October 16, 2021

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NLDS: Alex Wood leads the Giants over the Dodgers in Race 3

LOS ANGELES – It wasn’t just the unusually windy evening that made Southern California feel cold and windy in San Francisco on Monday. It was also that rare night when the Los Angeles Dodgers’ embarrassment of wealth and the constant need to level up bites them unexpectedly.

Alex Wood is a fierce and stubborn southpaw who has been employed by the Dodgers for most of the past six years, making 76 starts and pitching four unscored innings in the World Series last fall. But at 30, and having been sent back to the bullpen at times, he decided in free agency last winter that it was time to find an employer who would keep him permanently in the rotation.

So he left for San Francisco in a pivotal third game of that divisional series, taking on Max Scherzer and leading the giants to a 1-0 win that pushed his former team to the brink of elimination. He pitched four and two-thirds of the unscored innings, stunned the Dodgers for 83 shots – 56 shots – and reinforced the Giants’ decision to sign him last winter with a one-year $ 3 million contract.

“He’s incredibly competitive,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler. “He always feels like he’s the best option to take out the next three hitters. I like him.

Nothing bothered Wood, including the strong winds that seemed to hit everyone. Scherzer needed 25 shots to make it through the first inning before he found his rhythm and kept the Giants three hits, including a solo Evan Longoria home run, in seven innings.

“The first run, the wind was really pushing me towards home plate,” Scherzer said. “It was really cool tonight.”

It was a fastball at 96 mph in the area that collapsing Longoria went through what appeared to be gale force winds.

“I know I understood how hard I could hit a ball,” said Longoria, who was in a 1 for 35 groove as he approached the plate for the pivot. joke. “I wasn’t sure he would come out. Conditions were crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever stepped out of the box in the middle of the stick as much as tonight.

“A couple of times I felt like I was about to be blown away. A lot of dust in the eyes.

“Super weird,” said Kapler, from Southern California.

Although Scherzer adapted, the Dodgers “The batters never made it. Chris Taylor and pinch hitter Gavin Lux both smashed balls in midfield in the ninth inning, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he believed both balls, especially Lux’s, were leaving the park. .

Instead, they settled in the glove of center-back Steven Duggar.

Brandon Crawford, the winning shortstop at the San Francisco Gold Glove, stifled the Dodgers’ other best chance, jumping to grab a Mookie Betts line with two knockouts and runners from first and second to seventh. He should at least have drawn the game. Instead, Betts clenched his fists and screamed in frustration.

Now, facing the elimination in Game 4 here on Tuesday, the Dodgers were considering bringing back co-ace Walker Buehler, who started the 4-0 defeat in Game 1, for what would be the first short rest start. of his career. Otherwise, the option to start appears to be the Tony Gonsolin right-hander.

“We have to circle as a group,” Roberts said. “Everything is on the table.

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