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Recap: Dodgers lose to Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 in Game 2 of World Series

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Dodgers relief pitcher Dustin May reacts after giving up a home run to Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe.
Dodgers relief pitcher Dustin May reacts after giving up a home run to Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe in Game 2 of the World Series.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The series is tied 1-1.

The Dodgers’ four-game unbeaten streak in the postseason ended Wednesday in a 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 2 of the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

The series is tied 1-1 heading into Friday’s Game 3. Here is a recap of the game.

Dodgers fall behind early, drop Game 2 of the World Series to the Rays

Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger strikes out in the eighth inning against the Rays.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dodgers were brewing a familiar formula, one they’ve regularly used to win games since late July, in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

They had chased Tampa Bay Rays starter Blake Snell before the end of the fifth inning. Their pitching had kept them within striking distance. The final step was having their prolific offense deliver some late-inning punishment to steal a victory.

But the Rays are not like any of the previous teams the Dodgers have faced in 2020. The Rays are run-prevention specialists featuring a deep, versatile, velocity-happy bullpen. It’s the reason why Tampa Bay entered the night 34-0 when leading after the seventh inning in 2020.

On Wednesday, that bullpen was tested but didn’t fold as the streak improved to 35 straight wins in the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss at Globe Life Field. The result evened the series at one. Game 3 is scheduled for Friday at 5:08 p.m. PDT.

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Dodgers stay quiet in ninth; Rays even series

Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger strikes out in the eighth inning against the Rays in Game 2.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers were retired in order in the ninth inning. They lost 6-4, allowing the Rays to tie up the World Series at one game apiece.

The teams return to game action Friday.

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Dodgers have three more outs to close gap with Rays

Aaron Loup is back on the mound for the Rays. Edwin Ríos, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor are due up in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Dodgers trailing 6-4.

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Rays escape eighth with two-run lead intact

Justin Turner did not move from second base for the rest of the Dodgers’ half of the eighth inning. Pete Fairbanks retired the next two batters on hard-hit balls — he got lucky on the screaming liner hit by Will Smith; that ball had a 73% chance to become a hit — and Aaron Loup struck out Cody Bellinger upon entering.

The game remains 6-4 in the Rays’ favor.

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A fun stat on Corey Seager

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager hits a solo home run against the Rays in the eighth inning of Game 2.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Corey Seager’s torrid postseason has brought him here, to a wacky stat befitting these wacky playoffs.

Seager has hit six of his seven home runs this postseason since the Dodgers relocated to Globe Life Field for the NLDS. He had one at the ballpark during the regular-season.

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Corey Seager homers, sparks a Dodgers rally

It seems Corey Seager’s leadoff blast to center field didn’t kill a rally. It started one.

Two pitches later, Justin Turner legged out a double on a ball that dropped among three outfielders.

The Dodgers’ rally continues with Max Muncy at the plate.

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Dylan Floro goes from forgotten to integral Dodgers’ bullpen piece

Dodgers reliever Dylan Floro exits the game in the third inning of Game 2 of the World Series.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Dave Roberts had to have a difficult conversation at the start of the postseason with Dylan Floro. The right-handed reliever had a bounce-back regular season, posting a 2.59 ERA, 165 ERA+ (100 is average) and striking out 19 in 24⅓ innings.

However, he was one of the last cuts from the Dodgers’ wild-card-round roster, the best-of-three format prompting the team to carry only 13 pitchers.

“He was upset,” Roberts said at the time, “and he had every right to be upset.”

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Alex Wood pitches into and out of trouble

Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning of Game 2.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

If the Dodgers are to maintain hope of a comeback, they need their bullpen to shut the Rays down.

Alex Wood nearly did the opposite. He gave up a one-out single on a line drive to the wall in right field, retired the next batter then intentionally walked Randy Arozarena. He never threw a ball to the next hitter but it took six pitches to retire the batter on a foul tip.

The Dodgers continue to trail by three in the seventh.

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Will Smith’s homer cuts Dodgers’ deficit

Will Smith homered, slicing the Rays’ advantage to just three runs in the sixth.

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Rays add one run off Joe Kelly

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning in Game 2.
Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning of Game 2.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

The Rays manufactured a run after Ji-Man Choi stroked a single into right field to lead off the sixth inning, for which the Dodgers summoned Joe Kelly.

On a Manuel Margot single, Choi advanced to third base. One pitch later, he scored on a Joey Wendle sacrifice fly.

Kelly rebounded by striking out Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier.

Dodgers still trail 6-2.

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Umpires missed multiple strike calls during Dodgers rally

Rays starter Blake Snell wasn’t overreacting when he grimaced in response to the 0-1 changeup he threw to Chris Taylor that was called a ball in the fifth-inning that eventually ended in a home run.

Snell threw multiple pitches in the strike zone that plate umpire Todd Tichenor ruled were outside. Take a look:

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Justin Turner strands two in fifth inning

Tampa Bay's Manuel Margot slides in safe at third past Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner in the second inning of Game 2.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

A well-timed swing by Justin Turner could have tied the game for the Dodgers. But the veteran did not manager to make contact against Rays reliever Nick Anderson. He struck out in a 2-2 count on a fastball on the outer edge of the plate to end the Dodgers’ fifth-inning threat.

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Corey Seager continues Dodgers’ two-out rally

The Dodgers finally got to Blake Snell. After Chris Taylor’s homer, Mookie Betts drew a walk — the second one issued by Snell in the inning — and Corey Seager shot a groundball into right field.

Snell was lifted Nick Anderson. The right-hander has a 4.63 ERA in the playoffs but had a 0.55 ERA in the regular season.

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Chris Taylor homers to break up Snell’s no-hitter

Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor hits a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning of Game 2.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

Two pitches after not receiving a strike call on a low changeup that appeared to clip the bottom of the strike zone, Blake Snell tried to get Chris Taylor to chase a curveball. And Taylor did — only the result left the ballpark.

Taylor shot the pitch 398 feet to right field for a two-out, two-run homer. It cut the Dodgers’ deficit to 5-2.

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Dodgers rookie Dustin May surrenders two more runs

Dodgers pitcher Dustin May reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Tampa Bay's Brandon Lowe during the fifth inning.
Dodgers pitcher Dustin May reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe during the fifth inning.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

Dustin May gave up a two-run homer to the Rays’ Brandon Lowe in the fourth. The 381-foot blast to left field increased the Dodgers’ deficit to five runs.

May has not been able to shut down the Rays since taking over with two outs in the fourth. Joey Wendle slammed May’s hanging 93 mph cutter for a two-run double in the. Later, Lowe crushed a hanging curveball an inning later for his second homer of the night.

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Two more Snell strikeouts, still no hits for Dodgers

Blake Snell looks no less impressive after his perfect fourth inning. Although the frame elevated his pitch count by 19, he emerged no worse for the wear. He got back-to-back strikeouts of Max Muncy and Will Smith to head back to the dugout.

What the Rays left hander is doing against the Dodgers is special:

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Home away from home? Dodgers fans outnumber Rays fans at World Series

If it sounds like Dodger Stadium on your television set, it’s not just because the Dodgers, as the home team in the first two games of the World Series, get to control the soundtrack and display their videos on the stadium boards. It’s because Dodger fans have taken over Arlington, Texas.

Data compiled by Vivid Seats showed that supporters of the Dodgers outnumbered Rays fans two-to-one at Tuesday’s game. That seemed especially apparent when Kevin Kiermaier slugged a resonating solo home run off Clayton Kershaw in the fifth inning to halve the Dodgers’ lead in the team’s eventual victory, but received a tepid reception from the stands.

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Rays score two on Wendle double. 3-0 Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay's Joey Wendle hits a two-run double in the fourth inning against the Dodgers.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Unlike Dylan Floro and Victor González, Dustin May could not get to the end of an inning cleanly. With two outs, Manuel Margot beat the shift with a chopper the other way. Then, Joey Wendle drove in a couple with a double into the right-center field gap. That makes it 3-0 Rays going into the bottom of the fourth.

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Dustin May enters with two outs in the fourth

Dodgers pitcher Dustin May holds his head after giving up a two-run double to the Rays in the fourth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

ARLINGTON, Texas — It’s Dustin May’s turn to eat up some outs. After Victor González walked a batter in the fourth but still got to two outs. With two of the Rays’ next three batters being righties, the right-handed May will pitch for the third time in six days.

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Slider helping Blake Snell quell Dodgers

That’s six strikeouts through three innings for the Rays’ Blake Snell. He has tamed the Dodgers by veering from his typical pitch usage.

Instead of throwing a majority fastballs, he has thrown 13 sliders and seven curveballs among his 42 pitches. The slider has generated six. It only has been put in play twice but has yet to fall for a hit.

None of Snell’s pitches have gone for hits. He has limited the Dodgers to two walks since taking the mound with a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

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Victor González replaces Dylan Floro with two outs in the third

Dodgers relief pitcher Dylan Floro leaves the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dylan Floro did his job, preventing the inherited runner in the second inning from scoring and then getting two outs to begin the third. His night ended as the Rays turned their left-handed-heavy lineup back over. Southpaw Victor González was summoned from the bullpen to get the final out of the inning. Still 1-0 Rays.

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Kiké Hernández strikes out to end threat

Three pitches later, Kiké Hernández struck out on a high slider to end the Dodgers’ threat in the second inning.

Rays starter Blake Snell has thrown 30 pitches and punched out four in two innings.

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Dodgers draw two walks in second inning, threaten with one out

Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger draws a walk in the second inning of Game 2.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Blake Snell’s command has wavered. He issued a leadoff walk to Max Muncy (who has 17 walks this postseason), struck out Will Smith and threw four straight balls to Cody Bellinger to put runners on with one out.

AJ Pollock popped out in foul territory for the second out.

Kiké Hernández is at the plate. Stay tuned.

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The Dodgers throw out a runner at second too

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager tags out Rays baserunner Willy Adames at second base during the second inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

ARLINGTON, Texas — An at-bat after Manuel Margot was throw out at home, Willy Adames was caught trying to steal second. Originally ruled safe, a replay review showed that catcher Will Smith’s throw and shortstop Corey Seager’s tag were in time to end the inning.

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Dodgers throw out runner at the plate

Rays right fielder Manuel Margot is tagged out at home plate by Dodgers catcher Will Smith during the second inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dodgers take advantage of more questionable base-running from an opponent. In Dylan Floro’s first at-bat, with one out, Willy Adames hit a ground ball to short with the infield in. Manuel Margot, who was at third, ran home on contact but was easily thrown out by Corey Seager, keeping it 1-0 Rays in the second.

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Bullpen game begins. Gonsolin removed after 1 1/3 innings

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin delivers during the first inning of Game 2 of the World Series.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Tony Gonsolin exits the game with one out in the second, leaving a runner (Manuel Margot, who walked, stole second and advanced to third on a fly ball) at third for reliever Dylan Floro. Floro pitched last night, charged with two runs and two hits during a 15-pitch outing.

Still 1-0 Rays.

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Dodgers go quietly in first inning

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws during the first inning of Game 2 of the World Series.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

One of Blake Snell’s weaknesses this postseason has been an ability to throw the ball in the strike zone.

The Rays starter didn’t encounter that issue in his first inning against the Dodgers. He threw eight of 10 pitches for strikes — including one that Mookie Betts dived out of the zone to chase for a strikeout — while retiring the side in order.

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Meet Blake Snell, the Rays’ Game 2 starter

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell delivers against the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 17.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

A four-inning start in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series left a sour taste in the mouth of Blake Snell.

The Rays left-hander is two years removed from winning the Cy Young Award on the heels of a 2018 season in which he compiled an outstanding 1.89 ERA and struck out 221 batters. He isn’t one to appreciate early hooks.

So when manager Kevin Cash subbed him out in a crucial game the Rays wound up losing, Snell did not hide his disappointment.

Fortunately for him, he has another chance to pitch his team to victory and put the Rays on the map.

“Last year we were overlooked but this year it feels like a lot of people knew about us,” Snell said. “When we win the AL East, the ALCS, but these are the things we knew we were capable of. I just think a lot of people don’t talk about us. We don’t have the Trouts, the Betts, the Bellingers, the Kershaws, we don’t have that because the hype around Tampa isn’t as big as it is in LA.”

Like Game 1 starter Tyler Glasnow, Snell throws one of the hardest fastballs in the American League. The pitch, which he throws 50% of the time, averaged 95.1 mph. But Snell’s two breaking balls are what the Dodgers need to look out for. His slider held batters to a .033 average and generated whiffs on 49% of swings. The curveball produced a 62% whiff percentage and .132 average.

The Dodgers have at least one weapon with a deep understanding of Snell. Mookie Betts was 7 for 23 with three walks against Snell while the two shared the American League East division from 2016 to 2019. Betts whiffed at just 14% of Snell’s pitches. He struck out twice.

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Lowe opens the scoring with a homer. 1-0 Rays.

Tampa Bay's Brandon Lowe hits a solo home run in the first inning of Game 2.
Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe hits a solo home run in the first inning of Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Brandon Lowe entered the night mired in a six for 56 slump this postseason. But in his first at-bat, he lined a 3-and-1 fastball from Tony Gonsolin to left-center for a solo home run, making it 1-0 Rays.

In the regular season, Gonsolin only allowed two home runs in 46 2/3 innings. In this postseason? Three home runs in 7 seven innings.

Also, there’s this:

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What to know for Dodgers-Rays Game 2

First pitch: 5:08 p.m. PT

TV: FOX

Lineups:

Dodgers notes: Tony Gonsolin will start for the Dodgers on two day’s rest. The rookie right-hander was 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in the regular season but has allowed seven earned runs in 6 ⅓ innings between his two outings this postseason, both of which came in the NLCS … The Dodgers will try to take their first 2-0 lead in a World Series since 1988, when they defeated the Oakland A’s in five games for their most recent title. Of the 56 previous teams to lead a World Series 2-0, all but 11 went on to win … Mookie Betts will try to build off his dynamic Game 1 performance, when he became the first player in World Series history to hit a home run, steal two bases and score two runs in a game. Justin Turner enters having reached base safely in nine straight games this postseason.

Rays notes: The Rays put their trust in Blake Snell, a left-hander who recorded a 3.24 ERA in the regular season, lowest among Rays pitchers with more than five starts. Wednesday is Snell’s fifth start of these playoffs. He is 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA in the postseason … The Rays added a couple left-handers to their lineup, putting designated hitter Austin Meadows in the leadoff spot and first baseman Ji-Man Choi at first.

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Mookie Betts wreaks havoc with stolen bases in World Series opener

Dodgers baserunner Mookie Betts beats the tag of Rays catcher Mike Zunino to score a run.
Dodgers baserunner Mookie Betts beats the tag of Rays catcher Mike Zunino to score a run in the fifth inning of Game 1 of the World Series.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The last time the Dodgers won the World Series, it was the play before the play. Kirk Gibson was at the plate. Mike Davis, representing the tying run, stole second base.

“Now the Dodgers don’t need the muscle of Gibson,” Vin Scully said on national television, “as much as a base hit.”

A single would have tied the score, but Gibson muscled up anyway, with his legendary walk-off home run. But that was 1988, and this is 2020, when risk management in the front office has robbed baseball of some of its joy and artistry. Do not risk running into an out, do not try to steal, hit dingers.

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Clayton Kershaw flashes World Series form he showed before Astros cheated him

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers during the first inning of an 8-3 win.
Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers during the first inning of an 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Clayton Kershaw believed, and now he’s back.

He’s back to where he was three years ago, before the presumed theft of his signs and championship.

Kershaw dominated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series, just as he did the cheating Houston Astros in 2017. With an 8-3 victory, the Dodgers once again have a one-game-to-none advantage on their sport’s greatest stage.

Except this time, the assumption is that their opponents haven’t set up a sign-stealing apparatus. The Rays certainly didn’t hit as if they did on Tuesday night when they managed only a run and two hits in six innings against Kershaw.

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When it comes to big plays, Mookie Betts is selective in what he savors

ARLINGTON, Texas — There’s something telling about the plays Mookie Betts celebrates most.

He hardly flinches after most home runs, such as his sixth-inning blast in the Dodgers’ 8-3 win in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. He simply put his head down and calmly trotted around the bases, showing almost no emotion aside from a wave to his family.

But big plays on defense, or the base paths, or even those made by his teammates? That’s when Betts’ inner-competitor comes out. Those are the moments he seems to savor the most.

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Dodgers’ Game 1 dominance over Rays shows why they’ll win World Series

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 8-3 win over the Rays in Game 1 of the World Series.

Can a World Series be over after one game?

This one looks like it — Clayton Kershaw whipping off the sweat and gaining ground on his ghosts.

This one feels like it — Cody Bellinger sending another fastball dancing before celebrating with a dugout ballet.

This one sounds like it —Mookie Betts screeching around the bases and shrieking across home plate before screaming down at the dirt.

The first game of the World Series appeared to be the essential end of the World Series on Tuesday, the powerful Dodgers treating the puny Tampa Bay Rays like the junior varsity in an 8-3 win that raised but one question.

The Dodgers cannot blow this, can they?

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Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts lead a dominant Dodgers win to open the World Series

ARLINGTON, Texas — The reasons for the Dodgers’ cool, unfiltered confidence this October, the reasons they believe this is finally the year they’ll hoist that piece of metal, were on display in their 8-3 victory in Game 1 of the World Series at Globe Life Field on Tuesday.

Want dominant pitching? Clayton Kershaw held the Tampa Bay Rays to one run and two hits over six tidy innings. What about a power display? Cody Bellinger, sore shoulder and all, cracked a home run for the Series’ first two runs. Think dynamic baserunning is important? Mookie Betts, the Dodgers’ new table-setting weapon, wreaked havoc on the basepaths to ignite a four-run fifth inning before slugging his first home run off a left-hander as a Dodger the next inning.

The Dodgers blended those elements to take 1-0 series lead, three wins away from their first title since 1988, on the 32nd anniversary of the day that last championship was clinched. Game 2 is scheduled for 5:08 p.m. PDT on Wednesday.

“I think we are the best team,” Kershaw said. “And I think our clubhouse believes that.”

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Walk this way: Dodgers’ road to World Series title is littered with free passes

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager draws a walk in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The phrase is drummed into a baseball player’s head once he’s old enough to don a batting helmet and face a live pitcher: “A walk’s as good as a hit!”

Unless, of course, that hit is a home run. The Dodgers led all of baseball with 118 homers this season, their average of 1.97 long balls per game in a pandemic-shortened 60-game season the highest in major league history.

That power — AJ Pollock (16), Mookie Betts (16), Corey Seager (15), Cody Bellinger (12) and Max Muncy (12) reached double figures in homers — helped fuel the team’s major league-best 43-17 record and a third trip to the World Series in four years.

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Dodgers’ use of Julio Urías goes from abundance of caution to workhorse

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías delivers during Game 3 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers have removed the last layer of bubble wrap from left-hander Julio Urías, the pitching prodigy who was eased into the major leagues as a teenager in 2016 and stamped with a “fragile: handle-with-care” label for a solid year after returning from major shoulder surgery in 2018.

Urías threw a career-high 101 pitches over five innings of a 15-3 victory over Atlanta in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series last Wednesday and returned on three days’ rest to record the final nine outs — throwing 39 pitches — in Sunday night’s 4-3 Game 7 win over the Braves.

If this were 2019, the Dodgers would have given Urías, 24, at least three days and probably four days to recover from such a workload.

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