Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias leans over the Dodgers dugout railing along the first base side at Oracle Park in San Francisco during game 2 of the NLDS on Sat Oct 9, 2021 (@Dodgers photo)
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO-Julio Urias came with the biggest hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it helped the defending World Champions get even.
Urias singled to right field immediately after Kevin Gausman intentionally walked A.J. Pollock to get Urias, and the plan backfired, helping the Dodgers to a 9-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants before a sellout crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park.
It’s a good feeling, 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.
With the victory by the Dodgers, it tied up the National League Division Series between the two longtime rivals.
Obviously looking forward to turning the page on tonight’s game and getting ready for Los Angeles,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “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 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 inning.
Chris Taylor, who sent the Dodgers 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, who went 20-3 during the regular season pitched the first five innings for the Dodgers, as he allowed one run on just two hits, walking one and striking 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 was making his first ever postseason start went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on four hits, walking three and striking out seven. This was not the first postseason appearance for Gausman, as 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, Gausman said. 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, as Wilmer Flores led off the inning with a walk, moved to second on a Brandon Crawford single. Flores 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 is all that the Giants muster against Urias, and finally in the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers broke the game open from an unlikely source this season; however, 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 who 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 and then scored Pollock hit a two-run double of his own that gave the Dodgers a commanding 6-1 lead.
Crawford picked up his second run batted in of the series, as 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 came up with the defensive play of the night that killed the Giants rally that ended the bottom of the sixth inning.
Sometimes you just do things you can’t really explain, Betts said of his play. And that was just one of them.
Crawford singled to score Wade, Jr., however, on the play, Wilmer Flores, who was on first base try to test Betts and go to third, but Betts made a perfect throw to Justin Turner to get Flores and not only end the inning but the threat as well.
Yeah, 100 percent, Flores said. 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 deep into the San Francisco night on the first pitch that Littell allowed in the top of the eighth inning.
Taylor and Pollock each picked up singles in between Bellinger, who struck out for the third time on the evening.
Matt Beaty came up with a pinch-hit single that scored Taylor and after Jarlin Garcia came on to replace Littell, Seager singled to right field to score Pollock.
The usual stellar Giants bullpen was anything but that on this night, as the quintet of Dominic Leone, Jake McGee, Littell, Garcia and Kervin Castro pitched the final 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, 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, allowing one run on three hits, walking one and striking out three.
Buster Posey was a bright spot for the Giants despite the seven-run loss that tied up the series, as the veteran catcher went 3-for-4 on the night against Dodgers pitching.
NOTES: When Posey singled in the bottom of the sixth inning, it was the 54th career hit postseason hit for him, passing former teammate Pablo Sandoval.
When Posey caught the shutout in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, it 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 just 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 startfor the Dodgers in 2021, as he went 4.1 innings, in the Wild Card game on Wednesday night.