Cody Bellinger watched as Andre Ethier used batting practice to take the ball the other way and as Logan Forsythe used it to
find the gaps.
The concept was foreign to Bellinger, who’s always used his batting practice to get lift on the ball, enjoying sending
moonshots over the fence. But mired in an 0-for-11 slump with seven strikeouts the first three games of the World Series, the
record-setting rookie felt it was time for an adjustment.
He decided to hit every ball of batting practice toward the left side of the infield, a move he’d never done before but would
pay dividends later in the night as the Dodgers tied the World Series with a 6–2 Game 4 win against the Astros, sparked by
Bellinger and a five-run ninth inning.
“I think it’s one of those things where he’s just got that calmness about him,” said manager Dave Roberts. “When things speed
up, he has a way of sort of resetting and not letting it spiral.”
For nearly two-thirds of the night, neither team could get anything across against starters Charlie Morton and Alex Wood.
Through five innings, Morton had faced the minimum and Wood hadn’t allowed a hit, becoming the first Dodger to start a World
Series game with five no-hit innings.
When Wood recorded the first two outs of the sixth inning, he faced George Springer, who represented the start of Houston’s
third time through the lineup. The Astros’ first hit of the night would also be their first run, as Springer broke a scoreless
game with a home run to left field.
To that point, the Dodger offense had no answers. Then Bellinger, after a fly out and a strikeout to start Game 4, broke out.
After his teammates had noticed him “pulling off everything,” he used his new tactic to help revive an offense in need of a
Bellinger snapped out of an 0-for-13 drought with a double to the left-center field gap in the seventh inning. Upon reaching
second base, he put both hands toward the sky. He hoped the ball would keep fading toward the unique gap at Minute Maid Park,
where the wall suddenly jets out.
It found the sweet spot.
“I don’t even know what I did,” Bellinger said of his action upon reaching second base. “Had a super sigh of relief, that’s for
Two batters later, Forsythe delivered a two-out RBI single to bring him in and tie the game. To go along with a couple nifty
defensive plays early in the night, after Forsythe’s 1-for-3 night with an intentional walk, the Dodger second baseman has now
reached base in 16 of his 34 plate appearances in his first career postseason.
The Dodgers’ offense outburst was just beginning.
In a tie game heading to the ninth, the Astros turned to their closer, Ken Giles. Corey Seager singled. Justin Turner walked.
Up came Bellinger, with a chance to be the hero.
He did not disappoint.
Bellinger once again went the other way , delivering a go-ahead RBI double.
“Every day, you just see him grow a little more,” Wood said. “He’s been getting frustrated a little bit this series … to see
him break through right there was awesome. I think everybody had the same message with him: We believe in you. You’re our guy.
Bellinger said the pressure of the postseason can play tricks mentally. In his first few World Series games, he thought he was
trying to do too much.
“But, like I said, it’s a beautiful game,” Bellinger said. “I can come out the next day and help the team to win after a bad
day like that.”
As Bellinger provided the offense life, opening the door to steal a game in Houston, Joc Pederson swung the door shut on the
Astros with one swing of the bat.
After Austin Barnes hit a sacrifice fly to score another run, Pederson’s second home run of the World Series brought in three
more runs, finishing off the five-run ninth-inning explosion.
With the win, the Dodgers ensured the series will go back to Los Angeles for a Game 6. And with Clayton Kershaw on the mound
for Sunday’s Game 5, momentum has suddenly shifted the Dodgers’ direction in a tie series.
“I like where we’re at,” Roberts said. “This series, up to this point, we’ve played four games, and there’s been so many
emotional swings, and we’re dead even right now. It’s a three-game series, and we’ve got our ace going tomorrow. So I know
that, in our clubhouse, we feel good.”