Chris Taylor's Heroic 3-HR Effort Helps Dodgers Force NLCS Game 6 vs. Braves

Doric SamOctober 22, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor is congratulated after his two-run home run in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of baseball's National League Championship Series Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Los Angeles. Pujols scored on the hit. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Los Angeles Dodgers recovered from an early two-run deficit to top the Atlanta Braves 11-2 and stay alive in the National League Championship Series.

The Dodgers have third baseman Chris Taylor to thank, as he ignited the offense with three home runs and six RBI in the Game 5 win as Los Angeles pulled the series to 3-2.

Los Angeles Dodgers @Dodgers

A TAYLOR-MADE GAME FOR CHRIS. <a href="https://t.co/sNc1K9HVOy">pic.twitter.com/sNc1K9HVOy</a>

Taylor became the first player in MLB postseason history with three home runs in an elimination game.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Chris Taylor is the 1st player in MLB postseason history with a 3-HR game when facing elimination.<br><br>This is also the 12th 3-HR game all-time in MLB postseason history and the 2nd by a Dodger (Enrique Hernandez had a 3-HR game for LAD in Game 5 of 2017 NLCS vs CHC). <a href="https://t.co/tOyEPTem50">pic.twitter.com/tOyEPTem50</a>

Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock also had himself a big day with two home runs and four RBI, adding an exclamation point to the victory with a three-run shot in the eighth.

Los Angeles Dodgers @Dodgers

AJ ENERGY. <a href="https://t.co/3LWO76Xnmf">pic.twitter.com/3LWO76Xnmf</a>

It's the Dodgers' seventh straight win when facing elimination dating back to last season. The Braves were on the verge of going to their first World Series since 1999, but Taylor and the Dodgers denied them for one more night at least.

Notable Performers

Dodgers 3B Chris Taylor: 4-for-5, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R

Dodgers LF AJ Pollock: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R

Dodgers 1B Albert Pujols: 2-for-4, 2 R

Braves 1B Freddie Freeman: 1-for-4, 2-run HR

Chris Taylor's Historic Performance Lifts Dodgers

Chris Taylor put on a show in front of the home crowd at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night.

Taylor launched a two-run homer in the second, hit an RBI single in the third, and blew the game open with another two-run blast in the fifth before following with a solo shot in the seventh.

Los Angeles Dodgers @Dodgers

GO AHEAD, CHRIS. <a href="https://t.co/GTOIbDgDqg">pic.twitter.com/GTOIbDgDqg</a>

MLB Stats @MLBStats

Chris Taylor joins Johnny Damon (2004, ALCS Game 7) as the only players with 2+ HR and 5+ RBI in a potential elimination <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/postseason?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#postseason</a> game in the LCS or WS. <a href="https://t.co/azIfHgNrPB">pic.twitter.com/azIfHgNrPB</a>

MLB Stats @MLBStats

Chris Taylor is the 3rd player in <a href="https://twitter.com/Dodgers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Dodgers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/postseason?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#postseason</a> history with 2+ HR and 5+ RBI in a game.<br><br>KikΓ© Hernandez 2017 (NLCS Game 5)<br>Davey Lopes 1978 (WS Game 1) <a href="https://t.co/YAeu7wuvIt">pic.twitter.com/YAeu7wuvIt</a>

Taylor now has nine RBI in elimination games this year, the most by any Dodgers player and third-most ever in a single postseason.

Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

Chris Taylor's 9 RBI when facing elimination this year are tied for 3rd-most in a single postseason, behind only:<br><br>1999 John Valentin: 12<br>2019 Anthony Rendon: 10

Taylor, a 2021 All-Star selection, went cold to end the regular season, but he's heating up at the perfect time for the Dodgers.

Jayson Stark @jaysonst

Chris Taylor in the last 5 weeks of the regular season:<br><br>8 for his last 72<br><br>Chris Taylor in this NLCS:<br><br>8 for 15<br><br>Baseball!

With Taylor leading the way, the Dodgers finished with 17 hits in the victory. Los Angeles hopes its bats can stay hot to help the team stave off elimination again in Game 6.

Braves Fail to Take Advantage of Dodgers' Bullpen Game

The Dodgers had a bullpen game set up for Game 5, a curious decision for an elimination game. Things went south early when Joe Kelly gave up a two-run home run to Freddie Freeman in the first inning and left the game due to right biceps tightness.

Atlanta Braves @Braves

πŸ†“πŸ’£!<a href="https://twitter.com/FreddieFreeman5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FreddieFreeman5</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BattleATL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BattleATL</a> <a href="https://t.co/6PBXI2A8rD">pic.twitter.com/6PBXI2A8rD</a>

But from there, Atlanta's batters were completely shut down by the Dodgers' relievers. The Braves managed only three hits after Freeman's home run as six pitchers combined for nine strikeouts.

Rob Friedman @PitchingNinja

Evan Phillips, Wicked 86mph Slider. 🀒 <a href="https://t.co/eefKYKsJNG">pic.twitter.com/eefKYKsJNG</a>

Bill Plunkett @billplunkettocr

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dodgers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dodgers</a> Dave Roberts said before the game he didn't expect any one pitcher to get more than 6 outs in today's bullpen game. Brusdar Graterol has just breezed through 6 batters on 14 pitches

Rob Friedman @PitchingNinja

Corey Knebel, K'ing the Side. <a href="https://t.co/e0JPb0eSjL">pic.twitter.com/e0JPb0eSjL</a>

After avoiding elimination, Los Angeles is set up nicely with ace Max Scherzer set to pitch in Game 6 and Walker Buehler ready to go in Game 7. Atlanta could regret not taking advantage of a full game without seeing a Dodgers starter.

The Braves pitched a bullpen game in their Game 4 win, so maybe they shouldn't be surprised by this result, but Atlanta's bats will have to wake up if they want to take down the defending World Series champions.

What's Next?

The NLCS will move to Atlanta for Game 6 on Saturday, Oct. 23, as the Dodgers will look to stay alive once again. Max Scherzer will take the mound for Los Angeles against Atlanta's Ian Anderson.


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