Cody Bellinger on Tuesday smashed a three-run homer as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5, while the Houston Astros recovered to score a series-leveling 9-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Bellinger’s monster eighth-inning home run off Atlanta reliever Luke Jackson turned a 5-2 deficit into a 5-5 tie just as the Dodgers appeared to be sliding toward a third straight defeat in their National League Championship Series.
Chris Taylor singled to keep the inning alive before Mookie Betts drove in a run-scoring double to put the Dodgers ahead at 6-5 heading into the ninth, allowing closer Kenley Jansen to lock down the win.
After Atlanta stunned the Dodgers with walk-off victories in the opening two games of the best-of-seven series, Tuesday’s Game 3 at Dodger Stadium had acquired must-win status for the reigning MLB World Series champions.
However, until Bellinger’s homer, the Dodgers looked to be heading for defeat after a fitful display from starting pitcher Walker Buehler and a spluttering offensive performance.
“Man, pure elation, joy — it’s just hard to imagine a bigger hit that I can remember,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Bellinger’s game-changing homer.
“We were dead in the water. You could see it,” Roberts added. “It just flipped everything. We needed that kind of shot in the arm.”
The Dodgers’ victory left Atlanta 2-1 ahead in the series.
“Right now, any win is huge, but the way we won tonight shows we’re still fighting,” said Dodgers leadoff hitter Betts.
In Boston, 2017 World Series champions Houston erupted with eight runs in the final two innings to defeat the Red Sox in Game 4 at Fenway Park.
Boston had looked to be closing in on a 3-1 American League Championship Series lead after Xander Bogaerts’ two-run homer put them 2-1 up in the first inning.
The Sox preserved that lead until the eighth inning, when Jose Altuve tied it up at 2-2 with a home run. Altuve’s homer opened the floodgates, with Jason Castro driving in a run for Carlos Correa in the ninth.
Michael Brantley then emptied the bases with a three-run triple to make it 6-2, before Yordan Alvarez, Correa and Kyle Tucker extended the Astros’ lead to 9-2.
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