The Los Angeles Dodgers arrived in Boston Sunday, one day after a Game 7 victory gave them their first back-to-back World Series appearances in 40 years.
Home runs by Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig and a key catch by left fielder Chris Taylor gave the Dodgers a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday to win the National League Championship Series four games to three.
Bellinger’s two-run homer in the second inning gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. Puig’s two-out, three-run homer in the sixth was the Dodgers lone hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Taylor preserved the Dodgers 2-1 lead when he ran 85 feet to catch a shot off the bat of Westlake High School graduate Christian Yelich on the warning track with two outs in the fifth inning and Lorenzo Cain on second base.
The length of Taylor’s run was determined by Statcast, state-of-the-art tracking technology that allows for the collection and analysis of a massive amount of baseball data.
“At that point in time I thought the game was tied,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But CT gets a great break on the ball, and really a game-saving play.
“Once the game is tied anything can happen. The momentum shifts. But that was certainly a signature play at the time.”
Said Brewers manager Craig Counsell: “That was a great catch. I didn’t think he was going to catch it. He covered a ton of ground. That was what was just so impressive is the ground he covered.
“I felt like the ball was really hit hard. There was a gap where the ball is going and where he is and he made a wonderful catch.”
Bellinger was chosen as the NLCS MVP. He singled in the winning run in the Dodgers 13-inning 2-1 win in Game 4 Tuesday. Bellinger’s four RBIs tied Puig and Milwaukee’s Jesus Aguilar and Ryan Braun for the series lead.
The Dodgers and the American League champion Boston Red Sox are scheduled to conduct workouts at Fenway Park Monday, one day before the start of the World Series.
Left-hander Chris Sale will start Game 1 for the Red Sox. The Dodgers have not announced their starter.
Since the wild card era began in 1995, the team with the home field advantage is 16-7 in the World Series.
This is the first time the Dodgers will make back-to-back World Series appearances since 1977 and 1978 when they lost to the New York Yankees on both occasions.
They lost to the Houston Astros in seven games in the 2017 Series, their first World Series appearance since 1988.
This is the 20th time the Dodgers have reached the World Series, tying the San Francisco Giants for second place behind the Yankees, who have made 40 appearances.
The Dodgers are the first team to win back-to-back National League pennants since the 2008 and 2009 Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers have faced Boston in the World Series once before — 1916 — when they were known as the Brooklyn Robins, and lost four games to one.
Babe Ruth was Boston’s pitcher in Game 2, pitching all 14 innings in a 2-1 victory, allowing six hits, striking out four, walking three and driving in its first round with a third-inning ground out.
The victory came on the 30th anniversary of the Dodgers defeating the Oakland Athletics to win the 1988 World Series, their most-recent World Series triumph.
Ryan Madson, the third of five Dodger pitchers, was credited with the victory, allowing one hit and striking out two.
Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin was charged with the loss, allowing two runs and three hits in two innings and walking one batter before being replaced by a pinch-hitter.
The Brewers took a 1-0 lead when their second batter, Yelich, homered off Dodger starter Walker Buehler. The Brewers were shut out over the final 8 2/3 innings, advancing three runners past first base and none past second.
The four Dodger relievers — Julio Urias, Madson, Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw — retired 13 of the 14 batters they faced, including the last seven.
Buehler allowed one run and six hits over 4 2/3 innings, striking out seven and not walking a batter. He was removed from the game immediately after allowing the double to Cain.
“I’m just so proud of our guys for enduring this roller coaster of a season,” Roberts said. The Dodgers were nine games off the NL West lead on May 8 and were never above fourth from April 27-May 27.
“A lot of people had their hand in this. And for us to just continue to lean on each other, depend on one another and stay the course, it says a lot about the focus, the toughness of this team. Coaches, training staff, baseball ops, scouts, and so many people got us to this point.
“So I’m just really proud of this entire organization and look forward to giving ourselves a chance to bring the championship back to Los Angeles.”
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