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.
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.
Machado allowed his left leg to clip the lower right leg of Aguilar at first base while getting thrown out on a routine play in the 10th. Aguilar appeared upset and the two exchanged words. Both benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown.
The two appeared to reconcile after Machado singled in the 13th.
“We’re family. Things happen,” Machado said. “Everything that happens on the field stays on the field. He’s a great guy. We go way back since the minor leagues. So it’s just a friendly game, go out, try and compete here. We’re trying to win. He’s trying to do whatever he can to help his team over there, and we’re doing the same over here.”
MANNY’S CUP OF TEA
Machado says there’s “no excuse” for his lack of effort while running the bases.
It was especially notable in Game 2 when he failed to run out a grounder hit to Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia with no score.
“There’s no excuse for it, honestly,” Machado said in an interview aired on Fox Sports 1 before Game 4.
However, Machado says he has no plan to change his style.
“I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base,” he said. “That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”
Machado can become a free agent after the season.
The Dodgers say tickets are still available for Game 5, which begins at 2:05 p.m. PDT.
Brewers: Miley makes his third postseason start in Game 5 on Wednesday. He pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 2 of the NLCS, allowing two hits while striking out three and walking none. His other start came in Game 3 of the NLDS at Colorado. He didn’t factor in the decision either time.
Dodgers: Kershaw took the loss in Game 1 against the Brewers. Kershaw had the best postseason outing of his career in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Braves, allowing two hits over eight shutout innings.