“I felt like he was really going to do it,” Bellinger said. “He saw the ball well all day. “
Instead, Taylor pulled out and was content to become the first player in playoff history to score three times as his team was eliminated. He drove six of the Dodgers’ first seven runs, providing a much-needed jerk as they headed for an 11-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night. , reducing their deficit to 3–2 and pushing the series to Atlanta.
“It’s definitely a surreal feeling,” Taylor said. “I never thought I was going to hit three home runs in a game, let alone a playoff game. “
The Dodgers faced the Braves’ top pitcher, Max Fried. Dodgers reliever opener Joe Kelly is out after four batters with a bicep strain that will end his season. Their starting third baseman, Justin Turner, had previously been sent off. And the first half-round ended with a two-point deficit.
Taylor helped the Dodgers get through it all.
His two-run homerun in the bottom of the second gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. His fourth single made it a two-point game. His two-out, two-run homerun against Braves reliever Chris Martin extended the Dodgers’ lead to four. And his solo circuit in the seventh set off his first encore. Taylor became the 11th player with a three-homer playoff game, joining names like Reggie Jackson, Babe Ruth, George Brett, Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols, the man who knocked past Taylor on Thursday night.
“The highlights will be there for the rest of his life,” Pujols said. “This is something that you will share forever. “
The Dodgers, who must win back-to-back games in Atlanta this weekend to qualify for their fourth World Series in five years, have now won seven straight playoff games, the third longest streak in playoff history.
Their latest came courtesy of Evan Phillips, Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen, Corey Knebel and Kenley Jansen, six relievers who combined for 8 scoreless innings in which they allowed three hits, n did not allow a walk and strike out nine batters. And it was fueled by Pujols, Taylor, Bellinger and AJ Pollock, who occupied places 5-8 in the Dodgers roster and combined for 12 hits, five of which broke through the fence, an uplifting sign for an offense that took struggling to keep rallies in the playoffs.
In total, the Dodgers racked up 11 hits with two hitting, their biggest production since April 2018.
“I saw it fight,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I saw fight. “
Taylor, 31, made his first all-star team this season, but has long been revered by his Dodgers teammates and coaches for his defensive versatility, offensive approach and low-key professionalism. Since the start of the 2017 season, Taylor has appeared in 88% of Dodgers games, played six positions, hit .265 / .343 / .461 and racked up 14.1 FanGraphs wins over substitution. But in a star-studded Dodgers team, Taylor usually goes unnoticed.
His personality lends itself to this.
“He speaks very softly and doesn’t get excited easily,” said Pollock, who contributed to a two-homer game. “The only thing that turns him on, I saw, is that he likes to have a beer. He’s excited about it, have a beer with the boys and then he loves to watch the surf. adrenaline, but probably not. Most likely just beer and watch the surf. “
Taylor struggled with a neck injury down the stretch and struggled to break out of the roster in early October, but came off the bench to deliver the home run that knocked out the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Game. from NL. He made a critical blunder in the NLCS opener, but he almost single-handedly kept the Dodgers’ season alive with an epic performance five days later.
“You have to take the lows with the highs,” Taylor said. “Everything grows in the playoffs. And it’s a game of chess. You are going to make mistakes. And then there are times like tonight when it’s what’s worth it. That’s why you lower your head and keep moving forward. ”