NEW YORK (AP) — Cody Bellinger hit a tiebreaking double in the 10th inning to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Mets 2-1 on Saturday night after Will Smith homered in the seventh for the first hit off New York starter Taijuan Walker.
The 10-inning win was the second in two nights for the Dodgers, who were 1-12 in extra-inning games entering the series opener Friday.
“We know baseball’s one of the biggest games of momentum, right?” said Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler, who matched Walker over seven strong innings. “So get a couple of these wins in extra innings and hopefully we can kind of change the tide on that. I think we got into this weird rut of extra innings, we lost a lot of them, so winning a couple definitely helps and hopefully we can stay on that track.”
Yennsy Diaz (0-2) struck out Chris Taylor before Bellinger, who hooked a potential go-ahead double just foul down the first-base line in the seventh, laced one a few feet inside the line this time to score automatic runner Corey Seager.
Bellinger, the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year and 2019 MVP, entered Saturday with a .181 batting average — tied for seventh-lowest in the majors among players with at least 200 plate appearances — but is hitting .293 (12 for 41) with four homers and eight RBIs in his last 11 games dating to July 31.
“I’ve been feeling good,” Bellinger said. “Baseball’s a tough game every day, a grind. I feel really good, though.”
Phil Bickford (2-1) got the final two outs of the ninth and struck out the first two batters in the 10th before Corey Knebel retired Brandon Nimmo to earn his third save.
Bellinger’s clutch hit decided a game that began with a taut pitching duel between Walker and Buehler. Neither allowed a hit until Michael Conforto homered for the Mets just beyond the grasp of right fielder Billy McKinney with two outs in the fourth.
The homer was the first off Buehler since he gave up a solo shot to Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs on June 24 — a span of 55 innings.
“They both had electric stuff,” Bellinger said. “It was definitely a pitchers’ duel.”
Walker, who threw a one-hitter for the Seattle Mariners against Minnesota on July 31, 2015, allowed just two balls out of the infield in the first 6 1/3 innings before Smith homered into the first row of the second deck in left field.
Smith’s two-run homer in the 10th inning Friday snapped a tie in the Dodgers’ 6-5 win.
“I knew I walked a couple of guys, but you see the scoreboard,” said Walker, who said he realized he was throwing a no-hitter around the fifth inning. “I just wanted to keep going out there and keep doing what I was doing.”
Seager followed with a double and Walker’s evening ended when he issued a two-out walk to Taylor. Bellinger worked the count to 3-1 against Aaron Loup — after which Mets manager Luis Rojas was thrown out for arguing with plate umpire Ben May — before striking out.
Rojas said he was willing to let Walker — who walked three and struck out eight in lowering his second-half ERA from 9.86 to 7.81 — pitch as long as possible with the no-hitter intact.
“He would have just kept going,” Rojas said. “He’s throwing a special game.”
Buehler, looking to tie for the major league lead in wins, allowed four hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He gave up a leadoff single to J.D. Davis in the seventh and walked Jonathan Villar before getting two strikeouts and a popup.
“There’s a switch that goes on with the great ones,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He was smelling the finish line. Guys like that have a way of kind of turning it up a dial and he did that tonight.”
The right-hander, who has 12 wins, lowered his major league-best ERA from 2.13 to 2.09.
FIVE YEARS LATER …
Walker’s no-hit bid was the longest by a Mets pitcher in exactly five years. Steven Matz twirled 7 1/3 no-hit innings against San Diego on Aug. 14, 2016, before allowing a single to Alexei Ramirez.
HE’S A RIGHTEOUS DUDE
The 10-strikeout game marked the third time this season Buehler reached double digits and the 11th time in his career. He also threw at least 110 pitches for the third time this season, making him one of just nine pitchers with at least three 110-pitch efforts.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (bruised left calf) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Urias was hit by a pitch while batting in the fourth inning Friday. … 3B Justin Turner (left groin) struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 10th and could return to the starting lineup Sunday. Roberts said Turner, who missed the previous four games, felt better after exhibiting “dynamic movements” while fielding grounders and taking batting practice Friday.
Mets: RHP Drew Smith (right shoulder) was placed on the 10-day injured list. … SS Francisco Lindor (right oblique) swung from the left side and continued ramping up his baseball activities. … INF Luis Guillorme (left hamstring) is also participating in baseball activities. Rojas said Guillorme remains week-to-week.
Dodgers: RHP Max Scherzer (9-4, 2.67 ERA) will make his third start since his blockbuster acquisition from the Nationals.
Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-0, 6.75 ERA), who missed the first four months with a hamstring injury, is slated to make his fourth start with New York.
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