Lineup “tail” and bullpen keep Dodgers alive

Lineup "tail" and bullpen keep Dodgers alive


The lineup’s “tail” did the most damage to the Atlanta Braves’ pitching in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers alive in the current postseason.

Hitters placed between at-bats five and eight in Los Angeles’ offensive order – LF AJ Pollock, 1B Albert Pujols, 3B Chris Taylor and CF Cody Bellinger – batted 18-12 with five home runs, 10 runs. RBIs and eight runs scored in an 11-2 win over 51,363 fans Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

On a bullpen day, seven Los Angeles pitchers combined to leave Atlanta’s offense with five hits and two runs. Venezuelan Brusdar Graterol and American Blake Treinen each pitched two blank innings. Curacao closer Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth despite the lead.

For the second consecutive postseason, trailing 1-3, the Dodgers won Game 5 of the Old Circuit Final against the Braves to force a sixth game. Last year they were successful in the last three games to advance to the World Series, which they also won, against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Game 6 of the National League Championship Series is scheduled to take place at Truist Park in Atlanta next Saturday.

Taylor, playing third base in place of the injured Justin Turner, was 5-for-4 with three homers, six RBIs and three runs scored. Pollock is 5-3 with two homers, three RBIs and three runs. Bellinger went 4-for-3 and Pujols 4-2 with a walk and two runs. By the middle of the game, the quartet had nine of Los Angeles’ 10 hits.

Second baseman Trea Turner, who was mired in a tremendous slump, went 3-for-4 to complement Dave Roberts’ 17-hit troop attack.

Taylor is the first Los Angeles and Major League Baseball player to knock three balls out of the park in a playoff clash since Puerto Rican Kike Hernandez did so in the 2019 Championship Series. In total, 12 sluggers have hit three home runs in a postseason clash, including to Pujols, who did it playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series.

Pujols, 41, is the fourth-oldest player to reach first base with a hit and walk in a postseason game. The only ones who did it at an older age were Pete Rose (twice in 1983), Ozzie Smith (1996) and Julio Franco (2003). The legendary Dominican has two multi-hitters this postseason and 28 in his career.

Taylor and Pollock are the second pair of teammates with two or more home runs in a playoff game. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers did it last year, while Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were the first, in 1932.

Joe Kelly, serving as the “opener” for the Dodgers, retired the hot Eddie Rosario with eight pitches to start the game, but then Ozzie Albies hit a ball to the sloppy third base zone for the left-handed special formation and Freddie Freeman followed. with a two-run homer.

For Freeman, it was his seventh postseason home run and fifth against the Dodgers. Kelly had a shoulder injury in the first inning after 28 pitches.

But the home team reacted in the second inning, with their heavy artillery from the bottom in the lineup. Pitching star left-hander Max Fried, Pollock hit a solo home run, Pujols singled and Taylor followed with the first of his home runs.

In the third, Pollock, Pujols and Taylor hit back-to-back singles to produce their team’s fourth round. In the fifth, with two outs, Fried walked Pujols and Taylor hit reliever Chris Martin with a home run to put the Dodgers away 6-2. Fried allowed eight hits and five runs in 4.2 innings.

Taylor hit a solo home run in the seventh and followed by hits in the eighth by Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Corey Seager to produce one, and then Pollock hit a three-run homer.

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