Yasiel Puig crushed a three-run shot in the top of the sixth and Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the second as the Dodgers won the pivotal Game 7 of the NLCS. Clayton Kershaw pitched the ninth inning for the Dodgers.
Game 1: at Brewers 6, Dodgers 5
Game 2: Dodgers 4, at Brewers 3
Game 3: Brewers 4, at Dodgers 0
Game 4: at Dodgers 2, Brewers 1 (13)
Game 5: at Dodgers 5, Brewers 2
Game 6: at Brewers 7, Dodgers 2
Game 7: Dodgers 5, at Brewers 1
Watch the Dodgers celebrate their return to the World Series
The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate in the clubhouse after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 in Game 7 of the 2018 National League Championship Series.
Dodgers don’t score in top of ninth
TOP OF NINTH: Puig singled to third. Taylor doubled to left, Puig stopping at third. With the infield in, Barnes grounded to short. Matt Kemp hit for Jansen and was walked intentionally. Hernandez struck out looking. Muncy struck out swinging. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1
Dodgers win, 5-1, to advance to World Series
MILWAUKEE — The 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers have spent nearly seven months tormenting themselves and their fans, operating as if a pennant were their birthright. They tantalized with their talent and tortured with their results. They lost games when they shouldn’t have, but won every game that needed to be won. They required 163 games to win the division. If the commissioner’s office at Major League Baseball would have allowed it, the Dodgers would have taken the National League Championship Series to Game 8.
The route back to the World Series may have been circuitous, a journey of fits and starts and lineup alterations, but the destination remains as sweet. Because for the second season in a row, the Dodgers will reign as champions of the National League, downing the Milwaukee Brewers with a 5-1 victory in Game 7 of the NLCS. The Dodgers operated in this series as they have all season: They played themselves into a corner, and then muscled their way out.
The emotion and elation of this trek manifested in the persona of one man, Yasiel Puig, as he rounded the bases in Saturday’s sixth inning. He had just launched a three-run homer to break the tension of the early going. Upon contact, Puig flipped his bat. As he rounded first base, he turned to his dugout and chopped at his crotch. At third, he thumped his chest. After touching the plate, certifying his blast in Dodgers history, he wagged his tongue and accepted the adulation of his teammates.
The mob included all the stars from Saturday: Cody Bellinger, who provided a lead with a second-inning home run. Walker Buehler, who struck out seven during 4 2/3 innings and protected the advantage bequeathed to him. Chris Taylor, who stole a game-tying, extra-base hit from Brewers All-Star Chris Taylor in the fifth. The rest of the contributors resided in the relief corps, who silenced Milwaukee’s offense all series. Clayton Kershaw loped in from the bullpen to finish the ninth.
In the midst of the sixth-inning throng, manager Dave Roberts left the dugout’s top step to embrace Puig. The manager has emerged as the avatar for this club, the source of frustration for fans who have not embraced the Dodgers’ organizational philosophy emphasizing depth, versatility and sacrifice. The culture survived the frights of the regular season. The culture has carried the club through October.
This group has become the first Dodgers team since the 1977-1978 editions to win back-to-back pennants. The team aims to secure its first championship since 1988 when the World Series begins against Boston on Tuesday at Fenway Park. They enter the series in unfamiliar, but perhaps welcome territory. Against the 108-win Red Sox, who just steamrolled the defending champion Astros in the American League Championship Series, the Dodgers will be considered the underdogs.
It is a mantle they avoided all season. One day in September, Kenley Jansen fell into conversation with fellow reliever Ryan Madson, a veteran of championship teams in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Jansen mentioned how easy it was to find motivation for crucial series against contenders like Arizona and Colorado later in the season, when the division was at stake. Earlier in the season, the team had produced the same energy.
“Welcome to the hangover,” Madson told Jansen.
The cloud of the Game 7 loss to Houston to end 2017 still hovered over this club as 2018 began. When general manager Farhan Zaidi visited the Dodger Stadium weight room in the winter, his route carried him past a pallet of champagne, meant to be sprayed after Game 7 against Houston, left to ferment when the team lost. Roberts sought advice from owner Peter Guber, who also owns a portion of the Golden State Warriors, for how coach Steve Kerr revived his team after losing the NBA Finals in 2016.
The players twisted between reliving the frenzy of the World Series and placing it in their rear-view mirror. The regular season started with a slump. Turner missed 40 games with a broken wrist. Corey Seager underwent season-ending elbow surgery. Jansen struggled to recapture his fastball velocity. The team was 16-26 on May 16. Even after taking flight in the summer, the team still trailed in the division by 4 1/2 games on Aug. 22. After tying Colorado on the final weekend of the season, Buehler trounced the Rockies in the Oct. 1 tiebreaker at Dodger Stadium.
The playoffs featured four games against Atlanta, and then seven with Milwaukee. The Brewers rode their bullpen into the postseason, and they subjected their relievers to heavy usage against the Dodgers. The moments to strike were early, when their starters were still in the game.
Yet the Brewers landed the first blow on Saturday. It came off the bat of Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich. Buehler pumped a 98-mph fastball down the middle. Yelich roped the baseball into the right-center gap. Puig leapt at the wall, with his glove scraping the surface as the ball disappeared from sight on the solo homer.
Bellinger answered in the second. He was preceded by Manny Machado, who had been serenaded with jeers the night before. The crowd repeated the treatment as Machado arrived for his first at-bat of Game 7. Machado quieted the noise by dropping a bunt single on a 3-2 slider from Chacin. The hit prompted a response from Miller Park.
“You still suck!” the fans chanted. “You still suck!”
Bellinger wiped out that sentiment. He destroyed a 90-mph fastball from Chacin. The ball landed in the second deck of right field and gave the Dodgers a lead. Puig followed up with a double, but the Dodgers left him stranded on second base, with Josh Hader loosening up in the bullpen as Chacin waded through the bottom of the order.
Hader replaced Chacin for the third. He struck out two in a spotless inning. Buehler responded with his first 1-2-3 inning, then waded through a self-inflicted jam in the fourth. The trouble started when Brewers infielder Travis Shaw doubled off the right-field wall. Buehler came back to strike out first baseman Jesus Aguilar with a curveball and end the inning by whiffing catcher Erik Kratz with 98-mph heat.
Buehler could not make it through the fifth. He permitted a two-out double to outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Roberts made his move. He went with Julio Urias, who had appeared in only thee regular-season games, against Yelich, the likely National League MVP. Yelich smashed a 94-mph fastball into the left-center gap.
Sprinting toward the warning track was Chris Taylor. He had started the game at second base, then shifted into left field when Enrique Hernandez batted for Joc Pederson. Taylor weaved a path beneath the baseball’s flight and flung his glove in the air. He ripped the ball out of the sky and skidded across the dirt, the third out in his possession.
The offense awoke after Taylor’s save. The sixth inning began with singles from Max Muncy and Turner. Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress collected a pair of outs before Puig arrived. Jeffress tempted Puig with a curveball. Puig laced it beyond Cain’s reach in center field.
As Puig rounded the bases, a season’s worth of joy poured out of the Dodgers. After 163 regular season games, four with Atlanta and seven with Milwaukee, the team was headed back to where they felt they belonged from the beginning.
The World Series.
Dodgers are three outs away from advancing to World Series
BOTTOM OF EIGHTH: Cain grounded to the pitcher. Yelich struck out swinging. Braun strikes out swinging. Clayton Kershaw is warming up in the bullpen. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1.
Dodgers go down swinging in top of eighth
TOP OF EIGHTH: Brandon Woodruff pitching. Turner strikes out swinging. Machado strikes out swinging. Bellinger struck out swinging. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1
Dodgers turn to Kenley Jansen to slow Brewers in the seventh
BOTTOM OF SEVENTH: Moustakas struck out swinging. Kratz grounded to short. Arcia singled to right. And, here’s a surprise, Kenley Jansen is coming into the game. He’ll probably finish this inning and pitch the eighth and give way to Clayton Kershaw. Curtis Granderson, batting for Knebel, struck out swinging. That’s the Curtis Granderson that Dodgers fans remember and love. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1.
It’s 5-1 Dodgers after top of seventh
TOP OF SEVENTH: Madson struck out looking. Hernandez singled to second. Corey Knebel is coming in to pitch for the Brewers. Hernandez was caught stealing. Muncy struck out swinging. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1.
Dodgers take 5-1 lead on Puig’s homer
TOP OF SIXTH: Xavier Cedeno pitching. Muncy singled to left. And that brings Jeremy Jeffress in the game to pitch to Turner, who singled to left, Muncy stopping at second. Machado flied to right. Bellinger grounded to second, forcing Turner, Muncy to third. Bellinger hustled down the line to just avoid the double play. Puig HOMERS TO CENTER! Dodgers lead, 5-1. Taylor walks. Barnes struck out looking. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1.
Hey LeBron, pick a team
Chris Taylor’s incredible catch keeps Brewers from tying score
BOTTOM OF FIFTH: Arcia grounded to third. Domingo Santana, batting for Hader, struck out looking. Cain doubled to left. With left-hander Yelich at the plate, the Dodgers remove Buehler and counter with left-hander Julio Urias. Yelich lined to left, with Chris Taylor making one of the most incredible catches you will ever see. DODGERS 2, BREWERS 1.
Dodgers strand runner on second in top of fifth
TOP OF FIFTH: Taylor walked. Barnes struck out swinging. Buehler sacrificed Taylor to second. Hernandez struck out swinging. DODGERS 2, BREWERS 1.
Dodgers still lead, 2-1, after top of fourth
TOP OF FOURTH: Machado singled to center. Bellinger grounded to second, forcing Machado. Puig grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. DODGERS 2, BREWERS 1
Dodgers don’t score in top of third
TOP OF THIRD: Josh Hader now pitching. Kiké Hernandez, batting for Pederson, struck out swinging. Muncy struck out swinging. Turner lined to left. DODGERS 2, BREWERS 1.
Bellinger’s blast puts Dodgers on top, 2-1
TOP OF SECOND: Manny Machado singled on a bunt to third. Cody Bellinger HOMERED TO RIGHT, scoring Machado. 2-1 Dodgers. Yasiel Puig doubled to right. Puig gave a crotch chop after stopping at second. The crowd hated it. Chris Taylor grounded to short. Austin Barnes flied to center. Walker Buehler popped to second. DODGERS 2, BREWERS 1
Brewers take 1-0 lead on Yelich’s home run
BOTTOM OF FIRST: Lorenzo Cain struck out looking. Christian Yelich homered to center. Ryan Braun grounded to third. Travis Shaw struck out swinging. BREWERS 1, DODGERS 0
Dodgers don’t score in top of first
NLCS Game 7. Dodgers vs. Brewers. Walker Buehler vs. Jhoulys Chacin. Win or go home. Pull up a chai and spend some time with us.
TOP OF FIRST: Joc Pederson grounded to second. Max Muncy walked. Justin Turner grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. DODGERS 0, BREWERS 0.
Dave Roberts discusses using Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw to pitch in Game 7
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts discusses the plan to use Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw to pitch in Game 7 on the National League Championship Series.
LeBron James shows his support for the Dodgers
Watch Dave Roberts talk about Walker Buehler
Tommy Lasorda is ready for Game 7
Dave Roberts on catcher Austin Barnes’ postseason play
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts talks about the perfomance of Austin Barnes in the playoffs.
Hulkamania is runnin’ wild at Game 7
I have a feeling that this isn’t the real Hulk Hogan.
Manny Machado seems ready for Game 7
Hall of Famer Robin Yount has pregame jitters
Kenley Jansen on going from 10 games under .500 to one win from the World Series
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen talks about the journey the team has taken from 10 games under .500 to one win away from the World Series.
Clayton Kershaw will probably pitch at some point tonight
Father and son, ready for the game
And now, the starting lineup for your Los Angeles Dodgers
Here’s the Brewers’ Game 7 starting lineup
Brewers take 7-2 lead heading to the ninth
BOTTOM OF EIGHTH: Cain singled to left-center. That’s it for Maeda. Rich Hill is now in the game. Yelich walked. Braun struck out swinging. Perez grounded to short, forcing Yelich at second. Aguilar singled to right, scoring Cain. Moustakas grounded to second. BREWERS 7, DODGERS 2.
Dodgers lose to Brewers, 7-2
In the middle of the 8th inning on Friday, as the fans at Miller Park brayed invective at Manny Machado and flapped yellow towels to celebrate an impending 7-2 Brewers victory in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, an act occurred which could cost the Dodgers the pennant: A reliever sat down.
A night off for a relief pitcher rarely has long-ranging consequences. But Josh Hader, Milwaukee’s left-handed All-Star, is far from an ordinary reliever. He is a multi-inning demon, a pitcher who had logged three innings in Game 1, made a pair of scoreless appearances afterward and nearly struck out half the Dodgers he faced in the process.
When the Dodgers failed to stress reliever Corbin Burnes in the eighth, Hader ceased warming up. Granted three days of rest, his number will be called on Saturday, in Game 7 at Miller Park. Dumped into a first-inning hole by Hyun-Jin Ryu on Friday, the Dodgers could not stress the Milwaukee pitching staff enough to force Hader into the game. They could pay the price for their feeble hitting.
Brewers increase lead to 6-2
BOTTOM OF SEVENTH: Grandal catching. Kenta Maeda pitching. Aguilar doubled to deep right. It was an 11-pitch at-bat and Aguilar just hung in there. Dodgers challenged the ruling at second and the umpires ruled him safe. He looked out, though. Moustakas was walked intentionally. Curtis Granderson, batting for Kratz, struck out swinging. That’s the Curtis Granderson we remember and love. Arcia grounded to the pitcher, with the runners moving up to second and third. Domingo Santana, batting for Jeffress, was at the plate when Maeda threw a wild pitch that allowed Aguilar to score. Santana then struck out swinging.
Dodgers go down quietly in eighth
TOP OF EIGHTH: Manny Pina catching. Corbin Burnes pitching. Turner flied to right. Machado grounded to short. Bellinger flied to center. BREWERS 6, DODGERS 2
Dodgers don’t score in top of seventh
TOP OF SEVENTH: Jeremy Jeffress pitching. Dozier fouled to the catcher. Yasmani Grandal, batting for Ferguson, flied to left. Muncy struck out swinging.
Still Brewers 5, Dodgers 2 after five innings
BOTTOM OF FIFTH: Muncy to first base. Dozier to second. Freese, who has driven in both Dodger runs, out of the game. Alex Wood now pitching. Shaw walked. Aguilar struck out swinging. Moustakas struck out swinging. Kratz was hit by a pitch. Arcia was walked intentionally to load the bases for the pitcher, Knebel. Knebel struck out swinging. BREWERS 5, DODGERS 2.
Dodgers don’t score in top of sixth
TOP OF SIXTH: Bellinger grounded to first. Joc Pederson, batting for Taylor, was hit by a pitch. He was hit in the right wrist, and you could already see the bruise developing on TV. Puig flied to center. Barnes struck out swinging. BREWERS 5, DODGERS 2.
Dodgers close within 5-2 in top of fifth
TOP OF FIFTH: Barnes grounded to short. Brian Dozier, batting for Urias, walked. Freese doubled to center, Dozier scoring. Muncy walked, and that’s it for Miley. Corey Knebel is coming in to the game. Turner flied to center. Machado struck out swinging. BREWERS 5, DODGERS 2.
Dodgers don’t score in top of fourth
TOP OF FOURTH: Bellinger struck out. Taylor flied to left. Puig lined to center. BREWERS 5, DODGERS 1.
Brewers finally stay off the scoreboard
BOTTOM OF THIRD: Kratz grounded to third. Arcia flied to left. Miley struck out swinging. BREWERS 5, DODGERS 1
Dodgers go down in order in top of third
TOP OF THIRD: Muncy lined to left. Turner struck out swinging. Machado popped to short. BREWERS 5, DODGERS 1.
Brewers score again, take 5-1 lead after two innings
BOTTOM OF SECOND: Cain flied to right. Yelich doubled to right center. Braun doubled to deep right-center, scoring Yelich. I can’t believe they are leaving Ryu in the game. Shaw grounded to short, Braun to third. Aguilar was walked intentionally. Moustakas struck out swinging. BREWERS 5, DODGERS 1
Dodgers strand two in top of second, trail 4-1
TOP OF SECOND: Chris Taylor singled to center. Yasiel Puig flied to center. Barnes struck out swinging. Hyun-Jin Ryu singled to right, Taylor taking third. Freese fouled to first. BREWERS 4, DODGERS 1.
Brewers strike back and take 4-1 lead after one inning
BOTTOM OF FIRST: Lorenzo Cain singled to second. Christian Yelich grounded to third, Cain to second. Ryan Braun walked. Travis Shaw struck out swinging. Jesus Aguilar doubled to right, Cain and Braun scoring. Moustakas doubled to right, Aguilar scoring. Erik Kratz singled to right, Moustakas scoring. The wheels are coming off quickly. Arcia singled to left, Kratz to second. Wade Miley flied to center. BREWERS 4, DODGERS 1.
Dodgers take 1-0 lead on David Freese’s leadoff homer
NLCS Game 6. Dodgers vs. Brewers. Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Wade Miley. Pull up a chair and spend some time with us.
TOP OF FIRST: David Freese homered to right-center. Max Muncy grounded to third. Justin Turner singled to center. Manny Machado struck out swinging. Cody Bellinger hit a grounder up the middle. Third baseman Mike Moustakas, swung over to the right side of the infield as part of the shift, made a diving grab and threw him out. Great play by Moustakas. DODGERS 1, BREWERS 0.
Dave Roberts on why Enrique Hernández is not in the NLCS Game 6 lineup
Dodgers unveil their Game 6 starting lineup (Spoiler: David Freese is batting leadoff)
Here is the Brewers’ Game 6 starting lineup
Dodgers’ Max Muncy finds his swing against Brewers’ unpredictable bullpen
Max Muncy stood at the plate one botched swing away from what would have been his third strikeout of the game. But this time, he knew what to do.
And the award for best supporting actor in a walk-on role goes to ... Brewers pitcher Wade Miley
The Milwaukee Brewers gave Wade Miley a mission a couple days ago and told him to keep it secret. He would start Wednesday’s game, but only in a cameo role. He could tell only a very few people within his circle of trust. He could not even tell all of his teammates.
Dodgers’ talent level always had World Series expectations despite the lows of their season
In retrospect, it’s curious the Dodgers were ever in the position they found themselves last month. The reasons they were in danger of missing the postseason remain a mystery, something worth looking into over this winter to ensure they don’t underperform to that degree again.
But today, after riding their deep talent advantage to a 3-2 lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers are a win away from where many thought they would be — back in the World Series.
1988 or 2018? Dodgers gave us a throwback to an old-school style of play in their Game 5 victory
It was old school. It was throwback. It was lovely.
Clayton Kershaw delivers a solid performance in the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over Brewers in Game 5 of NLCS
The opposing starter had departed after facing only one batter, but there Clayton Kershaw stood, on the mound in the center of Dodger Stadium, a living, breathing anachronism for seven innings in an 5-2 victory in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. The starting pitcher may be going the way of the dodo, but Kershaw is still holding firm, even as his fastball dims and his mileage increases. He is not ready for extinction.
Dodgers win, 5-2 to take 3-2 NLCS lead
TOP OF NINTH: Caleb Ferguson pitching. Yelich grounded to first. Ryan Madson comes in to pitch to Braun, who grounded to short. Aguilar doubled to center. Curtis Granderson, batting for the pitcher, doubled to right, scoring Aguilar. That brings Kenley Jansen into the game. Moustakas struck out swinging. Dodgers win, 5-2.
Dodgers lead 5-1 after eight innings
BOTTOM OF EIGHTH: Perez at shortstop, Shaw at second. Zach Davies pitching. Taylor popped to second. Puig doubled to center. While Barnes struck out swinging, Puig stole third. Matt Kemp, batting for Baez, grounded to short. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1.
Dodgers lead, 5-1, after top of eighth
TOP OF EIGHTH: Dozier to second base. Taylor to left field. Pedro Baez pitching. Shaw lined to center. Domingo Santana, batting for Cedeno, struck out swinging. Cain lined to center. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1.
Dodgers score twice in seventh, take 5-1 lead
BOTTOM OF SEVENTH: Joakim Soria pitching. Barnes struck out swinging. Kershaw walked. Bellinger doubled to center, Kershaw to third. Turner singled to center, Kershaw scoring, Bellinger stopping at third with Turner taking second when Cain threw home. That’s it for Soria. Xavier Cedeno pitching. Brian Dozier, batting for Pederson, hit a slow roller to third, scoring Bellinger. Dozier out at first, Turner to third. Machado was walked intentionally. Muncy struck out swinging. DODGERS 5, BREWERS 1.
Clayton Kershaw’s line for the day
Kershaw’s final line: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1 HR. 98 pitches, 69 for strikes. Pedro Baez comes into the game to start the eighth with the Dodgers leading, 5-1.
Kershaw continues to mow down the Brewers
TOP OF SEVENTH: Puig to right field. Bellinger to center. Taylor to second. Kershaw still pitching. Perez struck out swinging. Moustakas grounded to first. Kratz grounded to short. Great game by Kershaw. DODGERS 3, BREWERS 1
Brewers don’t score in top of sixth
TOP OF SIXTH: Yelich flied to center. Braun grounded to the pitcher. Aguilar struck out swinging. Through six innings, Kershaw has given up three hits, two walks, one run and struck out eight on 88 pitches. DODGERS 1, BREWERS 1.
Brewers go down in order in top of fifth
TOP OF FIFTH: Arcia struck out swinging. Woodruff struck out swinging. Cain flied to center. BREWERS 1, DODGERS 0
Brewers don’t score in top of fourth
TOP OF FOURTH: OK, a lot of defensive changes. Joc Pederson in the game to left field. Taylor moves to center