LOS ANGELES (AP) – Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer at the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers over St. Louis. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Wednesday night in the NL wild-card game.
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The 106-winning Dodgers advanced to a best-of-five division series against the NL West champion Giants, who won 107 games for barely holding on to rival Los Angeles for the division title. Game 1 is Friday night in San Francisco.
“It will be fun. Yes, two of the best records in the normal season ever. We have been fighting all year, so I expect a tough fight, ”said Taylor.
The sales volume of 53,193 hung on each lane as the excitement of a draw was built from the fourth inning. Fans waved blue towels and vainly called on the few balls launched in the outfield, only to see them caught in a win-take-all matchup between two of the most staged and successful National League franchises.
Cody Bellinger pulled a two-out walk from TJ McFarland and stole second in the ninth as almost every fan was on his feet waiting to see if the defending world champions could win a victory. Alex Reyes came in to meet Taylor, who sent a 2-1 wrestling ball into the left field pavilion and unleashed an explosion of cheers.
“Honestly, I was just trying to hit a single. Not trying to do too much, ”Taylor said after hitting the fourth walk-off homer in Dodger’s post-season history. “And he gave me a good slider to hit, and I could get it up in the air.”
Tommy Edman dropped an one-out single in right off closer Kenley Jansen to the top of the ninth and stole second. Paul Goldschmidt took a so-called third strike, and Tyler O’Neill went down swinging to end the threat.
Both teams had runners on in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but could not push a race across.
St. Louis finished 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 overall.
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The dueling aces Adam Wainwright from St. Louis and the Dodgers’ Max Scherzer struggled with their control early in just the second win-take-all match in the season’s history with two starting edges aged 37. Wainwright is 40; Scherzer is 37.
They sent out two trips each time through the first three innings. Scherzer’s wild course led to a race in the first, and he hit Harrison Bader in the fourth.
Justin Turner equalized it to 1 in the fourth on a leadoff solo shot into the Dodgers bullpen on the left. It was the first homer Wainwright has ever given up on a curveball in the off-season. Turner’s 13 post-season homers are the most in franchise history.
St. Louis led 1-0 as Edman scored on Scherzer’s wild course. Edman single-handedly led, stealing second base and taking third as O’Neill headed right.
Scherzer left with one out in the fifth after giving up a leadoff single to Edman and a walk to Goldschmidt. He walked into the exhaust with his hands on his hips. Former
Cardinal Joe Kelly came out of the jam after Goldschmidt reached third place on Kelly’s wild course.
Scherzer allowed one run and three strokes, knocked out four and went three against his hometown team.
Wainwright gave up one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He hit five and went two.
The Dodgers had Wainwright on the ropes in the third and loaded the bases with one out. He was inside a ball to go in the tie-breaker before Trea Turner broke his bat ground in an inning-ending double play on a 3-2 pitch.
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