10/7/21 LOS ANGELES -- An electric, and nerve-racking atmosphere as Chris Taylor made an impact of epic proportions at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.
With Cody Bellinger at second base, Taylor connected on a two-run homer to center that propelled the Dodgers to the NLDS as they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1.
He rounded the bases with the crowd of 53,193 cheering loudly, and was immediately mobbed by his teammates as he crossed home plate. A player that wasn't heavily desired but found a home with the Dodgers and made every moment count.
"It's been quite a journey," Taylor said. "Everything happens for a reason, there's highs and lows. Everything I've been through, all the struggles and successes, it's brought me to this point and this is right where I'm supposed to be with this team."
After sending the Cardinals home from the National League Wild Card game, the Dodgers will face the San Francisco Giants on Friday. Ironically with both teams' deep rival history, the two have never faced each other in a playoff series.
"I think it's great," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It's what baseball wants, Giants, Dodgers, one of the great rivalries in sports, and it's happening!"
Mookie Betts, who connected on two singles, was needed, but Robert also knew he would need Taylor at some point in this game to come through at the plate.
"I was trying to stay ready off the bench," Taylor said. "I knew there was a good chance I would come in at some point and I wanted to be ready when my number was called. These are the types of moments you dream about. I'll have this for the rest of my life."
Besides giving up a run to Cardinals' Tommy Edmon on a wild pitch, Max Scherzer was solid on the mound as he gave up three walks and four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings of work.
"I gave up that early run in the first inning, and in my mind, I just wanted to keep it a one-run game. Then it was a tie game, and I didn't want to give up another run. I just went out there and grinded. I didn't get too high or too low, I tried to be as even-keeled as possible."
Offensive help was on the way in the form of Justin Turner who smacked a home run to left field that tied the game 1-1 in the fourth off of Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright did all he could to keep the Cards in the game and finished with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, allowed two walks and one run.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen came in the top of the ninth inning and was brilliant on the mound, capturing three outs that would give the Dodgers another opportunity to score and possibly win the game.
Cody Bellinger walked to first, which brought up Taylor. Bellinger would steal second base and as the boys in blue seemed to inch closer, Taylor would only smell victory with Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes. Reyes had 29 saves on the season, however made the biggest mistake of his young career, a slider that enabled Taylor to connect deep on.
The energy was so electric for a second, you thought the Dodgers won another World Series in Game 7. That Taylor home run was the fourth walk-off homer in postseason history for the Dodgers, who have all the momentum heading up north to face the Giants.
"He [Reyes] kind of left it over the middle of the plate for me and I was able to get it up in the air to the left," Taylor said. "I got a hug from Albert. I think I got a hug from everybody."
A game separated the Giants and the Dodgers in the regular season, but now nothing will separate them in quite possibly one of the greatest series in sports with more at stake.
*Giants host the Dodgers on Friday at 6:37 PM at Oracle Park in Game 1 of the NLDS on TBS. For more photos from this game, click on the link below. #mlb #ladodgers #cardinals #losangelesdodgers #christaylor #justinturner #nlwcgame #tgsportstv1 #nationalleaguewest #stlouiscardinals #maxscherzer #tommyedman