Bellinger HR sends Dodgers to 3rd World Series in 4 years

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates his home run with Enrique Hernandez against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates his home run with Enrique Hernandez against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger watches his home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger watches his home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates a home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates a home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson celebrates after a home run with Marcell Ozuna against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson celebrates after a home run with Marcell Ozuna against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson celebrates a home run with Marcell Ozuna against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson celebrates a home run with Marcell Ozuna against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

  • Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. is safe at second past Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager after a double during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. is safe at second past Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager after a double during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May reacts after striking out Atlanta Braves' Ozzie Albies during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Dustin May reacts after striking out Atlanta Braves' Ozzie Albies during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. scores past Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith on a hit by Marcell Ozuna during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. scores past Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith on a hit by Marcell Ozuna during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith celebrates after a two RBI-Single against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith celebrates after a two RBI-Single against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

  • Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Muncy scores past Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud on a single by Will Smith during the third inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Muncy scores past Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud on a single by Will Smith during the third inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Associated Press

 
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Baseball Writer
Updated 10/18/2020 11:12 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cody Bellinger hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers advanced to the World Series for the third time in four years by topping the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series on Sunday night.

Bellinger connected an inning after Kiké Hernández became the first pinch hitter with a game-tying or go-ahead homer in a winner-take-all game. His homer tied it at 3 and, like Bellinger's, came on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Dodgers, who matched an LCS record with 16 homers, overcame a 3-1 series deficit by winning three consecutive games when facing elimination for only the second time in their storied history.

After winning both their NL Division Series and the NLCS in the new $1.2 billion Globe Life Field, the Dodgers get to stay in place for the World Series. Game 1 against the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays is Tuesday night.

The Dodgers again will try to win their first World Series title since 1998. They lost Game 7 at home three years ago to the Houston Astros, and then lost in five games to the Boston Red Sox in 2018 when Mookie Betts was the AL MVP and playing against Los Angeles.

Tampa Bay's win in Game 7 of the ALCS late Saturday night wiped out the chance for an October rematch with the Astros, whose 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers has been heavily tarnished by the revelations of Houston's sign-stealing tactics that season.

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Betts, the first-year Dodger signed for 12 more years, made another incredible defensive play, robbing NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman of a solo homer in the fifth.

Julio Urias, the fifth Dodgers pitcher, retired the last nine batters for his fourth win in four appearances this postseason. The 24-year-old right-hander, already in his fourth postseason, has a 0.57 ERA in these playoffs.

The massive shot to right by reigning NL MVP and 2018 NLCS MVP Bellinger came on a 94-mph sinker after fouling off three pitches in a row by Chris Martin, the fifth Braves pitcher who started the seventh with strikeouts of Max Muncy and Will Smith.

Hernández led off the sixth with a 424-foot drive to left-center off A.J. Minter.

Dansby Swanson homered for Atlanta, which hasn't been to the World Series since 1999.

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