After initially struggling to get anything going offensively, the Los Angeles Dodgers flipped the script with a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning and cruised to a 10-4 win against the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
The club was held in check by Anibal Sanchez through the first five innings of the contest, mustering only one run on four hits while striking out nine times.
Max Muncy put the Dodgers on the scoreboard with a two-out solo home run in the top of the fifth, trimming the Nationals’ lead in half. It was the lone blemish on the night for Sanchez, who was replaced by Patrick Corbin in the sixth inning.
The left-hander, only three days removed from his quality start in Game 1, endured one of the rockiest outings of his career. After allowing a leadoff single to Cody Bellinger, Corbin appeared to have settled down with back-to-back strikeouts of A.J. Pollock and Corey Seager.
That’s when David Freese stepped up to the plate as a pinch-hitter, where he would once again rise to the occasion in a high-leverage postseason spot. His opposite-field single put runners at the corners with two outs, paving the way for a historic inning.
Representing the go-ahead run, Freese eventually came around to score on a two-run double by Russell Martin, giving L.A. their first lead of the game. Following their win, Bellinger raved about Freese’s long history of postseason success, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Freese is the man. He knows how to lock it in all the time. It’s really special to watch. We’ve seen it but now people who don’t get to see him are seeing it. He’s special, man.”
Muncy was similarly effusive of his veteran teammate:
“Freese, year after year he keeps performing in October. He has to be going down as one of the greatest October players of all-time. I don’t care what anyone says. He has to be.”
Despite entering the game in the sixth inning, Freese finished his night with a three-hit performance, later adding a double and another single for good measure.
Since being acquired by the Dodgers at the 2018 Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline, Freese has lived up to his reputation of being a clutch postseason performer.
He hit an overall .364/.423/.773 in 14 playoff games for the club last year, progressively improving with each series. Earlier this decade, Freese most famously guided the St. Louis Cardinals to a championship in 2011, earning NL Championship Series and World Series MVP honors for his efforts.