2020 NLDS: Cody Bellinger Knew ‘Only Matter Of Time’ Until Dodgers Lineup Produced

The Los Angeles Dodgers opened the National League Division Series with a 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres in Game 1 that was much closer than the scoreboard may suggest. Although the Dodgers had plenty of traffic, they were without a hit through five innings.

That was despite Mike Clevinger being removed two pitches into the second inning because of an apparent injury. A bullpen game was working in the Padres’ favor and the unit was briefly given a lead when Austin Nola hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to break up the scoreless tie.

L.A. answered in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to walks by Justin Turner and Will Smith, and Cody Bellinger hustling out of the box on his grounder to the right side. Jake Cronenworth fielded it in shallow right field but threw a bit wide and Eric Hosmer dropped the ball.

“In that situation I just wanted to put the ball in play. Garrett Richards has some really good stuff. Putting in play in that situation was a win. Just tried to bust my tail down the line and make anything happen,” Bellinger said.

Then in the sixth inning, Chris Taylor’s walk and Mookie Betts’ double set the table for Corey Seager’s go-ahead sacrifice fly. Turner followed with an RBI base hit and Bellinger later drove in a run on his infield single.

“Just a resilient group one through nine,” Bellinger said of the Dodgers’ lineup. “We felt like it was a matter of time. Obviously, we’d like to get on the board earlier, but that’s baseball. They had some good arms and it’s not always easy. We grinded and it was a good team win.”

The Padres used nine different pitchers for a second consecutive game and third time this postseason. They are the first team in MLB history to use that many pitchers in three games of a single postseason.

“It’s definitely different. Probably harder a few years ago; I think throughout the season we saw a few games like that, where the starting pitching was down,” Bellinger said of facing a bullpen game.

“We did face bullpen days and kind of had an idea it could potentially be one today. It is what it is.”

Dodgers kept in check by Globe Life Field

The Dodgers led the Majors with 118 home runs this season and tied for the MLB lead with five players to mash at least 10. Yet for all their might, they could not do any better than drives to the warning track in Game 1.

Globe Life Field has reputation for being pitcher-friendly, though the open roof was expected to aid batters. “Big ballpark,” Bellinger said.

“Hit some balls pretty well, but we’re playing baseball. Putting the ball in play is huge in any game and situation. We were able to do that.”

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