Chris Taylor and Justin Turner were named co-MVPs for the National League Championship Series, and on Tuesday night they carried the Los Angeles Dodgers to a win over the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series.
After Clayton Kershaw worked a quick 1-2-3 first inning, Taylor led off the bottom half with a home run that nearly cleared the pavilion in left field. He became the third Dodgers player to hit a leadoff home run in the postseason, joining Davey Lopes (1978 World Series) and Carl Crawford (2013 NL Division Series).
The home run was Taylor’s third this postseason, with all coming within the past six games. Dallas Keuchel settled in from there, and it allowed the Astros to tie the game in the fourth inning on Alex Bregman’s leadoff home run.
With the game still locked in a 1-1 tie, Taylor worked Keuchel for a two-out walk in the bottom of the sixth. It was the Dodgers’ first walk of the game and led to arguably their most important at-bat of the night.
Having struck out in his first at-bat, and fouling out in the fourth inning, Turner fell behind in the count, 1-2. He then turned on an elevated fastball that carried just enough to left field for a go-ahead home run that proved the difference in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win.
“My first two at-bats I was swinging a little bit bigger bat, a 34-and-a-half (ounce),” Turner explained postgame. “And I got beat in a couple of times. So I switched back to my 33-and-a-half that I normally use, a little smaller bat. Good thing I did, because I didn’t get beat in the third time.”
While Turner delivered the game-winning hit, Taylor’s impact was not lost on him. “I think CT is the hero,” Turner said.
“He got us on the board early. He drew the two-out walk, stayed in the zone and gave me the opportunity. That’s what he’s been doing for us all year long. He’s the spark plug at the top of the lineup, and when he goes, we go.”