Will Smith’s clutch three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning kept the Dodgers alive for another day as the boys in blue scored three runs in the sixth, and three more in the seventh to defeat the Braves 7-3 in game 5 of the NLCS on Friday evening at Globe Life. Smith’s home run was a thing of beauty but Corey Seager hit two home runs in the game (he has 4 in the series) and Kenley Jansen got the save. The pitching hero of the night was reliever Blake Treinen who tossed two scoreless innings in relief.
But the Dodgers were dangerously teetering on the brink of playing golf next week. Starter Dustin May could not answer the call as the red haired fireballer lasted only two innings. The Braves went up 2-0 early when they scored one in the first and one in the second. Freddie Freeman doubled, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly. The Braves got another run in the next frame when Dansby Swanson walked, Nick Markakis singled, and Christian Pache singled into center to score Swanson.
The game changed in the Dodger’s favor thanks to a great defensive play by Mookie Betts in the bottom of the third. Joe Kelly was on the mound and giving everyone another heart attack. Consecutive singles from Marcell Ozuna and d’Arnaud put two on with none out. A ground out from Albies sent the runners to second and third. Swanson smacked a shallow liner to right field. Mookie Betts charged in and made an excellent shoestring catch. He then fired the ball to the plate but Ozuna tagged up from third to score, seemingly giving the Braves a three-run lead. Or did he? The Dodgers challenged the play claiming he left third too early. Replays confirmed that he did and the Dodgers got out of the inning with a double play.
NLCS Game 5
Dodgers 7 9 0
Braves 3 7 0
That was a huge turning point in the game. Atlanta reliever A.J. Minter tossed three scoreless innings before coming out for Tyler Matzek. Corey Seager hit a solo shot in the top of the fourth to cut the Braves lead to 2-1. The score would remain 2-1 until the top of the sixth. With Shane Greene now on the mound for Atlanta, Betts leads off with a single. After a fly out, a force out, Max Muncy worked a clutch walk to put two on with two outs. In comes lefty Will Smith to pitch to the Dodger’s Will Smith. It’s the Will Smith vs. Will Smith matchup we’ve been waiting for. Our Will Smith won the battle as Smith the catcher launched a massive home run into the left field seats and put the Dodgers ahead 4-2. The Dodger dugout went wild as Dodger fam celebrated.
Pedro Baez gave the Dodgers some good outs as well before the Dodgers added three more in the top of the seventh. Chris Taylor doubled, Mookie Betts singled and then Seager crushes his second home run of the game to put the Dodgers up by a 7-2 score. The Dodgers and Victor Gonzalez got a huge double play off of the bat of Pache in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the lead. Brusdar Graterol allowed a run in the bottom of the eighth but escaped the inning striking out Ozzie Albies. In the bottom of the ninth, Kenley Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 inning striking out the side to end the game. The Dodgers win!
Now the Dodgers have to beat Max Fried if they are going to advance to the World Series. Walker Buehler is tasked with keeping the Dodgers alive and getting them to a game 7. It’ll be all hands on deck tomorrow. No pressure or anything Dodgers.