Photo by Mercury News
Los Angeles, CA -- An elimination game no more, the Dodgers force a game six in St. Louis. L.A. opened up their bats to dominate the Cardinals with a 6-4 win and stay alive in the National League Championship Series.
The San Francisco Giants did the impossible last October and rallied back from being down 3-1 in the NLCS to beat St. Louis and win the World Series. The Dodgers are hoping to accomplish the same feat this Friday.
"They were up, 3-1 last year and they lost it," said Adrian Gonzalez. "We're looking to do the same thing that happened last year."
L.A. hit a total of four home runs, Gonzalez hit two and both Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis went yard as well. The Dodgers tied a franchise postseason record, set in the 1977 World Series and 1978 NLCS. They had gone homeless in the first four games in the series.
"We need to think about it as a one-game Super Bowl," Ellis said. "We've got the best pitcher in baseball going Friday, but they've already beaten him once. They have great pitching. We've still got to climb a mountain, but we're a little closer than at the beginning of the day. We still have a long way to go.
The champagne will remain on ice after St. Louis failed to clinch in LA. They still hold the edge while heading back home up 3-2. But you have to wonder if things were different in that first inning, would the outcome be the same.
Zach Greinke loaded the bases with no outs after giving up two singles and free pass. But he struck out Matt Adams and Yadier Molina grounded out to third baseman Juan Uribe to first baseman Adrian [Gonzalez] to end the threat unscathed.
"We're OK, Carls Beltran said. "We have a one-game lead. We weren't expecting to come here and have it easy. That's why they're here. They are a good ball club. We have to give credit to them. We have to battle, we have to find ways to get it done."
"You've got to have the timely hits," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "We put some guys on base in that opportunity. You don't get many when you face top-tier pitchers. We had a couple opportunities to do something and just couldn't make it happen. Those usually come back to haunt you, and today they did."
St.Louis tried to rally back in the ninth scoring two runs after Matt Holiday sparked the offense with a leadoff double. But closer Kenley Jansen struck out Molina, Jon Jay hit a single to right field and Pete Kozma was the possible tying run with a RBI single. Jansen struck out Adron Chambers to end the game.
The Dodgers like their chances when their ace Clayton Kershaw and NL Cy Young front-runner takes the mound on Friday. Their backs are to the wall yet they still believe the game is in their hands. Brian Wilson knows this situation all too well after all, he was apart of San Francisco's success last season in October.
"You always feel good with Kersh on the mound," Mark Ellis said. "He's the best pitcher in the National League. It's do or die, we don't want to go home. We want to keep playing. We feel like we have a good thing going on here. We want it. We want it bad."
Wilson recovered from Tommy John surgery last year and traveled with the team back to St.Louis to witness a comeback no one expected. The game Barry Zito pitched changed the momentum of the series for the Giants. L.A. hopes to have the same luck when they travel back to St. Louis Thursday.
"Absolutely, because there's no panic on our part," said Brian when asked about that turnaround. "We're not the ones up in the series right now. There can be a little bit of panic settling in. I can't speak for the other team; I can only assume. This is a particular situation that [the Cardinals] were in last year."