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Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias reacts during the second inning of Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/John Hefti)
SAN FRANCISCO — Julio Urías shut down San Francisco and contributed an RBI single for his cause, Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollock delivered two-run doubles to blow it open in the sixth, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pounded the Giants 9-2 on Saturday night to even their NL Division Series at one game apiece.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts declared earlier in the day, “We’re going to play this game essentially like a do or die,” and the reigning World Series champions did just that by continuing to add on, including Will Smith’s leadoff homer in the eighth.
Now, NL West runner-up Los Angeles — second place despite 106 wins — is right back in it and headed home to Chavez Ravine with a chance to ride some momentum.
The best-of-five series shifts to Dodger Stadium for Game 3 on Monday night all square, hardly a surprise considering how close these clubs played for months.
“It’s great to win one on the road,” Dodgers star Mookie Betts said. “Julio pitched a great game. Any type of atmosphere like this, he’s going to come ready to pitch.”
Urías hit an RBI single in the second to give Los Angeles the lead, and Betts followed with a run-scoring single.
And those “Let’s go, Giants!” chants were suddenly competing against the fired-up Los Angeles faithful’s “Let’s go, Dodgers!” in a boisterous, largely orange sellout crowd of 42,275.
San Francisco answered right back in the bottom half when Urías walked Wilmer Flores leading off and gave up Brandon Crawford’s single. Flores advanced on Evan Longoria’s deep flyball to center and scored on a sacrifice fly by Donovan Solano.
Urías hardly looked rattled.
Leading up to his start, the 25-year-old lefty stressed how facing these Giants would take an immense focus — and the 20-game winner sure looked the part from first pitch in outdueling Giants All-Star right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Urías went unbeaten over his final 17 regular-season starts since June 21, going 11-0 during that stretch that included a Sept. 4 victory here at raucous Oracle Park. He struck out five and walked one over five innings Saturday, giving up one run on three hits.
Trea Turner doubled leading off the sixth, and after Justin Turner struck out, Smith walked to chase Gausman after 5 1/3 innings in which he struck out seven and walked three.
Trea Turner also contributed two stellar defensive plays at second base, while Betts thwarted a potential Giants rally in the sixth with a perfect throw from right field to catch Wilmer Flores at third.
Buster Posey’s sixth-inning single gave him 54 career playoff hits, most in Giants postseason history.
“Obviously looking forward to turning the page on tonight’s game and getting ready for Los Angeles,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It wasn’t our best effort tonight. Dodgers just swung the bats better than us, made more pitches than us, made more plays than us.
“So as we’ve done all season long, we’ll turn the page and get ready for an off day, an off day of preparation and get ready for Game 3.”
BRAVES 3, BREWERS 0
MILWAUKEE — Max Fried says his strategy in pressure situations is to avoid making too much of the moment.
The approach that worked so well for the Atlanta Braves left-hander in the regular season also is paying dividends in the playoffs.
Fried pitched six sharp innings and Atlanta’s bullpen held on after manager Brian Snitker’s quick hook, sending the Braves over the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 Saturday to tie their NL Division Series at a game apiece.
The best-of-five series heads to Atlanta for Game 3 on Monday.
“He was phenomenal — all you could ask for,” said Atlanta’s Austin Riley, who homered in the sixth inning. “He came out, pounded the zone. He’s been doing that since the All-Star break.”
Fried struck out nine, gave up three hits and didn’t walk anybody. The Brewers didn’t get a runner in scoring position until Willy Adames hit a two-out double in the sixth, and Fried responded by striking out Eduardo Escobar.
“He’s just a really good pitcher, executing a lot of pitches,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It spells a tough night for the offense.”
Fried went 7-0 with a 1.46 ERA over his last 11 regular-season starts while pitching his best down the stretch.
Fried delivered again Saturday as the Braves bounced back from a 2-1 loss in Game 1.
Four Atlanta pitchers struck out 14 and combined on a six-hitter.
The Braves pulled ahead for good with two runs in the third off Brandon Woodruff. They were inches away from getting a third run in that inning.
Soler hit a one-out double down the left-field line and scored on Freddie Freeman’s single. Albies drove in Freeman with an RBI double that went off the yellow at the top of the right-field wall.
Woodruff struck out seven while allowing three runs, five hits and one walk in six innings. The All-Star right-hander had the worst run support of any major league starting pitcher during the regular season, which explains why he went 9-10 despite owning a sparkling 2.56 ERA.
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