Corbin, who gave up just three hits to Los Angeles in the first game of the series, emerged from the bullpen to start the sixth inning. So Roberts flipped his lineup, pinch-hitting his weaker left-handers with right-handers David Freese, Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernández. He trusted his stronger left-handers to come through, and they did. The result was a seven-run sixth inning — every run came with two-strike counts and two outs for the inning — en route to a 10-4 win that has Los Angeles one win away from advancing.
“I didn’t think that we were going to be glad that Corbin was coming into the game after Game 1, but sometimes that’s what a team needs,” Hernández said.
“You don’t plan for seven-run innings, but after the first five tonight and to see us kind of get back to what we do best was really good to see,” Roberts said.
Outside of Max Muncy and Justin Turner, the Dodgers’ prized bats were dormant through Sánchez’s five-inning appearance, continuing a trend for the series. Bellinger was 0 for 8 with five strikeouts. Left fielder A.J. Pollock was 0 for 9 with seven strikeouts. Los Angeles had worked Sánchez for 28 pitches in the first inning, loading the bases only to strand all three runners, managing just one hit in this series with runners in scoring position to that point.
The biggest offensive outburst of the series naturally started with arguably its best player, Bellinger, getting his first hit of the series with a line drive to right field to lead off the sixth.
“He wants to be that MVP guy for us that he’s been all year,” Turner said. “That at-bat kind of unlocked him. He got down 0-2, took some tough pitches, got the 3-2 count, fouled off a couple more tough pitches and found a way to get on there. It just seemed like that kind of got the ball rolling.”
Then after shortstop Corey Seager and Pollock both struck out, Roberts turned to Freese for Gavin Lux, and Freese was clutch as he has a reputation for being this time of year. He singled to right, advancing Bellinger to third. On the next at-bat, Russell Martin, the team’s backup catcher who hit .220 this season, doubled, driving in both runs to lift the Dodgers to their first lead of the game 3-2.
Taylor stepped up to the plate for starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu and earned a four-pitch walk to have runners on first and third for Roberts’s next pinch-hitter — Hernández. He doubled on a sharp line drive to left field, bringing home Martin and Taylor and flipping the game on its head.
“We all know that we chased a lot of his sliders in the dirt in L.A.,” Hernández said. “For us tonight, it was about staying simple with the approach — hit whatever’s over the plate and not trying to expand down.”
The next left-hander, Muncy, had already made his mark on the game with a solo home run in the fifth, so Corbin intentionally walked him. That was the last batter Corbin faced, but it left two runners on base for reliever Wander Suero, who was welcomed into the game with a three-run homer by Turner, the exclamation point on a seven-run inning for Los Angeles. It was a show of the Dodgers’ depth and versatility throughout their lineup, from the stars who did as they were expected to the reserves who delivered in big spots.
“Offense is definitely contagious,” Turner said. “We all caught it that inning.”