After many considered them “back in the series” with a win in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers quickly found themselves back up against the wall following a Game 4 loss.
The Game 4 result left the Dodgers entering Game 5 at Chavez Ravine trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The sense of urgency was enough to power Dodger hitters to four home runs en route to a 6-4 victory.
It took five games for the Dodgers to finally hit their first home run in the NLCS. With Hanley Ramirez clearly suffering from the hairline fracture in his rib, Adrian Gonzalez broke the home run seal with a solo shot in the third inning.
Gonzalez followed that up with another home run in the eighth inning. He finished 3-for-4 with the two solo home runs and three runs scored.
Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis also chipped in with solo home runs. Crawford hit his in the fifth inning and Ellis’ came in the eighth. For Crawford, it was his fourth home run in the 2013 postseason — nearly matching the six he hit during the regular season.
Facing the pressure of an elimination game, Zack Greinke earned every bit of his six-year, $147 million contract.
Greinke worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first inning, which gave the Dodgers momentum as quickly as they nearly lost it.
Not content with holding the Cardinals to zero runs in the first inning scare, Greinke took it upon himself to garner run support with a two-out RBI single in the second inning, pushing the Dodger lead to 2-0.
Greinke pitched seven innings before giving way to Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen, a duo that has only allowed 10 hits and two runs in the postseason.
Similar to their Game 3 win, the Dodgers are back in the series and have shifted some pressure back on the Cardinals.
Prior to Game 5, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he found solace in sending Greinke to the mound, someone he called “one of the best pitchers in baseball.”
He followed that up by saying should they pull out a win, “I’ve probably got the best pitcher in baseball pitching the next day.”
Greinke validated Mattingly’s belief by turning in his second consecutive strong performance. If Clayton Kershaw can follow suit and the Dodgers can provide run support for their ace, it would set the stage for a winner-take-all Game 7.
NLCS schedule and probables
Game 6: Friday, October 18, Busch Stadium: Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 0.47 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (2-0, 0.64 ERA) 5:30 p.m. PDT.
*Game 7: Saturday, October 19, Busch Stadium: Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (2-1, 1.57 ERA) 5:30 p.m. PDT.