Cody Bellinger hit a one-out, go-ahead single in the top of the ninth inning to help send the Los Angeles Dodgers to the National League Championship Series with a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NL Division Series on Thursday in San Francisco.
In the final contest between the teams that won the most games in MLB this year, the Dodgers rode Mookie Betts' 4-for-4 performance and a combined six-hitter from their pitchers to reach their fifth NLCS in six years.
Los Angeles will visit the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series on Saturday.
After the Dodgers and Giants traded runs in the sixth, Los Angeles' Justin Turner was hit by a pitch from Camilo Doval (0-1) with one out in the ninth. Gavin Lux moved Turner to second with a single, and Bellinger drove him in with his hit into center.
Bellinger, the 2019 National League MVP, had struggled to a .165 batting average this season and was 3-for-14 in these playoffs, but didn't shy away from the moment.
"You really do want to be in that moment," said Bellinger, who went 2-for-50 against the Giants in the regular season. "I was down two strikes, I just tried to stay within my approach. I felt good.
"The previous three or four pitches I saw, I just missed them, and that time I just stayed a little simpler and got the job done right there."
After closer Kenley Jansen (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, Cy Young Award candidate Max Scherzer came out of the Dodgers' bullpen and overcame a one-out error by Turner at third base for his first career save.
The ending was especially wrenching for the Giants. First baseman Wilmer Flores attempted to check his swing on Scherzer's final pitch, but first-base umpire Gabe Morales ruled it a swing, which resulted in a third strike and ended San Francisco's season.
"Super-tough," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said of the call. "You don't want a game to end that way." Kapler didn't point the finger at the umpires, even as video replays appeared to show Flores did manage to halt his swing.
"I know these guys work really hard to make the right call," Kapler said. "There are other reasons we didn't win today's baseball game, that was just the last call of the game."
The expected pitchers' duel between Giants right-hander Logan Webb and Dodgers lefty Julio Urias panned out, even after Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts threw a curveball into the equation by starting right-handed reliever Corey Knebel.
Knebel and righty Brusdar Graterol did their part for Roberts, combining for two scoreless innings to start the contest, before the Webb-Urias duel began.
Roberts said he knew the move would open him up to criticism.
"But you can't do a job for fear of failure or potential criticism," he said. "You have to do your job and whatever you feel is the best way to win a game."
The Dodgers scored first in the sixth when Betts singled with one out, stole second and trotted home on an opposite-field double by Corey Seager.
Webb escaped further damage, and Darin Ruf's leadoff homer off Urias in the bottom of the sixth knotted the game again. The 452-foot (138-meter) bomb to center field was the veteran's first career postseason home run.
Urias, the winning pitcher in Game 2, was pulled after four innings, having allowed one run and three hits. He struck out five and did not walk anyone.
Webb, who pitched 7⅔ shutout innings in Game 1, was charged with one run on four hits in his seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Kris Bryant had two hits for the Giants, who were the winningest team in the majors in the regular season with 107 victories. The Dodgers won 106 games.
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