until the seventh, when Bellinger recorded his first hit of the World Series and Logan Forsythe tied the game with an RBI single.

Wood pulled his team out of a pit dug by Yu Darvish in Game 3, shielded a tired bullpen from overexposure and kept the Dodgers from falling two games behind the Astros. The offense slumbered at the outset before awakening late. The team turns to Clayton Kershaw for Game 5 on Sunday in a Game 1 rematch with Astros ace Dallas Keuchel. No matter what, the Series will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday for Game 6.

“We’ve got a three-game series now, and we’ve got our guy on the mound tomorrow,” outfielder Chris Taylor said. “We’re right where we want to be.”

The confidence stems from more than Kershaw. The emergence of Bellinger adds to the equation. Bellinger revitalized the Dodgers offense when he was called up in April. He boomed 39 home runs and earned a spot on the All-Star team. As he slumped through this World Series, his teammates and coaches simplified the message directed his way.