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Rookie Buehler delivers with 7 K's in NLCS G7

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

MILWAUKEE -- Andrew Friedman heard the chatter. Game 7. On the road. A rookie called upon to extend the season. How would Walker Buehler respond?

The Dodgers' president of baseball operations did not worry. The bigger gamble came years earlier, when Friedman, then in his first year running Los Angeles' front office, made Buehler his first Draft pick. Buehler required Tommy John surgery at the time. That was known. No matter. His upside was too great, despite the risk.

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MILWAUKEE -- Andrew Friedman heard the chatter. Game 7. On the road. A rookie called upon to extend the season. How would Walker Buehler respond?

The Dodgers' president of baseball operations did not worry. The bigger gamble came years earlier, when Friedman, then in his first year running Los Angeles' front office, made Buehler his first Draft pick. Buehler required Tommy John surgery at the time. That was known. No matter. His upside was too great, despite the risk.

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"I felt like it was validated long ago," Friedman said.

Now, though, Friedman and the Dodgers have a signature performance to point to. That much is clear after they punched a ticket to their second straight World Series on Saturday night, with Buehler playing a big role in their 5-1 win over the Brewers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park.

The moment was not too big for the 24-year-old righty, who held Milwaukee to a Christian Yelich solo homer in 4 2/3 innings.

"There is a lot of talent on this team and it was my turn to take the ball," Buehler said. "We're deep, one to 25. Go out and try to do as well as you can for as long as you can."

Flashing the high-octane arsenal that propelled him into the NL Rookie of the Year Award conversation this year, Buehler delivered against the Brewers. His fastball flirted with triple digits. Buehler struck out seven, walked none, and worked himself out of jams in the second and fourth before giving way to L.A.'s bullpen, which blanked Milwaukee the rest of the way. It was by far his best performance this October; Buehler allowed nine runs over his first two starts of the postseason.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Buehler retires pinch-hitting Schoop in 2nd

"He has supreme confidence. He is as confident, and I may even use the word 'cocky,' as any young player I've been around. It serves him really well," Friedman said. "There was a lot of talk coming into this game. 'How would Walker handle a Game 7? How would he handle a hostile environment?' Those of us who know him well were not concerned at all."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Walker Buehler