Bellinger robs Padres as Dodgers hold on for 2-0 NLDS lead
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Cody Bellinger would take the homer robbing catch over the homerun he hit if he had to choose between the two. The Los Angeles Dodgers needed both of them from their MVP Center Fielder.
Bellinger nearly got on his knees to do his long home run and later made a spectacular, bouncing catch on the midfield wall to kick off Fernando Tatis Jr. when the Dodgers barely held the San Diego Padres back 6-5 Wednesday Night.
Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in the NL Division Series when Joe Kelly eventually took the final with the bases in a tense ninth inning.
"It will be a while before we get rid of this," said Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP. "This is postseason baseball right there. ''
Kelly pulled Eric Hosmer back on a routine grounder to earn the save after Dodger's All-Star seamstress Kenley Jansen wobbled in ninth place. Los Angeles can win its rival's best-of-five set in NL West on Thursday evening.
The Padres were in seventh with a runner and two outs on the floor when Tatis, the 21-year-old budding superstar, took a massive drive into the center. Bellinger ran nearly 100 feet while watching the ball, then jumped and reached his gloved right hand over the 8-foot wall to make the grip.
"I just turned around as fast as I could, went to the fence and saw that it was likely, so I decided to timing the jump, and that's how it worked," Bellinger said. "I didn't know if it was a homer or not, but I knew I caught it."
Brusdar Graterol, the second Dodgers aide after starter Clayton Kershaw, threw away his glove and hat and poked both arms in the air to celebrate. Graterol also seemed to be waving goodbye and kissing Padre star Manny Machado, who was recalling curses from afar in a heated verbal exchange that also included other Dodgers.
Bellinger said it was only the second homer he robbed in his career - the first in the playoffs.
"It sure turns out that's the difference in the game," said Jayres Tingler, Padres rookie manager. `` Tatis did pretty well. For him to go up there and rob you, there's not much to say. ''
Game 3 is Thursday night and the Dodgers can move up to the NL Championship Series for the fourth time in five seasons. They went to the World Series in 2017 and 2018 before losing to the Washington Nationals in a five-game division series last October.
Corey Seager put the NL West champions in the lead to stay in third with his double in two runs and scored in the game in Max Muncy's first of two RBI singles. Bellinger led the next inning, went on a low pitch and drove it 433 feet into the middle to make it 4-1.
Kershaw pursued his jewel in the first round clinch game against Milwaukee with six strokes and no steps over six solid innings to take the win. The left allowed three runs, including two solo homers by Machado and Hosmer in the sixth, on his first start near his home in Texas in a 13-season career.
After offering a full-count, two-outs walk to Tatis and Machado, who had loaded the bases, Kelly pulled Hosmer out of the running for his first rescue that postseason. Jansen had allowed two runs in the ninth run, with an RBI double from Mitch Moreland, before he met Trent Grisham's single.
'' No doubt about it - we had it in our hands. This is how Joe Kelly rolls. Joe likes to make it interesting for us, ”Kershaw said.
Zach Davies allowed four runs over five innings, the longest outing for a Padres thrower in his five games that postseason. The right-handed hit three without a foot but took the loss.
This came after Mike Clevinger was removed from the Padres' active roster, meaning he'll be out at least until the World Series - if San Diego can recover to make it that far and his elbow feels better.
Three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Kershaw grew up, attended high school and still lives about 25 miles from the new Texas Rangers' stadium. The Dodgers have played four regular season series at Arlington since his big league debut in 2008, but none of them matched his rotation on the rotation.
Kershaw could put more there this October as the NL Championship and World Series are also played at the $ 1.2 billion stadium with a retractable roof that has been opened to the NLDS.
In Game 2 of the best-of-three series against Milwaukee last Thursday, Kershaw hit 13 over eight goalless innings. Kershaw has a career ERA of 2.43 in the regular season but entered those playoffs after the shortened regular season of 60 games with an ERA of 4.43 in the postseason.
The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the second game when Tommy Pham scored a goal just above the infield and scored when Wil Myers put a brace in the gap in the right center.
Seager's brace landed just on the right field line, then bounced off the screen in front of the field-level club where Dodger's family members were sitting. The ball shot sideways from right fielder Myers, allowing catcher Austin Barnes to hit from the first goal.
When the Dodgers went to bat after Bellinger's catch, Justin Turner had a sacrificial fly and Muncy had his second RBI single to make it 6-3.
NOT that hard
Jansen had an average speed of 93 to 94 mph earlier this season, but seldom reached more than 90 mph in his 30 pitches (seven fastballs and 23 cutters) this season. There were 11 pitches running at 90 mph or more, only three of them over 92 mph.
When asked about Jansen's role in the ninth inning, manager Dave Roberts said he would think about it further.
`` I thought there were some good litters in there. There was a third hit at Grisham and he got a base hit, ”said Roberts. `` I'll think it through. It was only a lot for (Jansen), 30 spaces to get two outs. I know he's disappointed too. I will think about it further. ''
The Padres were the first team in 20 games that postseason to lose when they overtook their opponent. ... According to Elias Sports, Kershaw was the first pitcher to allow home races three times in a row in a post-season career.
The Padres plan to start the left Adrian Morejon in Game 3. Roberts said he wouldn't announce a starter until Thursday.
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