Dodgers' Austin Barnes matches World Series bunt, homer feat not done since 1961

Dodgers' Austin Barnes matches World Series bunt, homer feat not done since 1961

10/24/2020 8:20:00 AM

Dodgers' Austin Barnes matches World Series bunt, homer feat not done since 1961

The Dodgers' Austin Barnes became the first player since the Yankees' Hector Lopez in 1961 to drive in a run with a bunt and a homer in a World Series game.

More CoveragePhotos: Dodgers defeat Rays in Game 3 of World SeriesAdvertisementIf the Dodgers win, every good Dodgers fan should. Barnes did something Friday that only Lopez had done over the first 115 years of the World Series.In 1961, Lopez hit a home run and had a squeeze bunt in the same game. The Yankees won the series.

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On Friday, Barnes hit a home run and had a squeeze bunt.The Dodgers are halfway to their first World Series championship since 1988.AdvertisementThe Dodgers are in the World Series for the third time in four years. This is the first time they have taken a two-games-to-one lead in the World Series since 1988.

They hear you, Los Angeles. They feel your pain.Key plays from the Dodgers’ 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 3 of the World Series.“Everybody’s aware of the drought in L.A.,” Barnes said. “The fans are itching for a championship.”AdvertisementBarnes gets it. He was born in Fullerton, raised in Riverside. He is 30, and the Dodgers have not won a championship in his lifetime.

Buehler was the star of stars Friday, striking out 10 Tampa Bay batters over six innings of the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory. But Barnes earned a more than honorable mention, driving in runs in successive plate appearances: a squeeze bunt in the fourth inning, a solo home run the sixth.

That is a pretty fair output for a backup catcher. Barnes has backed up a quintet of catchers during his tenure in Los Angeles: A.J. Ellis, Carlos Ruiz, Yasmani Grandal, Russell Martin and nowWill Smith.Austin Barnes runs out of the batter’s box after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning Friday night.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)Advertisement“Between [Smith] and Barnes, we probably have the best catching combination in the league, in our opinion,” Kershaw said. “It shows.”Barnes has established himself as valuable if for no other reason than the pitchers he shepherds. In the regular season, he has become Kershaw’s personal catcher. In the postseason, he has become Buehler’s personal catcher.

That is pretty good job security. His ability to bunt is helpful as well and, in a year with the designated hitter, pretty rare. The Dodgers now have four sacrifice bunts this season, three by Barnes.“If they ask you to do something,” he said, “you need to do it.”

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And he’s mostly there to catch! Did anyone else read this headline and think Barnes hit a home run by bunting?

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