The Los Angeles Dodgers topped the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park in a duel worthy of their rivalry.
The final score, 2-1, reflects how close the two teams were all season long: San Francisco was the best regular season team with 107 victories, but Los Angeles was right behind with 106.
In the best-of-five National League Division Series, the matchup predictably needed the full five games to have a winner.
Thanks to a savvy pitching plan by Dave Roberts and the whole organization, and timely, run-scoring hits by Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers could overcome a fantastic Giants team that played like champions all year long.
And while some of the usual run producers such as Justin Turner, Trea Turner, Seager, and Chris Taylor didn’t have a particularly good series, one name stood above the rest and propelled his team to victory.
Mookie Betts, the $365 million dollar man, came to Los Angeles’ rescue again.
A Key Performer
Betts had some key plays during the series, including a home run, four RBI, and throwing out a runner at third base in Game 4.
But he saved the best for last: Game 5.
In a performance for the ages, Betts went 4-for-4 with a run scored.
That run was the one that broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth.
With one out, Betts singled to left field and stole second base against Buster Posey, no less.
He then raced home after Seager’s RBI double to finally put up a run against the extremely tough Logan Webb.
The game capped a fantastic series for Betts, who was the best player on the Dodgers side.
He slashed .450/.455/.600 with a homer, four RBI, a 1.055 OPS, and 12 total bases in the five games.
He also had a great showing against the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Game, going 2-for-4.
To The History Books
With Thursday night’s performance, Betts became the first Dodgers player with four hits in a winner-take-all game, showcasing his ability to impact a game with the bat.
Mookie Betts is the first Dodgers player with 4+ hits in a winner-take-all game
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 15, 2021
Betts is also the first player with four hits or more and at least a stolen base in a winner-take-all postseason game since George Brett in 1985.
Not that we needed proof that Betts is an elite player in MLB, but the Dodgers have seen how he can impact games in the batter’s box, on the field, with his arm, and even with his legs, like he did last night.
It was a truly inspiring performance, one that lifted the Dodgers and got them over the hump that were the marvelous Giants.
"We were down but we didn't give up…it was important to know we can win these one-run games." Mookie Betts shares the key takeaways from the #Dodgers NLDS victory over the Giants. pic.twitter.com/8obxa2fEF0
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 15, 2021
Now, Los Angeles will have to face the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, and it won’t be an easy matchup despite the fact that the Braves couldn’t even reach 90 victories.
But the Dodgers should remain the favorites to advance to the World Series, mainly because they employ the great Betts.