Taylor makes history, Dodgers stay alive

LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – Chris Taylor was not playing around when he came to bat in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. 

Taylor went wild, connecting for three home runs to put the Dodgers back into the series and helping his team beat off going home early. Taylor hit home runs in the second, fifth, and seventh innings to lead the Dodgers to an 11-2 win at Dodger Stadium. 

“I was really, I wasn’t thinking too much,” Taylor said about being aggressive at the plate. “I’m in a pretty good spot right now and when you’re feeling good I think it’s more just see the ball, hit the ball.”

Taylor put himself in good company with his Superman night. He is the first Dodger to hit three home runs in a Major League Baseball playoff game since Enrique “Kiki” Hernandez did it in 2017. Other names on that list include Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth.     

“Reggie hit three, right, In the World Series? I think it was against the Dodgers, wasn’t it? Kiki did it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s up there. CT, he’s just that guy that, he’s just in the moment. He’s in the moment. 

Roberts continued, “He’s fighting, and he can hit the flare with guys on second base with two outs with the best of them and drive in a run and he can also get the head out and hit a homer. So him to hit three home runs, couldn’t be happier, and we needed him, and just he’s locked in. I was pulling for that fourth one. He wasn’t going to walk.”

Taylor’s bat came out smoking and ready to go. In the second inning. Taylor blasted a two-run home run to drown out the Braves’ early 2-0 lead. Taylor’s home run gave the Dodgers a 3-2 advantage, an edge the home team badly needed as it tried to fight off being eliminated from the postseason. 

It is the seven straight time that the Dodgers have managed to turn back the hands of elimination. Taylor said he doesn’t have an idea why the Dodgers seem to play their best in elimination games. 

“I don’t know,” remarked Taylor. “I think for us it’s always just been about winning one game and we try to keep that mentality all year, do everything we can to win tonight, and just sort of take it one day at a time.”

Taylor did his part to make sure that did not happen. Through the first five innings, Taylor had already driven in five runs thanks to two home runs and an RBI single. With no Justin Turner and Max Muncy, Roberts needed somebody to step up and bring the wood. Taylor turned out to be that guy. 

“He’s one of them,” Roberts said. “He’s one of them. The first pitch homer off Keuchel, in the World Series in 2017, the two-out hit versus Verlander was a big hit back then. You see it, he’s just had big hits time and time again in big spots.”    

The Dodgers knew what time it was when they played the Braves in Game 5 of the NLCS. The Dodgers came into the game down 3-1 in the series. The outcome of Game 5  was a no-brainer for Roberts and his ballclub. It was win or stay home. Fighting off elimination is no fun, Roberts said. 

“I guess when our backs are against the wall we play our best and fight, but that’s just not an ideal spot to be in, even right now, elimination game on Game 6, but I guess it brings out the best in us,” Roberts stated. 

After getting waxed by the Braves in Game 4, the 2020 World Series winners didn’t wait too long to put the wood to the ball. AJ Pollock got things raking, hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. 

After Albert Pujols got on base, Taylor sent a Max Fried fastball into the leftfield bleachers. Taylor kept up his hitting barrage in the third inning with an RBI single. The Dodgers used three singles in the inning to bump up their lead to 4-2. Taylor then came back in the fifth inning with his second home run on the night.  

Then with two outs in the seventh inning, Taylor went for his third four-bagger. He finished the game going 4 for 5 with six RBIs. 

“Seeing CT have a performance like this is pretty special,” Albert Pujols said. “I mean, he’s an unbelievable guy, great teammate. I had an opportunity to play against him when he was in Seattle. Now having him as my teammate, it’s pretty special. Just the preparation that he goes in day-in and day-out every day, the stuff that you guys don’t get to see, but the players get to see, that’s why he has the success that he has at the plate.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 06: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor (3) celebrates as he rounds the bases after hittting a walk-off two run home run in the 9th inning of the MLB National League Wild Card game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 6, 2021 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)