The Los Angeles Dodgers won a crucial Game 5 in their last home game of this NLCS, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
Wade Miley got the start for the Brewers, although it would be an extremely brief appearance. He was coming off an impressive start in game two in which he threw 5.2 shutout innings and allowed just two hits.
Clayton Kershaw got the start for the Dodgers, once again trying to prove the doubters wrong after some recent struggles in the postseason.
Kershaw started Game 1 for the Dodgers and gave up four earned runs, six hits, and two walks in three innings of work.
The poor fielding of Yasmani Grandal during Game 1 certainly didn’t help Kershaw, but it was more fuel for critics still unconvinced Kershaw can consistently elevate his game in the playoffs. After the performance, Kershaw delivered in this pivotal Game 5, though, those jeers are going to dissipate.
Craig Counsell made some slight adjustments to his roster for this contest. Hernan Perez got the start at second base after Jonathan Schoop started at second in Game 4, and Erik Kratz got the start at catcher after Manny Pina started behind the plate in the previous affair.
Dave Roberts made some changes to the lineup he typically deploys against left-handed pitchers. Max Muncy started at second base for the first time this postseason, shifting Kike Hernandez to right field. Cody Bellinger got the start in center field despite the left-handed starting pitcher.
Miley gave up a leadoff walk to Bellinger, and Counsell immediately pulled him out of the game and put in Brandon Woodruff.
Bellinger stole second and Justin Turner was hit by a pitch, but Woodruff was able to strike out David Freese and then induce a double play off the bat of Manny Machado to escape the inning without any damage.
Kershaw walked the bases loaded with two outs, but struck out Jesus Aguilar to get out of the inning with just one run allowed.
Woodruff had issues in the bottom of the fifth when Taylor reached on an infield single and then advanced to second on a throwing error from Arcia. Taylor stole third, and with one out in the inning was brought home on a single by Austin Barnes to tie the game 1-1.
The Dodgers offense struck again in the bottom of the sixth. Turner led off the inning with a single, and with one out, Machado was hit by a pitch.
Muncy came up and singled to left, scoring Turner and moving Machado to second. That was the last batter Woodruff faced.
Corbin Burnes came into the game with Taylor due up with runners on second and first and one out. Burnes struck out Taylor, but Puig hit a line drive into center field to bring home Machado. Muncy was caught in a run-down to end the inning, but Machado had already scored, putting the Dodgers up 3-1.
Woodruff was responsible for Machado, so he ultimately finished with 5.1 innings thrown and two earned runs allowed, also giving up five hits, a walk, and striking out eight.
Burnes came out of the game after the inning ended, finishing with 0.2 innings pitched and one hit allowed.
Joakim Soria came in for the bottom of the seventh and the Dodgers pounced on him. After Barnes struck out to lead off the inning, Kershaw walked, and then Bellinger doubled, moving Kershaw to third.
Turner singled to center to drive in Kershaw and give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. Turner advanced to second on the throw home. That was it for Soria.
Xavier Cedeno was brought in to try to clean up the mess. There were runners on second and third with just one out.
Dozier hit a slow roller to third that was able to score Bellinger, although Dozier was thrown out at first. That put the Dodgers up 5-1.
Machado was intentionally walked, which put runners at first and third with two outs in the inning for Muncy. Machado stole second, which gave Muncy a huge opportunity to provide even more insurance runs for the Dodgers. Cedeno got Muncy to strike out to end the inning, though. Soria was charged for two earned runs in 0.1 innings. He also gave up two hits and a walk.
Kershaw retired the final 13 batters he faced and was pulled after seven innings in which he struck out nine, allowed just one run, three hits, and two walks.
Pedro Baez came in for the eighth inning and sat down the Brewers one-two-three to preserve the 5-1 Dodgers lead.
Zach Davies was on the hill to begin the bottom of the eighth for the Brewers and proceeded to get out of the inning with no runs despite giving up a double to Puig.
Madson got Ryan Braun to ground out but then gave up consecutive doubles to Aguilar and Granderson that made the score 5-2 Dodgers.
Kenley Jansen came in to try to get the final out with a runner on second. He succeeded, striking out Moustakas to end the game.