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The Sports Report: Dodgers win Game 3

468193_SP_1006_dodgers_nats_nlds4_WJS.jpg
Max Muncy celebrates his solo home run.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

DODGERS

Russell Martin and Kiké Hernandez each delivered two-out, two-run, perhaps season-saving doubles off reliever Patrick Corbin to fuel a stunning seven-run inning and an eventual 10-4 Dodgers victory over the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS. The Dodgers lead the best-of-five series, 2-1.

We just had an inning where we just showed up and got it done,” David Freese, who had three hits in the game, said.

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Cody Bellinger was the first batter Corbin faced. The National League MVP candidate won the left-on-left battle with a single to right field for his first hit of the series and first of two hits in the inning on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Two batters later, Freese, who became the fourth player in postseason history with three hits in a game he didn’t start, smacked a pinch-hit single the other way against the shift. One batter later, Martin was in an 0-2 ditch.

In that moment, Martin said he remembered the details of a meeting about facing Corbin. They discussed how he avoids throwing strikes with men in scoring position. He attempts to entice hitters to chase bad pitches. With that on his mind, the veteran catcher laid off the next two pitches before Corbin fed him another slider. He swatted it into the left-center field gap to alter the course of the series.

“The more pitches I saw the more I felt comfortable,” Martin said. “And I had some pretty easy takes, got back in the count, and then he just left a breaking ball a little bit up.

Martin reached second base with a feet-first slide as the 36-year-old Freese raced around third. Several Dodgers hopped the dugout rail to imitate third base coach Dino Ebel waving Freese home. When he scored to give the Dodgers the lead, Martin unleashed a fist pump. He had been three for his previous 35 in the playoffs. He added a two-run home run in the ninth inning to begin his tenth career postseason.

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Corbin, staggered but an out away escaping, walked Chris Taylor to bring up Hernandez. He too fell behind 0-2 before smacking his double to left field.

Corbin’s outing ended after Max Muncy was intentionally walked with first base open. Wander Suero was summoned to face Justin Turner and the third baseman — after falling behind 0-2 — busted the game open by demolishing a misplaced fastball for a three-run home run.

“Offense is definitely contagious,” Turner said, “and I think we all caught it that inning.”

Read more Dodgers

Dylan Hernandez: Russell Martin the unlikely hero as he saves Dodgers from the brink of disaster

Dodgers use seven-run outburst to bury the Nationals and take control of the NLDS

Dodgers turn to Rich Hill as Game 4 starter, and ‘anything is possible’ beyond that

Patrick Corbin’s Game 3 performance could have marked turning point in NLDS

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NLDS schedule

All times Pacific

Game 1: at Dodgers 6, Washington 0

Game 2: Washington 4, at Dodgers 2

Game 3: Dodgers 10, at Washington 4

Game 4: Today at Washington, 3:30 p.m., TBS, AM 570

Game 5*: Wednesday at Dodgers, 5:30 p.m., TBS, AM 570

*-if necessary.

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St. Louis-Atlanta NLDS schedule

All times Pacific

Game 1: St. Louis 7, at Atlanta 6

Game 2: at Atlanta 3, St. Louis 0

Game 3: Atlanta 3, at St. Louis 1 (Read game story here)

Game 4: Today at St. Louis, noon, TBS

Game 5*: Wednesday at Atlanta, 2 p.m., TBS

*-if necessary

New York-Minnesota ALDS schedule

All times Pacific

Game 1: at New York 10, Minnesota 4

Game 2: at New York 8, Minnesota 2

Game 3: Tonight at Minnesota, 5:30 p.m., FS1

Game 4*: Tuesday at Minnesota, 5 p.m., FS1

Game 5*: Thursday at New York, TBD, FS1

*-if necessary

Houston-Tampa Bay ALDS schedule

Game 1: at Houston 6, Tampa Bay 2

Game 2: at Houston 3, Tampa Bay 1

Game 3: Today at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m., MLB Network

Game 4*: Tuesday at Tampa Bay, 1:15 p.m., FS1

Game 5*: Thursday at Houston, TBD, FS1

*-if necessary

CHARGERS

Philip Rivers looked nothing like the savvy veteran who passed for 1,254 yards and seven touchdowns in the first four games, finishing with a quarterback rating of 58.6, but it was a porous defense that put the Chargers in an early hole they could not escape in a 20-13 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

The Chargers yielded massive chunks of real estate on Denver’s first two possessions, big plays that allowed the Broncos to jump to a 14-0 lead with 4 minutes 58 seconds left in the first quarter.

The defense tightened up considerably from that point, yielding only two field goals — in the second and fourth quarters — and forcing two turnovers with a strip sack that led to a fumble recovery and an interception, but the damage was done early.

“We have to score when we get into the red zone, and we can’t let them score 14 points in the first 10 minutes,” defensive end Joey Bosa said. “They came out ready to play, and we didn’t match their energy in the first half. That’s something we have to change.”

“They went straight down the field and scored on our defense,” coach Anthony Lynn said of the first two Broncos drives, which netted 156 yards. “They played faster. They played harder.”

Linebacker Denzel Perryman said the first two possessions felt like getting punched in the mouth, and though the defense recovered, the Chargers were too far behind to pull out a victory.

“It’s never a good feeling when a team comes in and scores back to back on you,” Perryman said. “We picked it up in the second half, and that goes to show that when we actually play as a team and everyone does their job what we can look like. But we were flat in the first quarter, and I don’t have any answers for it.”

Read more Chargers

Sam Farmer: Chargers’ slow start may be familiar to Philip Rivers, but they need fast recovery

Anthony Lynn ‘sorry’ for Chargers’ disappointing loss to winless Broncos

Chargers’ Austin Ekeler fumbles another chance to score touchdown just before end zone

CLIPPERS

Patrick Beverley was dribbling through pregame warmups Sunday when his focus was interrupted by a voice he’d last heard nine years before, half a world away.

Beverley is a stoic figure before Clippers games, but upon seeing Shanghai Sharks assistant Manos Manouselis, the veteran guard stopped his dribble, walked behind a row of courtside seats and embraced the coach who says he’s not surprised at how far Beverley has come since their last meeting, in Greece.

They’d met in 2009, when Manouselis was an assistant with storied Greek club Olympiacos who needed to fill a roster spot. He went to Dnipro, Ukraine, to scout the local team’s American guard Devin Green, a former Laker, but left sold on Beverley’s tenacious defense. It reminded him of the “fighting spirit” he’d seen from Beverley while scouting the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championships.

“It was obvious, he was so energetic, that he was something special,” Manouselis said. “I told our coach, ‘This is the guy that we need.’ It was obvious he was going to play at a higher level.”

The Clippers went on to rout Shanghai, 127-87, in a preseason game of low stakes and little drama.

LAFC/GALAXY

If there was any doubt, LAFC officially stamped itself as the best team in MLS history Sunday. And Carlos Vela, its captain, became the league’s greatest scorer.

If you don’t believe me, you can look it up because with their 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids at Banc of California Stadium, Vela and LAFC completed their extensive season-long rewrite of the league record book.

With the victory LAFC finishes with 72 points, one more than the previous best. Its plus-48 goal differential is also best-ever while the three goals gave the team 85 for the season, equaling the MLS record.

And Vela, with his second hat trick of the season, broke the individual single-season mark with 34 goals.

Sunday was “Decision Day” in MLS, with all 12 games kicking off at the same time – 11 of them with invitations or positioning for the playoffs at stake. The Galaxy were among those who didn’t get the decision they wanted, with two goals by former LAFC forward Christian Ramirez leading the Houston Dynamo to a 4-2 win that cost them home-field advantage in the postseason.

The Galaxy (16-15-3, 51 points) will open the single-elimination playoffs at Minnesota United (15-11-8, 53 points) on Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m. By finishing with the league’s best record at 21-4-9 LAFC gets a first-round playoff bye and will open the postseason Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. It will also have home-field advantage throughout the tournament, including the MLS Cup final, should the team make it that far.

ANGELS

Joe Maddon is scheduled to interview with the Angels for their managerial opening this week, said a person on Sunday who is familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it.

Maddon’s name has been connected to the Angels since it became apparent two weeks ago that he was not remaining in Chicago to manage the Cubs beyond the 2019 season. The chances of Maddon becoming the Angels’ next manager grew exponentially when Brad Ausmus was fired the day after leading the team to a 90-loss season in his first year at the helm.

Maddon, who owns a home in Long Beach, is interested in the position and would be a natural fit for the job. The three-time manager of the year spent 31 years as an employee of the Angels. After playing for them in the minor leagues, he advanced from his post as a scout in 1980 to coaching in the major leagues in 1994. He was Mike Scioscia’s bench coach when the team won the 2002 World Series. He left in 2006 to manage the Tampa Bay Rays.

YOUR FAVORITE SPORTS MOMENT

What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com and tell me what it is and why and it could appear in a future daily sports newsletter or Morning Briefing.

This moment comes from Nancy Wolfe of Long Beach:

It was Jan. 1, 1976. My father had UCLA season tickets and was lucky enough to score two Rose Bowl tickets to see UCLA vs. Ohio State on New Year’s Day. It would be Woody Hayes’ final Rose Bowl appearance as coach of the Buckeyes and we were sitting among a UCLA football record crowd of 105,464 screaming fans.

I had attended many UCLA games at the Coliseum growing up and would attend many more at the Rose Bowl in the future, but this game was truly the most memorable. Kate Smith sang an unforgettable rendition of “God Bless America” at halftime, accompanied by the UCLA marching band. Two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin was leading the undefeated Buckeyes, but the gutty Bruins were keeping it close. With less than five minutes to play, UCLA’s quarterback, John Sciarra, handed the ball off to Wendell Tyler, who scampered 54 yards down the sideline to seal the 23-10 Bruin victory!

My father and I were jumping up and down and in a moment of pure joy, my dad gave me a huge bear hug! It was the only time in my life that my dad ever hugged me! Sad as that may seem, it became that one moment that defined our love and respect for each other and made the next 28 years even more special between us until his death in 2004.

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Dodgers at Washington, 3:30 p.m., TBS, AM 570

BORN ON THIS DATE

1857: Baseball player Moses Walker (d. 1924)

1868: Tennis player Fred Hovey (d. 1945)

1904: Baseball player Chuck Klein (d. 1958)

1934: NBA player Willie Naulls

1957: Ice dancer Jayne Torvill

1961: NFL coach Tony Sparano (d. 2018)

1971: USC/NFL player Johnnie Morton

1973: NFL player Priest Holmes

1985: Baseball player Evan Longoria

DIED ON THIS DATE

1925: Baseball player Christy Mathewson, 44

1991: Former Dodger manager Leo Durocher, 86

AND FINALLY

Torvill and Dean win the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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