After battling back from their three-games-to-one deficit, the Dodgers found themselves in a 3-2 hole on the scoreboard early in Game 7.
Going with a bullpen game opened by Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, the Dodgers gave up runs in the first and second, answered with a two-run single by Smith in the third, but then fell behind again in the fourth on an RBI single by Riley.
The Braves still had runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth after a wild pitch, threatening to potentially blow open the game — and blow up the Dodgers’ season.
Defense, however, saved the day.
First came a defining moment from Turner at third base. After Nick Markakis hit a hard ground ball at him, Turner threw home to get Swanson, the Braves’ lead baserunner, caught in a run down along the third-base line. When the ball came back to Turner near the bag, he dove Superman-style to tag out Swanson before alertly popping up to a knee and throwing out Riley as he tried to slide into third on the backside play.
There were more heroics in the field the next inning, when Betts robbed a surefire home run off Freeman’s bat to keep the Dodgers’ deficit at one.
That set the stage for the Dodgers’ late-game comeback. Hernandez clobbered a game-tying solo home run to left leading off the sixth. Bellinger sent what proved to be the game-winning blast sailing into the right field seats with two outs in the seventh.
And just as he would do in the World Series a week later, Urías finished off the 4-3 NLCS-clinching win with a multi-inning outing out of the bullpen, completing a stunning comeback — both in Game 7, and in the series — that propelled the Dodgers toward their first title in 32 years.
“The World Series was the World Series and you still got to win four games and to not take that lightly at all, but that NLCS and coming back from that 3-1 deficit was everything,” Roberts said this week. “And that Game 7 was just as important, if not bigger, than Game 6 in the World Series.”