10/22/21 LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers came up huge when their backs were against the wall again, as Los Angeles opened up a fresh can of offense against the Atlanta Braves 11-2 in Game 5 to force Game 6 in the NLCS.
After trailing 2-0 early in the game, the Dodgers stomped a mudhole in the Braves and walked it dry in the words of former WWE superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Chris Taylor had a record-setting night, connecting on three home runs. Taylor joins some elite company with sluggers who have hit three or more postseason homers in a game that includes his current teammate Albert Pujols, Reggie Jackson, and Babe Ruth.
Taylor also received a curtain call from Dodger fans at the stadium for his record-setting play.
"That was my first one," Taylor said. "I think anytime you do something cool, when you do it in Dodger Stadium, it makes it that much sweeter. This is a special place."
He became the first Dodger with three home runs in a playoff game since Kiké Hernández knocked out three homers in Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS against the Chicago Cubs. Taylor is the second player in MLB history with three home runs, four hits, and six RBI in a postseason game.
"I never thought I was going to hit three homers in a game, let alone a postseason game. It just still hasn't really sunk in," Taylor said.
The Dodgers have won seven consecutive elimination games this year. This team has played from behind from the second half of the season until the one-game play-in game against the red hot St. Louis Cardinals and later a Game 5 grind against the Giants in San Francisco.
"I guess when our backs are against the wall, we play our best and fight," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
After dropping the first two games to the Braves, the Dodgers had a golden opportunity to win the next three at Dodger Stadium. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts's timely hitting rallied them to a 6-5 win in Game 3. With only one day to travel, this experienced team had to have a short memory and regroup quickly to stay in this series.
"One of our strong suits is not worrying about what happened yesterday, focusing on right now," Betts said.
Los Angeles looked to have history repeating itself since they found themselves staring down the barrel of a 3-1 deficit back in 2020 against these same Braves. The Dodgers have yet to put together consecutive strong offensive games this postseason, and Game 4 was no different.
20-games Dodgers winner Julio Urias didn't have his best outing, and the Braves began their own home run derby off his pitches. Eddie Rosario connected on two homers along with Freddie Freeman. Freeman struggled in the first two games in the series but suddenly found his hitting mojo. Beating a team of this caliber is never easy, but Atlanta made sure they capitalized on scoring opportunities and defense for the 9-2 victory.
"As we saw last year, winning a game is hard, especially a veteran team like this that we're playing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "But I feel good about our club just from what we experienced last year and where these guys are."
The NLCS has been a war between the two teams, where the Dodgers lost Justin Turner and Joe Kelley to season-ending injuries in this series.
Despite not closing out the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Braves have no pressure, and as Freeman told reporters after the Game 5 loss, "we're up 3-2, and we're going home.
"It's a great position to be in," Freeman added.