Baseball / MLB

Cody Bellinger’s late hit lifts Dodgers over Brewers

AP, Kyodo

Cody Bellinger singled home the winning run in the 13th inning, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Tuesday night and tying the NL Championship Series at two games apiece.

Bellinger grounded a 3-2 pitch from Junior Guerra into right field, scoring Manny Machado, who slid home and touched the plate with his left hand to beat the tag and finally end an October thriller that took 5 hours, 15 minutes.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, with Wade Miley going for the Brewers against fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw. The teams return to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Friday.

Kenta Maeda survived a scare after giving up a late double in a tie game. Maeda yielded a seventh-inning leadoff double to Manny Pina, who bounced an 0-1 fastball to the right field wall at Dodger Stadium.

Maeda’s second and final batter, Orlando Arcia, lofted a first-pitch slider, but left fielder Chris Taylor made a sliding catch to hold Pina at second.

When left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson was announced as a pinch-hitter, Maeda was replaced by Caleb Ferguson. Pina advanced to third on Curtis Granderson’s fly out, but Ryan Madson, the Dodgers’ third reliever of the inning, coaxed a crucial groundout from Lorenzo Cain to end the threat.

With one out in the 13th, Machado had a broken-bat single to left field and went to second on Guerra’s wild pitch. With first base open and slumping Yasmani Grandal on deck followed by the pitcher’s spot, the Brewers chose to pitch to Bellinger — and it cost them.

“Honestly, I didn’t think he was going to throw me a strike,” Bellinger said. “And then once I noticed he was attacking me, I just tried to put the ball in play and hopefully find a hole this time.”

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said: “I thought it was worth the risk of trying to expand to Bellinger, and if the at-bat goes to Grandal, we walk Grandal.”

Bellinger, who entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth, also had the defensive play of the game. He made a diving catch on his belly of a ball hit by Lorenzo Cain leading off the 10th, spreading his arms out and sliding like a snow angel in right field.

“I haven’t been out there much,” Bellinger said. “But I played right field in the minor leagues a little bit, so it was kind of second nature to me, and I just saw it up in the air, so I just tried to run and grab it.”

Both teams used all their position players and wasted numerous chances. Los Angeles went through its entire bullpen.

The Dodgers struck out 17 times — all against Milwaukee relievers — and have whiffed 49 times in the series. The Brewers fanned 15 times.

Dodgers starter Rich Hill allowed one run and three hits in five innings. The left-hander struck out six and walked three.

The Brewers tied the game 1-all in the fifth on pinch-hitter Domingo Santana’s RBI double that took one hop against the right-field wall with Yasiel Puig scrambling in pursuit.

The Dodgers led 1-0 on Brian Dozier’s RBI single in the first off Gio Gonzalez, who left after twisting his ankle while fielding an infield single by Puig in the second.

Gonzalez has a high ankle sprain and might need to be replaced on the roster, Counsell said.

The sellout crowd of 53,764 was considerably noisier than on Monday, when Enrique Hernandez criticized Dodgers fans for being too quiet. Joc Pederson and Bellinger waved blue rally towels in the dugout.

But the Dodgers again struggled at the plate after going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position in a 4-0 loss in Game 3.

The Brewers had the potential go-ahead run at third in the seventh. Manny Pina doubled against Kenta Maeda leading off, thrusting his hips and waving his arms in a display that drew boos. Orlando Arcia flied out to left, with Chris Taylor and Bellinger nearly colliding before Taylor made a sliding catch.

Pina took third on pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson’s flyout to center before Cain grounded out against Dylan Floro to end the inning.

The Dodgers had runners at the corners in the eighth against hard-throwing Josh Hader, who pitched for the second consecutive day. Pinch-hitter Matt Kemp struck out to end the threat.

The Brewers had a chance in the ninth against closer Kenley Jansen. With fans on their feet, pinch-hitter Travis Shaw struck out with a runner on third to end the inning.

In the 10th, Ryan Braun singled with two outs and stole second against Jansen, who struck out Jesus Aguilar.

Red Sox 8, Astros 2

In Houston, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a grand slam, Nathan Eovaldi hushed Houston a day after some social media trash talk and Boston beat the Astros to take a 2-1 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Steve Pearce hit a tiebreaking solo homer for Boston off Joe Smith in the sixth inning, a drive that sailed just inside the foul pole in left field for a 3-2 lead.

Bradley’s slam capped a five-run burst in the eighth against Roberto Osuna. The Astros closer got two outs but allowed two singles and plunked consecutive batters to force in a run. Bradley then crushed a 1-1 fastball into the right field seats to send Houston fans streaming toward the exits.

Game 4 is Wednesday night, with Boston’s Rick Porcello opposing Charlie Morton.

With his childhood hero and fellow Alvin, Texas, native Nolan Ryan sitting behind the plate, Eovaldi turned in another solid start. He allowed six hits and two runs with four strikeouts in six innings for the win in the second playoff start of his career.

“For him, I know it’s a special one,” Boston manager Alex Cora said.

Red-hot slugger Alex Bregman had shared a video Monday on Instagram of Houston hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs off Eovaldi in his previous outing against the Astros in June. Eovaldi downplayed the post when asked about it Monday.

Bregman did much of the damage against Eovaldi, getting two hits, an RBI and a walk in three plate appearances. Bregman has reached base safely in 20 of 28 plate appearances this postseason.

Bradley hit a three-run double during Boston’s Game 2 victory, giving him three RBIs in consecutive games for the first time in his career. Moments after his slam, fans at TD Garden in Boston began chanting “JBJ!” during the Celtics season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bradley had caught the ire of many Red Sox fans while batting .210 during the first half of the season.

“It’s a credit to him, because at this level, when you’re hitting .180 after two months or I think it was three months, it is hard,” Cora said. “And he kept showing up. He kept working. He kept working his craft. Now you see the results.”

The Astros went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position in the first home game of the series, which was played in front of a sellout crowd of 43,102 and included Astros Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and Houston Rockets stars James Harden, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. Bregman’s double was the only extra-base hit for a team which entered the game having hit at least one homer in a record 14 straight playoff games.