We’re still alive! The Dodgers are still breathing, although barely as the club finally broke through offensively for the first time in the series. The Dodgers down 3-1 in the series and on the verge of being sent home, staved off elimination with a commanding 6-4 win to send the series back to St. Louis for a game 6 on Friday night. Despite having to squelch a late rally from the Cardinals, the Dodgers held on to push the series back to Busch Stadium. The Dodgers needed every one of their six runs scored.
The Dodgers used four home runs in the game, (two of them from Gonzo) and another solid Greinke start to force a game 6 of the 2013 NLCS. Greinke was shaky in the beginning, having to wiggle out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the first. After giving up two bloop singles, and a walk, Greinke whiffed Matt Adams, and got Yadier Molina to ground into a double play. Give Greinke a David Copperfield award for that magic.
Once Greinke copperfield’d his way out of the first inning, he settled down to allow just two runs in seven frames. Greinke allowed just six hits, walking one, and whiffing four in those seven solid frames. Greinke’s mound counterpart, right handed glasses wearing rookie Joe Kelly wasn’t nearly as sharp this time around. After the young hurler limited the Dodgers to just two runs in the first game, was tagged for four runs on seven hits through five frames. Kelly allowed three home runs, and whiffed three.
The Dodgers scored two runs in the second inning to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. They used four singles in the inning from Gonzalez, Puig, Uribe and Greinke. Uribe, and Greinke’s were of the run scoring variety.
The Cardinals rallied for two runs in the top of the third to tie it at 2-2. A Carpenter single, and then a Beltran triple off the top of the center field wall brought in the first run for the Red Birds. An RBI double from Matt Holliday tied the game at 2-2.
The Dodgers retook the lead for good on a monster solo home run from Adrian Gonzalez. His first of the game as he did the mickey mouse ears while walking back to the dugout. With the score 3-2, Carl Crawford homered in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 4-2 game. A.J. Ellis’s homer made it a 5-2 game, and Gonzo’s second blast in the eighth made it 6-2 Dodgers. Hanley played through his rib pain and was 0 for 3 before being lifted for Punto in the seventh inning.
But things are never that easy are they? Just when you thought the game was in hand, Kenley Jansen picked a fine time to pull a Tom Niedenfuer impersonation. Although Puig lost a ball in the sun on a lazy pop fly. Holliday’s fly ball was dropped and rolled past Puig into right. Adams singled to score Holliday to make it a 6-3 game. Singles from Jay and Kozma pulled the Cardinals to within two runs at 6-4. Thank god Jansen whiffed Molina and Adron Chambers to end the game. My nerves are shot right now, but we’re still alive, and this will not be my final recap of the season. I hope. Let’s recap how the game played out.
The Dodgers start the game terribly, as the Cardinals load the bases with none out in the first, but somehow, almost magically, Zack Greinke and the Dodgers wiggle out of it. Matt Carpenter starts the top of the first with a blooper into left. Carlos Beltran draws a walk, and another bloop single to left from Matt Holliday loads the bases for the Cardinals. Despite Carl Crawford’s diving attempt in left. Greinke is able to escape. He whiffs big Matt Adams for the first out, and gets Yadier Molina to ground into a bouncing 5-3 double play to end the inning. Greinke deserves the David Copperfield award for that one.
Joe Kelly, the glasses wearing rookie retires the Dodgers in order as per script. Carl Crawford meekly grounds out. Mark Ellis’s rope is caught by a leaping pete Kozma, and the hobbled Hanley whiffs on a called third strike. Greinke’s second frame is a lot better than his first. He pitches a perfect 123 frame, getting Jon Jay to whiff, and retiring Kozma, and David Freese.
The Dodgers threaten, and eventually plate two runs in the bottom of the second. Adrian Gonzalez leads off with a single. After Andre Ethier flied to left, Yasiel Puig singled to right, with put runners at first and second. Juan Uribe’s bouncing single up the middle scores Gonzo from second to get the Dodgers on the board early, with a 1-0 lead. A.J. Ellis fouls out to shallow right, as Carpenter has to turn his back to the diamond to make the catch. Puig takes advantage and tags up to third on the foul pop. With two outs, Greinke smacks a base hit past the diving Kozma into left field. Puig easily scores, to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Crawford whiffs for the final out as the Cardinals had activity in their bullpen.
The Cardinals tie it up in the top of the third however. With one out, Carpenter singles, and a booming run scoring triple off the top of the center field wall from Carlos Beltran scores Carpenter to make it a 2-1 Dodger lead. The ball was just a foot away from going out, and landed just inches above the leaping glove of Ethier. Things got worse when Holliday doubled home Beltran to tie the game at 2-2. Adams singled Holliday to third, but Greinke got Molina to ground into his second double play of the game to preserve the tie.
The Dodgers broke that tie in the bottom half of the third. M.Ellis actually opened the frame with a single, but was erased on a double play grounder form Hanley. An Angry Hanley slams the Gatorade in the Dodger dugout in frustration. Gonzo then crushes a ball into the right field pavilions, to put the Dodgers up 3-2! That’s the Dodgers first home run of the series if you can believe that.
Greinke and the Dodgers preserved the lead in the top of the fourth. Jon Jay’s deep drive to center is caught at the wall by Ethier. Freese grounds out, and Komza’s deep drive to center is another tough play for Ethier, who catches it on the run for the third out.
Both pitchers exchange scoreless innings in the bottom of the fourth, and the top of the fifth, and we go into the bottom half of the fifth, with the Dodgers still holding onto a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Crawford leads-off with a massive blast halfway into the right field pavilions. Dodgers go up 4-2! After M.Ellis flies out, and Hanley’s grounder ends the frame.
Greinke retires the side in order in the top of the sixth. The third out on a whiff of Molina, which gives him four whiffs in the game. In the bottom of the sixth, former Dodger and big iguana enters to retire the Dodger lefties of the inning, getting Gonzo, and Ethier to make out. He’s quickly lifted and in comes Edwards Mujica to retire Puig and the Dodgers lead 4-2 after six frames.
Greinke in what figured to be his final inning of work, retires the Cards in order. He gets Kozma, Freese, and Jay on ground balls. Time to stretch at Dodger Stadium. In the bottom of the seventh, with Mujica still on the mound, A.J blasts a one-out solo home run to left to extend the Dodger’s lead to 5-2! With two outs in the inning, rookie Kevin Siegrist has to come in and get the last out, which he does by whiffing Crawford. 5-2 Dodgers after seven frames.
Since Michael Young pinch-hit for Greinke in the bottom of the seventh, it meant his day was over. If this is Greinke’s last start of the year, I want to thank Zack for a great courageous year. Brian Wilson replaces on the mound for the top of the eighth.
John Axford came into pitch the bottom of the eighth. After he retired the first two hitters in the frame, Gonzo belted his second home run of the day, a line drive shot down the right field line into the corner box seats. That makes the score 6-2 Dodgers.
Kenley Jansen enters in the top of the ninth. Puig loses Holliday’s pop fly to right in the sun, and Holliday ends up at second base on the play. A single from Adams scores Holliday to make the game 6-3. Jansen whiffs Molina for the first out, but a single from Jay sends Adams to second. Freese whiffs for the second out. But Komza’s single to right scores Adams to make the score 6-4. Now we’re worried. The Dodgers have a coaching visit on the mound to try and calm Kenley down. Finally Kenley whiffs pinch-hitter Adron Chambers for the final out. Dodgers win 6-4, and stay alive to fight another day!
Before I sign off for the day, here are some interesting stats. Apparently this was the first time ever in the postseason that the Dodgers have hit four home runs in a playoff game. The Cardinals are now 0-7 in LCS play after taking a 3-1 series lead. (0-3 in 1996, 0-3 in 2012, and now 0-1 this year). This will be the first game 6 in a playoff series for the Dodgers since 1988. Hopefully this will mess with their heads while the series shifts back to the midwest.
Breathe a sigh of relief Dodger fans. This series is not over yet. The Dodgers will wait until tomorrow afternoon to fly to St. Louis in order to have an extra night to be with their families. The pitching match-up will be a rematch of game 2. Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers will counter Michael Wacha for the Cardinals at 5:37 on Friday night. Once again the game will be broadcast on TBS. Just two wins away from a pennant. We can do this! I hope…. Go Blue!