MLB

MLB playoffs 2021: Dodgers manager Roberts hails 'ace in the hole' Scherzer

By Sports Desk October 15, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says Max Scherzer was his "ace in the hole" after using him in the ninth inning for his first career save in Thursday's 2-1 series-deciding win over the San Francisco Giants.

Scherzer slammed the door on the Giants to clinch a 3-2 National League Division Series victory for the Dodgers after Cody Bellinger's RBI single for Justin Turner to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning.

The 37-year-old right-hander, who had started Game 3 for 10 strikeouts across seven innings, was handed the ball to save the game on this occasion after warming up in the bullpen. It was Scherzer's first career save in his 432nd appearance.

"It was seeing the flow and how the game was going to play out, knowing we have an ace in the hole and trying to find the ultimate leverage spot to use him," Roberts told reporters after the game. "How the game played out, it made a lot of sense."

Roberts had used five pitchers before Scherzer's introduction, starting Corey Knebel before Julio Urias took over in the third inning, tossing down five strikeouts across four innings.

The game was tied at 1-1 leading into the ninth inning when Bellinger, who has had a season to forget, drove in Turner.

Bellinger, the 2019 National League MVP, hit at .165 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs during the regular season, but he has batted at .294 with three RBIs in the postseason.

"Even for me, it's like going into that at-bat prior where he punched, he saw close to 10 punches, he grinded and competed, that last at-bat there was fight in there," Roberts said about Bellinger.

"It wasn't about mechanics, it was about a fight. It was me versus you. Cody versus [Giants pitcher] Camilo Doval.

"He got a huge hit. Like I said, Cody has grown a lot from adversity. For him to come up with the big hit, I'm very happy for him."

The result means the Dodgers have reached the National League Championship Series, where they will face the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers are through to this stage for the fifth time in six seasons.

LA had to overcome the Giants, who boasted the best majors regular season record at 107-55, but Roberts said they were not content with that.

"I think what great ball clubs have the ability to do, is understand the gravity of a moment and a series in this case," he said. "Give everything you have to that series, which we did.

"It was a huge series but we also understand our job is not done. Now our focus turns to the Braves."

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    Betts left the game after being struck on the hand by a fastball from Dan Altavilla in the seventh inning. The Dodgers later announced the 2018 American League MVP suffered a fracture but will not need surgery, though he's still expected to miss several weeks.

    “It’s a big blow," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said afterward. "I feel bad for Mookie because he's having an MVP-type season."

    Betts entered the game fourth in the NL with a .307 average while producing 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and nine stolen bases in 72 games.

    The seven-time All-Star's injury comes one day after pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto exited Saturday's start against the Royals after two innings due to a strained rotator cuff. The Dodgers placed the former Japanese league star on the injured list prior to Sunday's contest.

    Los Angeles did get stellar pitching in Sunday's finale of this three-game series, as Tyler Glasnow (7-5) held the Royals to three hits and a walk while striking out nine over seven innings.

    Ohtani supplied the offence with his 18th and 19th homers of the season, a solo blast in the third inning and another in the sixth.

    Both homers came off Kansas City starter Brady Singer, who also surrendered a solo shot to Freddie Freeman in the sixth inning that followed Ohtani's second of the day.

    Singer (4-4) lasted six innings and allowed five hits while striking out four.

    Freeman finished 2 for 4 to help the Dodgers take two of three from Kansas City, which has now lost six of its last eight games.

     

    Orioles take series from Phillies behind four homers

    Jordan Westburg went 2 for 4 and hit one of four Baltimore home runs off Zack Wheeler as the Orioles powered their way to an 8-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a three-game interleague series between top contenders.

    Westburg's three-run blast off Wheeler in the fifth inning was the final blow as the Orioles tagged Philadelphia's ace for eight runs to earn their second win over the NL leaders in as many days. Baltimore also moved within 1 1/2 games of the Yankees for first place in the AL East after New York was dealt a 9-3 loss by the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

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    The Orioles answered with four runs in their half of the fifth, however, to knock Wheeler out of the game.

    Ryan Mountcastle led off the inning with a single and Wheeler walked Ryan O'Hearn before Anthony Santander plated Mountcastle with a single. Westburg then drove Wheeler's pitch over the wall in right center field to put Baltimore up comfortably at 8-2.

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    Jude Bellingham "has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or", Serbia skipper Dusan Tadic insisted after his side fell victim to England's star midfielder.

    Bellingham was the hero with his first-half header ensuring Gareth Southgate's side got off to a winning start at Euro 2024, as they edged out the Eagles 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen.

    The Real Madrid midfielder built on the momentum from his memorable debut season with Los Blancos, for whom he scored 23 goals and helped win LaLiga and the Champions League.

    The second player after Michael Owen to score at the World Cup and European Championship before turning 21, he is also the first to do so for the Three Lions while playing his club football outside of England.

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    When asked whether he thought Bellingham was the difference in the Group C contest, the Eagles skipper told reporters: "Yes, definitely. I think he is a great player and a great personality. I think he has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or.

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    "What I think is most important for such a young player is that he always takes responsibility. That is amazing to see, and you can see he is very hungry."

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