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Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger, center, reacts with the Dodgers' bench after hitting a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning of Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Dodgers Beat the Braves to Advance to the World Series

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 4 to 3 in Game 7 of the National League Championship series Sunday night. Los Angeles advances to the World Series where they will face the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays.

The Dodgers won three straight games to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win the National League pennant. Tampa Bay also held on to defeat the Houston Astros in 7 games on Saturday.

This is the Dodgers third World Series appearance in five season under the management of Dave Roberts.

Los Angeles plays Tampa for Game 1 of the World Series starting Tuesday at 8:09 p.m. at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The World Series will revert back to the normal format which gives the teams a day off between Games 2 and 3 and then 5 and 6.

Dodgers Win Game 7

In a series where the Dodgers continually played from behind, Game 7 was no different.

The Braves scored in the first inning when left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. came home on outfielder Marcell Ozuna’s single to left field. Atlanta would follow up its successful first inning hitting in the second when shortstop Dansby Swanson launched a 434-foot single-shot home run.

Momentum started shifting towards the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth inning when right fielder Mookie Betts made a crucial catch to steal a potential home run from first baseman Freddie Freeman.

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After second baseman Kike Hernandez hit a solo home run to tie the game at 3 runs in the sixth inning, outfielder Cody Bellinger made the play of the series hitting a solo home run to right to give the Dodgers the lead and the series. Bellinger is now the only player to ever hit a home run in a NLCS Game 7 twice.

World Series Preview

The World Series matchup will feature the teams with the two best records in baseball this season. Los Angeles will look to end the historic franchises 32-year title drought while Tampa Bay looks to earn the organizations first World Series title.

The Dodgers last World Series appearance came in 2018 where the team lost in five games to the Boston Red Sox. The Rays only other championship appearance came in 2008 when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.

The Rays success this postseason has come from the impressive performance of rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena.  Arozarena has seven home runs this season, the most by a rookie in MLB playoff history. He is also just one hit short of tying Derek Jeter’s rookie record of 22 postseason hits.

Tampa will also look for big series from their veterans in all-star second baseman Brandon Lowe and 2019 all-star left fielder Austin Meadows.

Los Angeles will look to their stars to continue their postseason success as well. Betts and Bellinger, both former MVPs, have had impressive performances to lift the Dodgers to the World Series.

Betts, who won the World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, talked about the similarities between that team and his current squad ahead of the Dodgers upcoming matchup.

Neither Los Angeles or Tampa has announced starting pitchers ahead of Game 1. Sports Illustrated reported that Tyler Glasnow is likely to start for the Rays after five days off. Future hall of famer Clayton Kershaw is the expected option for the Dodgers.

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