LOS ANGELES – Simply put, it was one of the biggest and most magnificent power shows in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rich playoff history.
Third baseman Chris Taylor hit three homers, produced six runs and produced four hits that rocked Dodger Stadium Thursday in the Dodgers’ 11-2 rout against the Atlanta Braves, avoiding elimination in the National League Championship Series.
It all started when Taylor, starting at third in place of injured Justin Turner, hit a two-run home in the second inning against Max Fried. He hit Fried again in the third inning, driving another run.
He hit a two-run homerun against Chris Martin in the fifth inning.
And for an encore, he hit a solo homerun from Dylan Lee.
When the smoke cleared, Taylor was the 12th hitter in history to produce three homers in a playoff game, and the first since Kike ‘Hernandez for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS.
The Dodgers are still trailing 3-2 in the best of seven NLCSs, the series moving to Atlanta, but they suddenly have a new lease of life, thanks to Taylor’s heroism.
Taylor’s four home runs in the playoffs (he hit a home run in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over St. Louis) are the most important in baseball history.
It was that kind of night for the Dodgers who pulled off the baseball version of a dope.
The Dodgers were on the ground, talking quietly before the game, and losing before most of the fans had even settled in.
Then the Dodgers do what they do best.
They have broken the hearts of their opponents.
They came out of the mat and unleashed their deadliest offensive attack of the playoffs.
The Dodgers, who could still play two more elimination games on their own this series, live for those situations.
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They’ve won their last seven playoff games, and four of them have been against the Braves, resurrecting memories of the NLCS from last year.
The Dodgers were also down 3 games to 1 against Atlanta a year ago, to win three straight games en route to their first World Series title since 1988.
“They’re a whole different team, a whole different thing,” said Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. “If anyone thinks of 2020.… It was last year. We are in 2021. I think everyone wants to be ahead (3-2). …
“We have made it this far. We cannot let anything deter us. We have overcome so much. ”
Do you think Atlanta is stressful knowing that three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is on the mound on Saturday with All-Star pitcher Walker Buehler scheduled for a possible Game 7?
So, you don’t know Atlanta.
“We’re a more mature team,” said Atlanta manager Brian Snitker. “We have a bunch of young guys who have been through these wars before, and now they’re going through them again, and I think that bodes well for us. I think the experiences they’ve had over the past three years to get into this position have really matured this club.
“I really believe it. “
They’ll need that maturity to get started after watching the Dodgers run over Fried. They ripped him apart for eight hits and five runs in 4 ⅔ innings. He’s a guy who gave up a 1.55 ERA in his last 14 starts, but in a four-hittering period, gave up a homerun to AJ Polllock, an Albert Pujols single, a Taylor homerun and a single. by Cody Bellinger.
Atlanta couldn’t recover after Fried lost Game 6 a year ago, but this time around they still have Ian Anderson in Game 6 and veteran starter Charlie Morton for a potential Game 7.
The Dodgers’ rejuvenated offense, producing 17 hits, needs to be stopped before they start to feel they can pull it off.
The Dodgers continue to play, thanks to a bullpen that allowed just three hits in 8 ⅓ innings after Freeman’s two-run homer to starter Joe Kelly, two home runs from Pollock, three hits from Bellinger and a performance by Taylor that will forever be etched in Dodgers folklore.
The story of the Dodgers in Hollywood is not quite over yet.
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