With the entirety of baseball still thinking about Game 3 of the World Series, it was time to play ball once again.
Going into Game 4, with Alex Wood on the mound, Dave Roberts sent the same lineup to the field as he had in Game 3. Though Cody Bellinger has had his struggles recently, he stayed in the cleanup spot, and Joc Pederson remained the DH.
Charlie Morton took the mound for the Astros, coming off of a terrific Game 7 start against the Yankees.
Though Wood struggled slightly in his last start against the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the NLCS,, resulting in a Dodgers loss, he bounced back as well as any pitcher could have hoped.
Morton started the game by giving up a single to Dodger leadoff hitter Chris Taylor, but Taylor was caught stealing to end the first inning. Wood began the bottom of the first looking stronger than ever, and that continued through all his 5-2/3 no-hit innings; a feat no Dodger has ever accomplished in a World Series game.
With the exception of two walks issued by Wood and a hit batsman by Morton, all was quiet until the 6th inning when Barnes was hit in the arm, and advanced to third on an Enrique Hernandez double. Barnes was subsequently thrown out at the plate for the second out of sixth. Chris Taylor followed with a pop-out to left, ending the inning and the Los Angeles threat.
As the game headed into the home half of the 6th, Alex Wood was cruising, but was taken out after giving up a two-out solo homer to left off the bat of George Springer.
Morrow came on to finish the 6th and was able to get Alex Bregman to ground out to end the inning.
Morton returned to the mound for the 7th, and he retired Justin Turner via the ground out, for the first out of the inning. Cody Bellinger followed with a double to left field, breaking out of his brief postseason slump. With that hit, Morton was taken out of the game, handing it over to the Astros’ bullpen.
Will Harris was brought on to face Yasiel Puig with one out, who popped out to Josh Reddick. On a single from Logan Forsythe, Bellinger hustled home to tie the game for the Dodgers. Austin Barnes followed with a ground ball that forced the out at second, ending the inning.
Returning to the mound in the 7th was Brandon Morrow, and Jose Altuve grounded out to third base to start the inning. Carlos Correa followed with a flyout to Hernandez in left, and Yuli Gurriel ended the inning with a high fly ball to Taylor in center.
The 8th inning brought Chris Devenski to the mound for Houston and Pederson to the plate for Los Angeles. Pederson struck out, and Hernandez and Taylor popped out and grounded out to end the inning.
Pitching the bottom of the 8th for the Dodgers, Tony Watson got two quick outs on a foul out by Reddick and a ground out by Evan Gattis. The game headed to the 9th when Marwin Gonzalez hit a line drive directly to Forsythe at second.
Ken Giles, the Astros closer, came on to pitch the 9th. On the first pitch, Corey Seager singled into right, and Turner was walked on five pitches, bringing Bellinger to the plate.
Further proving that he’s rebounding offensively, Bellinger doubled to left-center on a hanging curveball, scoring Seager and sending Turner to third. Giles was taken out of the game without recording an out, bringing Joe Musgrove to the mound for Houston.
Musgrove had to face the middle of the Dodgers order, beginning with Puig, who struck out on five pitches. Forsythe was intentionally walked, loading the bases, bringing Austin Barnes to the plate for Los Angeles. Barnes hit a sacrifice fly deep to right field, easily scoring Charlie Culberson from third, who pinch ran for Turner.
Pederson broke it open with two outs in the 9th, with a loud three-run homer to right, giving the Dodgers a 6-1 lead headed into the bottom of the 9th.
Kenley Jansen jogged out from the bullpen, and after retiring Brian McCann and George Springer, he gave up a home run to Astros 3rd basemen Alex Bregman. Jose Altuve hit a pop fly to Chris Taylor in center to end the game.
The Dodgers needed this one. After yesterday, the Dodgers did not want to be down 3-1, and Wood made sure that didn’t happen. Pederson continued to prove why he belongs on this World Series roster, and Bellinger broke out of his slump in game-winning fashion.
What will happen tomorrow is yet to be determined, but what we do know is that this series is coming back to Los Angeles. On Tuesday, the World Series will see a much more autumn-looking LA, and one team will be up 3-2.
Los Angeles loves October. This is a city that thrives on cold weather and postseason baseball. This game was a must-win for the Dodgers, and they got it done.
The World Series is far from over, the fall classic is coming back to LA, and the Dodgers are ready for all of it.
(Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahManinger)