The Los Angeles Dodgers erased an early deficit and slugged their way to an 11-2 blowout win over the Atlanta Braves to force a Game 6 in the National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers’ lineup featured several changes for the must-win contest, including Chris Taylor shifting over to third base in place of the injured Justin Turner. Taylor put up a historic performance as he went 4-for-5 with three home runs and six RBI.
With a left-hander in Max Fried on the mound for the Braves, AJ Pollock and Albert Pujols also received starts. For Pollock, it was his first time in the lineup since Game 2, and he responded by hitting two home runs of his own and driving in four runs.
“Just playing for the guys in whatever role is asked of me. That’s pretty much it,” Pollock said after the Dodgers’ 11-2 win. “We needed guys to come up big.
“We got down two runs early in a game like that where we could have gone flat, and I think it just pretty much says what kind of fight we have on this team.”
The start of Game 5 couldn’t have gone worse for the Dodgers as they fell into an early 2-0 hole before even taking their first at-bats and lost Joe Kelly to a season-ending right biceps strain.
Pollock credited his teammates for bouncing back and keeping their postseason hopes alive. “You need to regroup. We did a great job, I think. Put our head down and just put good at-bats together,” he said of the club battling back.
“You’re facing their ace too, so you got a really good pitcher on the mound. That’s it. You get a couple things to go your way, and our bullpen’s been so good.
“You have some people that have bullpen games and they’re not confident about it. That’s not us. We were very confident in our bullpen. They have done so many bullpen games this year and completely just won the game for us. So we knew they were going to keep it close.”
Pollock explains Dodgers’ offensive inconsistencies
The Dodgers’ 11-run outburst was their most in any postseason contest this year and came on the heels of mustering just two runs in Game 4. “A lot of it is baseball,” Pollock said of the Dodgers’ offensive inconsistencies.
“Obviously there’s times where we need to do a better job of putting pressure — it’s the playoffs. You put some pressure on a pitcher and you hope for them to crack. If they don’t, you tip your cap.
“But if they do, like you see tonight, then you can get some runs. And so I think it’s a combination of us needing to do a better job of putting pressure on, but at the same time there’s other times where it is just baseball.”
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