LOS ANGELES — More than five hours after it started, Cody Bellinger delivered a game-winning single to right field, and he still had enough energy to take the Los Angeles Dodgers’ celebration all the way to left field.
Bellinger’s 13th-inning RBI single ended a marathon Game 4 and evened the National League Championship Series as the Dodgers went deep into the night for a 2-1 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old outfielder ripped a 3-2 pitch from Brewers reliever Junior Guerra (0-1), allowing Manny Machado to score from second base. Guerra had thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings before the last pitch.
As Machado beat the throw home from Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich, Bellinger rounded first base and kept on running past the second base bag and into a vacated left field. His Dodgers teammates sprinted from the third base dugout to join him.
“It’s probably a feeling you won’t forget, seeing your guys chase after you,” Bellinger said.
Machado had reached base with a one-out single before moving to second on a wild pitch while Bellinger was at the plate.
“Honestly, I was surprised that they were pitching to me,” Bellinger said. “I thought they would pitch around me and get me to swing. Once I saw they were attacking me, it was just kind of grind mode and do what you can to put the ball in play and try to end this game.”
Dodgers reliever Julio Urias (1-0) pitched a scoreless 13th inning to earn the victory. Urias was the eighth and last Los Angeles reliever to enter the game.
The best-of-seven NLCS is now tied 2-2 with Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers earned their fifth extra-inning playoff victory in franchise history and their first since winning Game 4 of the 1988 NLCS against the New York Mets.
In a tense game, the benches cleared in the 10th inning when Machado grounded out and his feet tangled with Jesus Aguilar at first base. Order was restored quickly, but the Brewers remained incensed that Machado would clip a player while running through the bag.
“He’s a player that has a history of those types of incidents,” Yelich said. “One time is an accident. Repeated over and over and over again, you’re just a dirty player. It’s a dirty play by a dirty player.”
Aguilar said Machado apologized upon reaching first base in the 13th inning.
“We’re good for sure,” Aguilar said. “I know him really well. We turned the page, and now we have to come and play the game (Wednesday).”
Los Angeles starter Rich Hill went five innings, giving up one run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Hill was making his first appearance in the NLCS after starting the Dodgers on their way to the victory in the NLDS clincher at Atlanta on Oct. 8.
The Dodgers started unveiling their relievers in the sixth inning, beginning with Pedro Baez and heading on, in order, to Kenta Maeda, Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Madson, Kenley Jansen, Alex Wood, Dylan Floro and Urias.
“Rich initially was good, and gave us five innings, but the bullpen, what they did tonight against a very good offensive club, my hat’s off to these guys,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said.
Milwaukee starter Gio Gonzalez figured to have a brief outing Tuesday, as the Brewers planned to lean on their bullpen, but his appearance was even shorter than expected. The left-hander exited in the second inning with a sprained left ankle. Gonzalez gave up one run on two hits in one-plus inning, injuring himself while trying to field a Yasiel Puig infield single.
The Dodgers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a first-inning RBI single from Brian Dozier, who was making his first start of the postseason. Dozier had one hit in five previous at-bats in the playoffs.
The Brewers tied the game 1-1 in the fifth on an RBI double from pinch hitter Domingo Santana to score Orlando Arcia from first base. Santana also had a two-run pinch single in Game 1.
Then the wait was on.
Brewers leadoff man Lorenzo Cain went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts and is now 4-for-20 (.200) in the series. NL MVP candidate Yelich went 1-for-5 and is now 3-for-16 (.188) in the past four games.
“There’s a bunch of guys we need offense from,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsel said. “We’ve got some good contributions from guys at the bottom. But I think a bunch of guys are not really on it right now offensively. I don’t think I’d single those two guys out, I think there’s a bunch of guys we need to get going, and we will.”
The Dodgers will send staff ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound in Game 5. Kershaw gave up five runs (four earned) in three-plus innings of Game 1. The Brewers will counter with left-hander Wade Miley, who held the Dodgers scoreless over 5 2/3 innings in Game 2.
—Doug Padilla, Field Level Media