Chris Taylor put together a historic performance that led the Los Angeles Dodgers in keeping their postseason run alive behind an 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers have won seven consecutive elimination games.
Joe Kelly was tabbed to start a bullpen game for the Dodgers but he failed to make it out of the first inning due to right bicep tightness. Prior to exiting with the injury, Kelly surrendered a two-run home run to Freddie Freeman.
The Dodgers falling into an early deficit sapped plenty of energy out of Dodger Stadium, but AJ Pollock injected some life with a leadoff home run in the second inning.
That marked the start of trouble for Max Fried, as Albert Pujols followed with a base hit and Taylor gave the Dodgers a lead with a two-run home run.
The aforementioned trio came together again when singles by Pollock and Pujols set the table for Taylor to extend the L.A. lead with an RBI base hit. Taylor delivered again in the fifth inning with a two-run homer, and punctuated his night in the seventh with a third blast.
Taylor’s three-home run game was the first by a Dodgers player in the postseason since Kiké Hernandez in Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS. Taylor additionally joined Davey Lopes (1978) and Hernandez (2017) as players in Dodgers franchise history with at least two home runs and five RBI in a single postseason game.
Pollock, Pujols and Taylor combined to go 9-for-14 with five home runs and 10 RBI. Pollock’s three-run home run in the eighth inning completely broke the game open.
A planned bullpen game again worked wonders for the Dodgers, with Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol in particular standing out. Graterol was effective and efficient over his two innings of work, which Blake Treinen followed by tossing a pair of scoreless frames to get the game to the eighth.
Will Dodgers replace Kelly?
In forcing the NLCS to at least a Game 6 on Saturday, the Dodgers may face a decision with Kelly. Removing the right-hander would make him ineligible if L.A. advances to the World Series.
David Price, Andre Jackson, Darien Nuñez and Mitch White conceivably would be among the candidates to possibly replace Kelly.
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