AJ Pollock has two homers and four RBIs for the defending champions the Dodgers, who have won seven straight playoff elimination games since last season. They were also down 0-2 and 1-3 against Atlanta in the NLCS last year before rallying for a three-game winning streak at a neutral venue in Texas.
“We had to make a statement,” Taylor said. “They put it on us yesterday. We had to respond. “
Game 6 takes place on Saturday in Atlanta, where the Braves have two more chances to win their first World Series trip since 1999.
After collecting just four hits in a 9-2 loss in Game 4 that pushed them to the brink of elimination, the desperate Dodgers hit eight hits in the third inning against Max Fried. They finished with 17, a club record for a playoff game, and also tied a playoff franchise mark with five home runs.
The Dodgers came in to Fried with four straight hits in the second. Pollock hit an equalizer and Taylor drove the first pitch he saw from left field, putting Los Angeles in front for good, 3-2.
Starting in place of the injured Justin Turner on third base, Taylor became the Dodgers’ second player with a three home game in the playoffs. Kike Hernandez also did it in Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS against the Chicago Cubs.
“This is my first time doing this,” Taylor said. “It’s a bit surreal. “
Taylor had an RBI single in the third to make it 4-2. He went far in the fifth, sending Chris Martin’s 0-2 pitch to center field and extending the lead to 6-2.
Taylor hit a homer in the seventh again, taking Dylan Lee down center-left before recalling into the dugout.
“I never look cool doing anything,” Taylor said.
The all-round veteran had the opportunity to tie the major league mark of four home runs in one game, but struck out to finish eighth.
“I was trying not to think about it,” Taylor said. “Usually I just try to hit the line readers. “
The mild-mannered Taylor also hit a winning home run late in the ninth inning against St. Louis in the NL wildcard game.
Albert Pujols was not just hugging, he was hitting too.
The 41-year-old slugger has entered base three times, including one walk, and has scored twice on Taylor homers. He had two singles for his third and fourth playoff hits in his second start. He had two hits in the NL Division Series against San Francisco.
Pujols started to greet his much younger teammates with bear hugs in the canoe after the circuits, and they kept him busy.
Los Angeles got a clutch performance from its paddock after opener Joe Kelly allowed Freddie Freeman a two-run homerun in the first and was quickly out after 28 throws with a strain in his right bicep that will put him out. the gap for the rest of the playoffs.
Evan Phillips, Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen, Corey Knebel and Kenley Jansen combined to allow just three hits the rest of the course.
Phillips struck out three strikes in a 1 1/3 inning and was credited with the win.
Atlanta’s Eddie Rosario, who scored twice in his second four-hit NLCS game in Game 4, got a 2 for 4 with a strikeout.
Throwing in his hometown, Fried allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. The southpaw struck out three at bat and walked two.
“I wasn’t running around corners like I usually do and when you leave the balls in the middle damage normally occurs,” Fried said.
In the party or famine nature of the Dodgers offense, Cody Bellinger went 3 for 4 with a strikeout and NL batting champion Trea Turner was 3 for 4 with an RBI single in an eighth of four. points crowned by the Pollock three-point circuit. But Mookie Betts and Corey Seager were a 2-for-10 combined.
“We’re leading 3-2 and coming home,” Freeman said. “It’s a great position. We’re going to be fine. “
Taylor set a Dodgers playoff record with 13 goals overall, most by any major league in an elimination game. He became the 11th player to hit three home runs in a playoff game, a list that also includes Pujols and Hall of Fame members Reggie Jackson and George Brett. Babe Ruth has accomplished the feat twice. Taylor became the first to do so for a team threatened with elimination.
Braves: OF Jorge Soler was activated after being absent following his positive COVID-19 test. He hit by swaying as an eighth pinch hitter.
Dodgers: Justin Turner was replaced on the NLCS roster by INF Andy Burns after stretching his left hamstrings as he ran for No. 1 in the seventh inning on Wednesday. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Edwin Uceta has been nominated for an assignment.
RHP Ian Anderson goes for the Braves in Game 6. RHP Max Scherzer starts for the Dodgers.