When the Los Angeles Dodgers tapped into their farm system to acquire superstar shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in July, it was with a clear eye on returning to the World Series for a second consecutive year.
On Monday, the club inched one step closer to that goal with a 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. As envisioned by the front office and Dodgers fans alike, Machado’s fingerprints were all over a clinching victory in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
He went 2-for-5 in the contest, kickstarting the club’s scoring effort with an RBI double in the first inning before icing the win with a three-run homer in the seventh. “Can’t say enough about him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“Obviously with Manny and a player of his caliber, there are so many expectations put on him. And we said it from the beginning that it’s going to take all of us to win a championship. He understands that and for him to put together some at-bats tonight, really quality at-bats, and obviously a game-changing home run.
“So you look back at this series, his two homers essentially led us to two wins. We have a lot of good players, but I can’t say enough about his focus and preparedness.”
Prior to Game 4, Machado had compiled only one hit in 12 at-bats over the first three contests of the NLDS. His lone hit to that point — a two-run blast in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium — ultimately provided enough run support for Clayton Kershaw.
After his latest home run on Monday, Machado admitted that there was no better feeling than knowing it would play a key role in helping the Dodgers advance to the NL Championship Series.
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