NLCS Recap: Corey Seager, Will Smith Hit Key Home Runs To Help Dodgers Defeat Braves In Game 5

The Los Angeles Dodgers were without life early in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series but seemingly turned the tide on a Mookie Betts shoestring catch as they went on for a 7-3 win over the Atlanta Braves to stave off elimination.

The Braves using A.J. Minter as the opener of a bullpen game proved more successful than the Dodgers handing Dustin May the ball for what was expected to be a normal outing. In the first start of his professional career, Minter carved his way through the Dodgers lineup.

It afforded Braves manager Brian Snitker with the option to continue riding the hot hand, which he did for three scoreless innings. Minter allowed just one hit — a Justin Turner double with two outs in the first inning — and collected seven strikeouts.

Atlanta manufactured an early lead as Freddie Freeman’s grounder went off Max Muncy’s glove and down the right-field line for a double with one out in the first inning. Freeman then took third on an inexplicable passed ball and two batters later scored on a Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly.

Dansby Swanson’s leadoff walk and singles by Nick Markakis and Cristian Pache extended the Braves’ lead to 2-0 in the second inning, which was May’s last. The Braves had an opportunity to continue adding to it but a baserunning mistake by Marcell Ozuna cost them in the third.

With runners on second and third and one out, Betts came charging in to catch a blooper. He double-clutched a throw to home plate, allowing Ozuna to beat the tag easily. However, the Dodgers appealed to third base and wound up being correct as a challenge of the play showed Ozuna left the bag early.

Corey Seager’s leadoff homer in the fourth inning cut the Dodgers’ deficit in half and it was in the sixth that they got to the Braves bullpen. Max Muncy worked Will Smith for a walk, not offering any of the six pitches he saw.

The Dodgers’ Smith took a similar approach before swinging at the sixth pitch of his at-bat, lifting a go-ahead home run to left field. Then a Braves challenge on a called hit by pitch backfired as Chris Taylor returned to the plate and ended his at-bat with a two-out double.

It sparked a rally as Betts followed with a run-scoring single for his first RBI of the NLCS, and Seager slugged his second home run of the game to provide the Dodgers with insurance. The multi-homer game was Seager’s first of his career in the postseason.

The Braves scored a run in the eighth inning before L.A. finished out their win.

NLCS Game 6 start time

With the Houston Astros fighting back from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series to force the Tampa Bay Rays to a Game 7, the Dodgers and Braves will play Game 6 of the NLCS at 1:38 p.m. PT on Saturday.

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