While there were certainly enough opportunities for the Dodgers to blow Game 4 wide open early, they did enough damage throughout the contest on Tuesday night to defeat the Giants 7-2 and force a deciding Game 5 in San Francisco on Thursday.
Walker Buehler put together an honorable outing for Los Angeles, throwing on three days rest and lasting long enough to put his club in a position to win.
The Dodgers jumped out in front early in the first inning when Corey Seager singled to left and scored on a Trea Turner double to right field. In the bottom of the second inning, Gavin Lux singled to right field, advanced to third on a Cody Bellinger single to right, then scored on a Chris Taylor sacrifice fly.
In the meantime, San Francisco starter Anthony DeSclafani was pulled with two outs in the bottom of the second inning. The 31-year-old righty threw a total of 28 pitches, allowing the two earned runs on five hits and no walks while striking out two Dodger batters in what quickly turned into a bullpen game for the Giants.
At this point of the game, it felt like Los Angeles was ready to bust the game open, but the Dodgers could not come up with the one big hit to pull away. In the bottom of the third, the Dodgers loaded the bases on three walks, but couldn’t plate a runner after a Bellinger groundout and a Taylor flyout to deep left field.
Nevertheless, Buehler, hitting for himself in the bottom of the fourth, reached on a fielding error by pitcher Jarlin Garcia, who was the fourth San Francisco pitcher of the night at the time. Mookie Betts followed with his first home run of the series to right-center field, extending the lead to 4-0.
Buehler ran into trouble in the fifth after surrendering a single to Evan Longoria and allowing a walk to Steven Duggar two batters later. Joe Kelly replaced Buehler, and the Giants subsequently scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Darin Ruf.
Buehler’s final line for the night was 4-1/3 innings pitched, surrendering the one earned run on three hits and two walks while striking out four. He threw 71 pitches.
The Dodgers plated another run in the fifth inning when Bellinger scored on a Betts sacrifice fly to deep left field, stretching the lead to 5-1. While the Dodgers were indeed converting, they could have certainly plated many more runs, as the fifth inning was another case of the bases being left loaded.
Righty reliever Brusdar Graterol succeeded Kelly, allowing one hit in a scoreless sixth inning. Lefty Alex Vesia began the seventh for the Dodgers, but after allowing a two-out infield single to pinch hitter Austin Slater, was replaced by Blake Treinen.
The Dodgers added two more in the bottom of the eighth after a Seager single and home run by Will Smith to center, his second of the series.
Phil Bickford threw a scoreless ninth to seal the victory for the Dodgers. Kelly was credited with the win, and DeSclafani was tagged with the loss.
The Giants used a total of eight different pitchers on the evening. The Dodgers used six.
Betts was the big bopper for the Dodgers, going 2-for-4 with the homer and three RBI. The bottom half of the order came up big again for Los Angeles as Lux and Bellinger had two hits apiece.
Skipper Dave Roberts has already suggested that he will start Julio Urias in Game 5. His counterpart Gabe Kapler has not made a commitment, although one can speculate it might be Logan Webb, the winning pitcher in Game 1.