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Dodgers' Chris Taylor Calls 3-HR Game 5 Performance vs. Braves 'Surreal'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 22, 2021

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Chris Taylor said even he was caught off guard by his three home runs in Thursday night's Game 5 win over the Atlanta Braves to keep the team's season alive.

Taylor recorded four hits in five at-bats to drive in six runs as part of the Dodgers' 11-2 rout of the Braves to trim their National League Championship Series deficit to 3-2.

"It's definitely a surreal feeling," Taylor told reporters. "I never thought I was going to hit three homers in a game, let alone a postseason game."

The air was initially taken out of Dodger Stadium on Thursday as L.A. was facing elimination and Atlanta superstar Freddie Freeman drilled a two-run homer in the first inning to grab an early lead.

With emerging Braves ace Max Fried, one of MLB's best pitchers since the All-Star break, on the mound and the Dodgers leaning on a bullpen game, it appeared the Dodgers' season was in danger.

Instead, Taylor came to the rescue with a little help from left fielder AJ Pollock, who homered twice, and the Los Angeles bullpen shut down the Braves' offense after the opening frame to send the series back to Atlanta.

"You gotta take the lows with the highs," Taylor said. "Everything gets amplified in the postseason. And it's a game of failures. You're going to make mistakes. And then there's moments like tonight where that's what makes it worth it. That's why you just put your head down and keep moving forward."

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If the NLCS script sounds familiar, it's because the series is following an eerily similar path to last year.

In the 2020 NLCS, the Braves held 2-0 and 3-1 series advantages over the Dodgers and took an early 2-0 lead in Game 5 before L.A. stormed back to stun Atlanta in seven games. It went on to win the World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Now, with Los Angeles aiming for a repeat performance, manager Dave Roberts said he was impressed with his club's response to the back-against-the-wall situation.

"I saw fight," Roberts said. "I saw fight."

While the Dodgers will have to win the final two games on the road, they have their top two starters, Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler, lined up to bolster the comeback chances.

Game 6, which will feature a pitching matchup of Scherzer vs. the Braves' Ian Anderson, is set for Saturday night.

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