Late rallies propel Dodgers, Astros to victory

Los Angeles trailed 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth, before erupting for four runs to take a 6-5 victory, thus avoiding a 3-0 deficit to Atlanta in the NLCS. Meanwhile, Houston scored in the eighth to tie its game ALCS matchup with Boston, then erupted for seven in the ninth to win, 9-2, knotting their ALCS at 2-2.

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October 20, 2021 - 9:49 AM

The Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger hits a three-run home run to tie the game during the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. Photo by Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / TNS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cody Bellinger hit a tying, three-run homer and Mookie Betts then lined an RBI double as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied in the eighth inning, beating Atlanta 6-5 Tuesday and cutting the Braves’ lead in the NL Championship Series to 2-1.

The Dodgers were down to their final five outs when Bellinger drove a two-strike pitch from Luke Jackson into the right-field pavilion, igniting the blue towel-waving crowd, some of whom had already left with LA trailing 5-2.

Chris Taylor singled, stole second and moved to third on pinch-hitter Matt Beaty’s groundout. Betts followed with a double off Jesse Chavez to right-center.

Game 4 is Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

With the cheering, chanting crowd on its feet in the ninth, Kenley Jansen struck out the side to earn the save, the ninth pitcher used by the Dodgers. They ran through a combined 15 in the first two games.

After getting staggered with back-to-back walk-off losses in Atlanta, the Dodgers returned home, where they’ve dominated the Braves in recent years and were an MLB-best 58-23 during the regular season.

The Braves haven’t won at Dodger Stadium since June 8, 2018. It sure looked like they’d end that skid after leading 5-2 in the fifth.

But the 106-win Dodgers staged another improbable comeback late, just like they’ve done so often this postseason.

They beat St. Louis in the NL wild-card game, then edged 107-win San Francisco in Game 5 of the NL Division Series on Bellinger’s tiebreaking single in the ninth inning. Last year, the Dodgers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Braves in the NLCS.

The Braves built their lead with a bunch of singles, pounding out 12 hits. Freddie Freeman broke out of his slump, going 3 for 4 with a walk and a run scored after he struck out seven times in eight at-bats in the first two games.

Houston 9, Boston 2

BOSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve hit a tying home run in the eighth inning and the Houston offense awakened with seven runs in the ninth on Tuesday night as the Astros came back to beat the Boston Red Sox 9-2, evening the AL Championship Series at two games apiece.

Six outs from falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and facing a Game 5 in Fenway Park — where Boston hadn’t lost all postseason — the defending AL champions instead guaranteed themselves at least one game back in Houston.

In a series that had been dominated by offense — especially Boston’s — the teams traded first-inning homers and then both pitching staffs put up six straight zeros on the Fenway scoreboard before Altuve’s leadoff shot in the eighth.

Carlos Correa doubled and scored the go-ahead run on Jason Castro’s two-out single in the ninth. But that was just the beginning for Houston, which had seen Boston bully its pitchers for 10 homers in the series, including a record-setting three grand slams that turned Games 2 and 3 into routs.

After Alex Bregman hit a solo homer into the Green Monster seats in the first, Xander Bogaerts topped it with a towering, two-run drive onto Lansdowne Street in the bottom half to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. 

Then, the pitchers took over: It was still 2-1 when Altuve led off the eighth with a homer against Garrett Whitlock.

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