LOS ANGELES – After 130 years of foreplay, the first Dodgers-Giants postseason tussle was destined to go all the way.
Sending Walker Buehler to the mound on a low rest to prevent an elimination, the Dodgers did the same as they beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 in Game 4 of their National League Division Series on Tuesday night.
The win also leveled a series best of five and set up another elimination game – the Dodgers’ third in the first eight days of the post season – this time at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Thursday. Game 2 winner Julio Urius will start for the Dodgers and Game 1 winner Logan Webb for the Giants.
The Dodgers’ all-or-nothing-at-all offense—a nine-run blast in Game 2, sandwiched between a pair of bagels—was relentless in Game 4. He had 18 baserunners in all (12 hits, five walks and one error) and a runner in the scoring position in each of the first six innings.
Six different Dodgers had two hit games – the top four batsmen in the order, as well as Gavin Lux and Cody Bellinger.
All that movement scored just one run in each of the first two innings. This was enough to chase down Giants starter Anthony Descalfani after just 10 at-bats after implementing a zero-tolerance policy with Gabe Kapler, who toggled him through five pitchers in the first four innings.
Mookie Bates doubled the score in the fourth inning with a two-run home run, fourth among them reliever, lefty Jerlin Garcia.
But even that didn’t seem like enough. Half of the Dodgers’ first 18 batsmen got to base (five hits, three walks and an error), but they went 1 for 8 with the runners in the scoring position, making the least of those opportunities out. .
For example, after running three times in a row with an out in the third, he did not score. Chris Taylor’s drive to the wall in left field was driven by Lamonte Wade Jr. to trap loaded bases. Another base-loaded position in fifth gave Bates just one more run on the sacrifice fly.
While the offense’s sporadic presence has garnered most of the attention — and anger — of the Dodgers’ pitching, the Giants’ pitching has slowly tightened up. He has scored only nine runs in the first four games of the series, half of the Game 1 win, and is batting .184 (23 off 125) against the Dodgers pitching in the NLDS.
Beginning just three days off for the first time in his professional career, Buehler was told by Roberts to “work out as hard as he can.” He got 13 outs and 71 pitches.
Buehler kept the Giants without a score in the fifth inning but left with two runners on and one out. Joe Kelly hits a single to Tommy Lastella to load the bases. A ground out scored a run and Kelly ended the innings by dismissing Brandon Crawford.
Bruce Greaterroll pumped the gas in the sixth inning – five pitches were clocked between 101.6 and 102.5 mph. But the Giants scored another run after Brandon Crawford doubled from Blake Trainen in eighth place of the leadoff.
Will Smith hit a knockout blow in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run homer.
There is much more to come on this story.