ARLINGTON, Texas — Cody Bellinger’s solo home run helped the Los Angeles Dodgers complete a series comeback and earn their third trip to the World Series in four seasons.
The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in a tense, back-and-forth Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night. Los Angeles overcame a 3-1 series deficit by sweeping the final three games of the best-of-seven series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Bellinger’s home run to deep right field off Chris Martin snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning and sent the Dodgers to their 21st World Series and the 12th since the franchise relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958.
Los Angeles, which last won the World Series in 1988, will face the Tampa Bay Rays, who clinched a berth in the Fall Classic for the second time in franchise history with a 4-2 victory against the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
The World Series, also a best-of-seven matchup, will begin Tuesday at Globe Life Field. It will be the first World Series to be played at a neutral site.
Sunday night’s game made postseason history in the first inning, as it marked the first time a winner-take-all playoff game had two rookie starting pitchers. Ian Anderson took the mound for the Braves, while May started for the Dodgers.
Marcell Ozuna put the Braves on top early in the first inning with an RBI single off May, scoring Ronald Acuna Jr., who opened the game with a walk and stole second.
Dansby Swanson gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the second with a solo homer, his third round-tripper of the postseason and first in the NLCS.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith tied the game with a two-out single to right-center field in the bottom of the third, but Austin Riley’s RBI single in the fourth inning gave Atlanta a 3-2 lead.
However, the Braves ran themselves out of a big inning as the Dodgers turned an unusual double play. With runners on second and third and nobody out in the fourth, Nick Markakis grounded sharply to Justin Turner at third. Swanson broke for the plate and was tagged out in a rundown by Turner, who threw to third to catch Riley, who had hesitated before attempting to reach third base. Cristian Pache then grounded out to end the threat.
That allowed the Dodgers to tie the game in the sixth inning when Kiké Hernandez hit a pinch-hit home run. They went ahead for the first time in the seventh inning when Bellinger crushed a solo home run, his third of the postseason, to give Los Angeles a 4-3 lead.