Will Smith’s Three-Run Homer Sparks Dodger Win in Game 5

A three-run homer in the top of the sixth by Dodgers’ catcher Will Smith off of Atlanta lefty reliever Will Smith sparked a 7-3 Dodger win and kept the Los Angeles season alive, forcing a Game 6 in the NLCS.

The game seemed to turn when Mookie Betts caught a ball an inch off the ground in the bottom of the third inning. Betts then double-clutched and threw home, but Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna was called out after a replay review due to leaving third base early.

In the earlier innings of the game, the Dodger offense looked like they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Braves pitcher A.J. Minter started his first game since college and struck out seven batters over three innings of work. Dodger starter Dustin May only pitched two innings, allowing two earned runs. After the Betts catch, Corey Seager hit his first homer of the night to cut the lead to 2-1.

The game remained at 2-1 until the top of the sixth inning. Betts led off the frame with an infield single, then later stole second base. Justin Turner then hit a sharp grounder, but right at Braves’ second baseman Ozzie Albies. Albies threw to third base catching Betts in a rundown, but he remained long enough in the pickle to allow Turner to reach second. Max Muncy worked a walk allowing the Will Smith vs. Will Smith matchup we all wanted to see. The Will Smith in Blue prevailed, crushing a three-run homer to left-center field.

Pedro Baez came in and pitched a quick sixth inning. In the top of the seventh inning, Chris Taylor appeared to be hit by a pitch, but after a replay review, it was determined that the ball hit the knob of his bat. So, Taylor got another chance and hit a two-out double. Betts then singled Taylor home and Seager hit his second homer of the game.

Dodger left-hander Victor Gonzalez came in and after a couple of walks, induced a nice double play and a flyout to get out of the jam. Muncy then was robbed of a home run in the top of eighth by Braves center fielder Cristian Pache.

One thing about Globe Life Field is that a number of fly balls seem to be headed for the second deck off the bat, but eventually die down at the warning track. I’ve personally never seen that happen so often at any other ballpark.

Taylor seemed to hurt his ankle after throwing the ball to second on a Freddie Freeman ground ball to the outfield. Brusdar Graterol then came in relief and the Braves surrendered a run on an RBI groundout.

Kenley Jansen threw a spotless ninth, allowing the Dodgers to hold on for a 7-3 win.

Walker Buehler is the presumptive starter tomorrow. The Dodgers hope he can eat some innings, as the bullpen pitched a heavy load today. Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen, Baez, Gonzalez, Graterol, and Jansen all pitched out of the bullpen today. With no traveling in the series and having no days off adds another factor of fatigue.

Buehler will most likely face Braves lefty Max Fried in a Game 1 rematch Saturday afternoon. Fried was outstanding his first time out, striking out nine batters and only allowing one run and four hits over six innings. Buehler pitched five innings, striking out seven, but also walking five, allowing one run.

Taking it one game at a time, Dodges accomplished their goal for Game 5. They will look to force a Game 7 as they yet again face elimination.

Game 6 is set to begin Saturday at 1:38 p.m. Pacific.

7 thoughts on “Will Smith’s Three-Run Homer Sparks Dodger Win in Game 5

  1. It was a great at bat by Will Smith against Will Smith for sure and Mookie keeps getting much deserved praise and credit, but it’s Corey Seager that is really been the offensive star. JT also seems to be starting to hit. They need more from Bellinger, who really needs to adjust by moving off the plate a little.
    The bullpen had a nice turn around from game 4 and Jansen looked great striking out the side. I was watching pitch tracking while watching the game, and it showed he was mixing in some sinkers with his cutter? I don’t recall sinkers being part of his repertoire? Anyway, a great win and let’s hope the offense carries over for today and that Buehler can go at least 6 or 7 quality innings.

    1. They weren’t sinkers. He was throwing 4-seam fastballs with his cutter. The cutter was around 89 and the 4-seam was 93-94. Buehler is going to have to pitch the game of his life because I expect Fried to bring his best. I hope Taylor can play today because we need his, Kike’ and Pollock’s right handed bat for Fried. I hate to lose his glove but maybe just let CT3 DH.

      1. Well, the pitch tracker on MLB has them as sinkers and I just read an article on the Dodger web page that said his last pitch was a 94.2 mph sinker. Again, I am surprised because like you said it’s normally a four seam fb. In any case he looked his 9ld self.

  2. Need Walker Buehler to pitch the best game of his life today. If they can chase Fried before the 5th their bullpen is going to become a very big issue.

  3. That was the catch of the year. Betts two huge plays in two days. Buehler is getting it done. A few too many pitches for my taste, but blame it on the 2nd inning.

  4. Jose, ‘the Dodger offense looked like they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat.’ Really? A cliche that’s old and overused 100x over. Just leave it out. Then we have, ‘Brusdar Graterol then came in relief and the Braves surrendered a run on an RBI groundout.’ Graterol plays for the Braves?

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