The game started out simple enough. The Dodgers did that thing they do where they jump out and take the lead early. It was 2-0 LA through 3 innings…
Then the fourth inning happened.
A single followed by a fly out left a runner on first base with an out. Then Gavin Lux dropped a fly ball against the wall in centerfield. Up came old friend Joc Pederson with runners at second and third base with one out. Then this happened…
The Dodgers would have liked to get this strike three call on Joc Pederson
He ended up driving in Atlanta's first run and the next two batters gave the Braves a lead pic.twitter.com/BTaTaQ8fhN
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) October 19, 2021
What should have been strike three to Pederson eventually became an RBI single.
A rocking Dodger Stadium became tame. Walker Buehler became lost. He allowed a first pitch single to Adam Duvall before walking the next batter on 4 pitches.
Tie game with the bases loaded and still just one out. A hard hit ball gets by the glove of Corey Seager at shortstop. The Braves take the 3-2 lead and the wind out of Dodger Stadium
Buehler strikes out the pitcher with the bases still loaded. Atlanta leadoff batter Eddie Rosario walks, bringing in the fourth run of the inning and spelling the end for Walker.
As for the feeling on the bench in that moment and over the next few innings, Dave Roberts felt what many Dodger fans felt.
“We were dead in the water. You could see it.”
Then a small miracle happened… the Dodgers strung some hits together.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 20, 2021
The Braves tack on another run in the 5th.
Now, with just a 6% chance of winning, Will Smith leads off the Dodger half of 8th inning with a single. After a Justin Turner pop out, AJ Pollock sneaks a seeing eye single through to the outfield.
Two on, one out. Up steps Cody Bellinger.
Straight chills man. The broadcast was trying to build up the LA fans leaving early narrative, but that place was still packed and it was a 2 o'clock start on a weekday. No one loves their baseball team like #Dodgers fans. pic.twitter.com/JaxqE5VzEr
— Doug McKain (@DMAC_LA) October 20, 2021
On a pitch up and out of the zone — a pitch that has beaten him all season long — Cody connects on a season-saving, life-saving, game-tying 3-run home run to bring the stadium back to fully rocking.
Dave Roberts: "It was as loud as I've heard Dodger Stadium after that homer." https://t.co/bGBSFUlJrG
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) October 20, 2021
“It felt like we really didn’t have any energy there for 4 or 5 innings … Belli kinda brought us back to life,” Chris Taylor said after the game.
“We were down for a long time in that game,” Walker Buehler added, “and to kind of, for lack of a better term, resurrect ourself and come through I think is huge for our team.”
“It just flipped everything, said Roberts. “We’ve got a very good ball club, but we just needed that kind of shot in the arm. This was a freaking big hit. Big hit.”
Taylor followed with a single, stole a base, advanced to third on a ground out and scored the winning run on a Mookie Betts RBI double.
Game: Los Angeles.
If the Dodgers lose this game, they face an uphill climb only one other club has ever done in the history of baseball. Only the 2004 Red Sox (featuring a speedy outfielder named Dave Roberts) had ever recovered from a 3-0 series deficit to win a best-of-7 game series.
So a moment like what happened in the 4th inning on Tuesday — for those that fully understand the gravity of the moment and the kind of gut-punch an inning like that can have on a team that’s already down 0-2 in a series — has spelled the end for other teams in the past. Better teams. Even these Dodgers of recent vintage. It was enough for the manager of the team to feel like his team was dead in the water.
“That’s pretty much a must-win game, added Taylor. “You can’t go down 0-3. Now we’re right back in it.”
The Dodgers still need to play better. They still need to tighten up their defense. They still need to hit better situationally. But now, Cody Bellinger has at least breathed enough life in his team to give them that chance. A chance that is not nearly insurmountable.
Julio Urias gets the ball on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.