Dodgers Video: Joc Pederson Home Run Sparks Rally In NLDS Game 5
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Los Angeles Dodgers relied on the unprecedented combination of Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw for three innings out of the bullpen, they first needed to break through against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

Scherzer, who called the start the biggest of his career, had his changeup working and was sharp throughout the night. The Dodgers’ first baserunner came on a Yasmani Grandal leadoff walk in the fourth.

Scherzer induced a double play and groundout to get out of the inning on seven pitches. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, the Dodgers at last managed to get to the 20-game winner.

Joc Pederson and Josh Reddick combined for back-to-back singles with nobody out, and Andrew Toles’ flare single loaded the bases with one out. But Scherzer wiggled out of the jam by striking out pinch-hitter Andre Ethier and getting Chase Utley to ground out.

The Dodgers’ frustrations came to an end in the seventh when Pederson led off the inning with an opposite-field, game-tying home run. “Scherzer was throwing the ball great,” Pederson told MLB Network’s Scott Braun.

“He’s always given me trouble. I honestly tried to hit a groundball to shortstop. I was able to get on top of that high spin rate and backspin the ball. What a feeling.”

Marc Rzepczynski immediately took over and walked Grandal. In came Mark Treinen, who gave up a broken-bat single to Howie Kendrick.

After striking out Charlie Culberson on a failed bunt attempt, Treinen was replaced by Sammy Solis. The left-handed reliever allowed a go-ahead single to pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz. Nationals manager Dusty Baker called on yet another reliever, Shawn Kelley, but he failed to record the final out of the inning.

Justin Turner drove a two-run triple off the center-field wall to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 4-1. The top of the seventh inning lasted more than 30 minutes:

The six pitchers the Nationals used in the seventh set a postseason record for most in a single inning. Pederson’s home run was the first in a winner-take-all Dodgers postseason game since Rick Monday’s against the Montreal Expos in Game 5 of the 1981 NL Championship Series.