LOS ANGELES — Simply put, it was one of the greatest, most spectacular power shows the Los Angeles Dodgers have seen in the rich history of post-season history.
third baseman Chris Taylor hits three homers, gets out for six, and produced four hits in which Dodger Stadium prevented elimination in the Dodgers’ 11-2 loss over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday in the National League Championship Series.
It began when Taylor, starting from third base in place of the injured Justin Turner, hit a two-run home run in Max Fried’s second innings. He singled out Fried again in the third innings, driving in another run.
In the fifth innings, he hit a two-run homer off Chris Martin for a four.
And for an encore, he hit a single homer from Dylan Lee.
When the smoke cleared, Taylor was the 12th hitter in history to score three homers in a postseason game, and the first since Kike Hernandez for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS.
The Dodgers are still trailing 3-game-to-2 in the best-of-seven NLCS as the series moves to Atlanta, but thanks to Taylor’s heroics, they suddenly have new life.
Taylor’s four home runs in elimination games later this season (he hit a walk-off homer in the Dodgers’ 3-1 wild-card win over St. Louis) are the most in baseball history.
It was the kind of night for the Dodgers who pulled off a rope-a-dope version of baseball.
The Dodgers were down, talking in a muffled tone before the game, and most of the fans were defeated before they could even get to their seats.
Again, the Dodgers do what they do best.
He broke the hearts of the opponents.
He got off the mat, and opened his deadliest attack of the season.
The Dodgers, who could still do two more elimination games in this series alone, won for these positions.
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They have won their last seven elimination games, and four of them have been against the Braves, reviving memories of last year’s NLCS.
The Dodgers were also down 3 games to 1 for Atlanta the year before, only to win three games in a row for their first World Series title since 1988.
“It’s a completely different team, a whole different thing,” said Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. “If anyone is thinking about 2020… that was last year. It’s 2021. I think everyone wants to be in the (3-2) lead. …
“We’ve come this far. We can’t let anything get over us. We’ve come through a lot.”
You think Atlanta is pushing, knowing that three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is scheduled for a possible Game 7 with All-Star pitcher Walker Buehler on Saturday?
Again, you don’t know Atlanta.
“We are a more mature team,” said Atlanta manager Brian Snitker. “We’ve got a group of young people who’ve been through these wars before, and now they’re through them again, and I think that’s good for us. I think in this position over the last three years His experience of reaching out has really matured this club.
“I really believe so.”
They’ll need that maturity after seeing the Dodgers Crush Fried. He reprimanded him for eight hits and five runs in 4 innings. This is a man who achieved 1.55 ERA in his last 14 starts, but in the span of four at-bats, dropped a homer to AJ Pollock, a single by Albert Pujols, a homer by Taylor and a single by Cody Bellinger.
Atlanta were unable to recover after losing to Fried a year ago, but this time they still have Ian Anderson in Game 6 and veteran starter Charlie Morton for potential Game 7.
The Dodgers’ rejuvenated offense, building up to 17 hits, must be stopped before they start to feel like they can pull this thing off.
The Dodgers are still playing, thanks to a bullpen that allowed just three hits in the 8 innings after a two-run homer from Freeman’s starter Joe Kelly, two homers by Pollock, three hits by Bellinger, and Taylor’s. A performance that will live on forever, carved into Dodgers folklore.
The Hollywood story of the Dodgers is not yet complete.
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