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Betts, with another great hold, shows what Dodgers wanted

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Walker Buehler stood by the hill, his right hand formed a triumphant fist, his arm held high.

I’m glad we had a good fielder, especially a special one like Mookie Betts, Buehler said.

Moments like this were what Los Angeles hoped for when it acquired the four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner of the Boston Red Sox in February.

He just affects the game in so many different ways, said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Walker was a bit stressed.

Betts’ defense, Buehler’s pitching, and consecutive home runs in the first inning by Seager and Justin Turner boosted the Dodgers to a 3-1 win that forced the National League Championship Series into Game 7.

The Dodgers, who left three games behind in neutral territory in this postseason, still have the chance to win their first World Series title since Kirk Gibson limped to the plate and kick-started the 1988 team with that unlikely Game 1 walk- off homer off Oaklands Dennis Eckersley.

Los Angeles wanted Betts so badly that it agreed to pay Boston $ 48 million over three years as part of the deal, which also earned left-handed Dodgers David Price, who retired from playing this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Betts would qualify for free agency off-season, but the Dodgers were just as aggressive at the negotiating table as he was at the plate and in the outfield.

Already signed to a $ 27 million one-year contract, Betts agreed to a $ 365 million 12-year contract in July with a $ 65 million signing bonus guaranteed against work stoppages and shortened seasons like this one. The tradeoff in the deal was $ 115 million in deferred payments not due in full until he nears his 52nd birthday in 2044, which would be eliminated if traded.

He hit .292 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs in the shortened season, tied with AJ Pollock for the team with a high number of homers and second in RBIs behind Seagers 41. His two-out, two-run double brought the Dodgers to a 3 -0 beat Milwaukee that completed a first round sweep. The day after his 28th birthday, he scored three runs and had a sacrifice fly in the 12-3 loss of San Diego that ended a Division Series sweep.

He hits .227 (5 for 22) against the Braves and recalls his .210 four-RBI average for the Red Sox in the 2018 postseason, a shell of the regular season performance that earned him the AL MVP award.

But he helped turn the NLCS with his gauntlet. His grab in the third inning off Dansby Swanson with a runner in third place in Game 5 held the Braves lead by two runs, enabling Los Angeles to come back for a 7-3 victory. He made an even better catch on Saturday.

Going back is probably more difficult because all the timing you have to do and then also jump to stay sane, because I’ve been to that wall and got hurt a few times, Betts said.

And now Betts and the Dodgers are one World Series win.

I think a little behind last night’s game, Roberts concluded. It just shows the athletics, man.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts flies the wall in the outfield and robs a home run by Atlanta Braves-designated hitter Marcell Ozuna of a hit during the fifth inning of Game 6 of the baseball National League Championship Series, Saturday, October 17, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts celebrates after robbing Atlanta Braves’ Marcell Ozuna of a home during the fifth inning in Game 6 of a baseball National League Championship Series Saturday, October 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts celebrates after robbing Atlanta Braves’ Marcell Ozuna of a home during the fifth inning in Game 6 of a baseball National League Championship Series Saturday, October 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts celebrates after robbing Atlanta Braves’ Marcell Ozuna of a home during the fifth inning in Game 6 of a baseball National League Championship Series Saturday, October 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts celebrates after robbing Atlanta Braves’ Marcell Ozuna of a home during the fifth inning in Game 6 of a baseball National League Championship Series Saturday, October 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts celebrates after robbing Atlanta Braves’ Marcell Ozuna of a home during the fifth inning in Game 6 of a baseball National League Championship Series Saturday, October 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez



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