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Dodgers beat Giants, force decisive Game 5

Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his RBI sacrifice fly out against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning in Game 4 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 12, 2021 (October 13 in Manila) in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO

LOS ANGELES:

Mookie Betts homered and drove in three runs, Will Smith also went deep and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants 7-2 on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) to force a decisive Game 5 in their NL Division Series.

The 107-win Giants host the 106-win Dodgers on Thursday night, with the winner advancing to face Atlanta in the NL Championship Series. The Braves eliminated Milwaukee earlier.

The Dodgers managed just five hits in a 1-0 loss — their second shutout defeat — in Game 3 to put the defending World Series champions on the brink of elimination. They had that many by the second inning Tuesday and pounded out 12 total to back a brief but effective outing from Walker Buehler on three days’ rest.

Buehler went to manager Dave Roberts as early as the Dodgers’ 9-2 victory in Game 2 and said he wanted the ball in Game 4 to start on short rest for the first time in his career. The right-hander allowed one run and three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two on 71 pitches.

After giving up a leadoff single to Evan Longoria and walking pinch-hitter Steven Duggar, Buehler exited to a standing ovation from 52,935 blue towel-waving fans.

The Dodgers chased Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani in the second. He gave up two runs and five hits and struck out two.

The Giants ran through six pitchers by the fifth, leaving them with just three relievers. By the seventh, only backup catcher Curt Casali was available off the bench. He pinch-hit in the eighth.

The biting, steady wind that prevailed throughout Game 3 was gone, leaving just a slight breeze to ruffle the centerfield flags.

Smith hit a two-run homer to center in the eighth, extending the lead to 7-2.

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