SAN FRANCISCO – Julio Urias had the biggest hit of the night for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it helped the defending World Champions even the series 1-1.
Kevin Gausman intentionally walked A.J. Pollock, Urias up next took Gausman by surprise with a singled to right field that helped spark the Dodgers offense to a 9-2 victory over the Giants before another sellout crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park.
“It’s a good feeling,” LA Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s interesting how the narrative changes from game to game. Right now, it’s a three-game series, we have home-field advantage and we have Max (Scherzer) on the mound. I like where we’re at.”
“Obviously looking forward to turning the page on tonight’s game and getting ready for Los Angeles,” said San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler. “It was not our best effort tonight. Dodgers just swung the bats better than us, made more pitches than us, made more plays than us.”
Mookie Betts followed up the Urias single in the second with one of his own that scored Pollock. However, Gausman was able to get out of the inning by striking out Corey Seager to end the frame.
Chris Taylor, who sent LA into the Division Series, when he hit a two-run walk-off home run off of Anthony Reyes on Wednesday night, led off the inning with a double off of Gausman and scored the first run of the game for the Dodgers.
Urias went 20-3 during the regular season, he pitched the first five innings for the Dodgers tonight. Urias allowed one run on just two hits, walked one and struck out five, as the series heads to Dodger Stadium tied up at a game apiece.
“I felt good,” Urias said. “I thought the pitches were working really well. It is the fifth or sixth time I have seen them so it is a little bit trickier to get through that lineup, but I felt good, offensively the team put some runs and all in all it was a good game.
Gausman, who made his first ever postseason start went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on four hits, walked three and struck out seven. This was not the first postseason appearance for Gausman, he appeared in four games in the 2014 postseason for the Baltimore Orioles and in 2018 for the Atlanta Braves.
“I mean I made, I thought I made a pretty good adjustment after the second inning,” said Gausman. “After then, I felt like I kind of got in my zone a little bit and retired a lot of hitters in a row. Obviously, I wish I would have got through that sixth inning.”
The Giants cut the Dodgers lead in half in the bottom of the second inning, Wilmer Flores led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a Brandon Crawford’s single. He then went to third on an Evan Longoria fly out to Taylor in centerfield and then scored on a Donnie Solano fly out to Taylor.
Unfortunately, that was all San Francisco could muster against Urias, and finally in the top of the sixth inning, the LA broke the game wide open from an unlikely source this season; a former Most Valuable Player.
With the bases loaded and one out, Cody Bellinger, who won the National League Most Valuable Player in 2019, and was mired in a season long slump after being injured earlier in the year, came with a two-run double that gave the Dodgers a commanding 4-1 lead. Pollock hit a two-run double that gave the Dodgers a commanding 6-1 lead.
Crawford picked up his second run batted in of the series, he singled to right field to score LaMonte Wade, Jr., who came off the bench to pinch hit for Austin Slater and drew a walk against Joe Kelly.
Mookie Betts made a big defensive play that killed the Giants rally bottom of the sixth inning.
“Sometimes you just do things you can’t really explain,” Betts said. “And that was just one of them.”
Crawford singled to score Wade, Jr., but Flores, who was on first base tried to test Betts and go to third, but Betts made a perfect throw to Justin Turner to get Flores out to end the inning.
“Yeah, 100 percent,” said Flores. “I just thought the ball was more in the corner,” “No, it was my decision.”
Will Smith then greeted Zack Littell rather rudely, as he launched a solo home run on the first pitch that Littell allowed in the top of the eighth.
Both Taylor and Pollock each picked up singles in between Bellinger, who struck out for the third time. Matt Beaty came up with a pinch-hit single that scored Taylor and after Jarlin Garcia came in to replace Littell, Seager singled to right field to score Pollock.
San Francisco’s bullpen was anything but stellar tonight, the quintet of Dominic Leone, Jake McGee, Littell, Garcia and Kervin Castro pitched the final 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, while walking just one and striking out just two.
The quartet of Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol, Corey Knebel and Phil Bickford pitched the final four innings, they allowed one run on three hits, walked one and struck out three.
Buster Posey was a bright spot for the Giants despite the seven-run loss that tied the series, he went 3-for-4 on the night.
NOTES: When Buster Posey singled in the bottom of the sixth inning, it was the 54th career hit postseason hit for him, passing former teammate Pablo Sandoval.
Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, was the 13th time that the Giants won a game via the shutout, by far the most in MLB history, this according to Elias Sports Bureau. The 13 shutouts are five ahead of Yadier Molina (8) and six ahead of Yogi Berra (7). In his career, Posey has been a part of exactly half of the Giants postseason shutouts in team history.
Logan Webb became the fourth Giants pitcher ever to strikeout 10 or more in his playoff debut, joining Carl Hubbell in Game Three of the 1933 World Series versus the Washington Senators, Tim Lincecum in Game One of the 2010 NLDS versus the Atlanta Braves and Jonathan Sanchez in Game Three of the 2010 NLDS. In all of those instances, the Giants won the World Series.
UP NEXT: Alex Wood will start Game 3 for the Giants of the NLDS against the Dodgers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. During the 2021 season, the Giants were 12-2 with Wood on the mound after a loss. Scherzer will make his second postseason start for the Dodgers in 2021, as he went 4.1 innings, in the Wild Card game on Wednesday night.