As Wednesday’s National League wild-card game lengthened and scores leveled, the same idea began to gain momentum in the Los Angeles Dodgers dugout — on the ninth floor, the St. Louis Cardinals on the other.
“We all thought Albert [Pujols] was going to score a home run,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. “There can be no better writing than this.”
Chris Taylor believes the same thing. But then he sees Pujol and Steven Souza Jr. line up, and Cody Bellinger walks in, and Cardinals reliever Alex Race hangs a slider on the plate. Taylor closed the pitch for a two-out, two-run walk-off homer, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 win over St. Louis and pushing their division-rivals into a much-anticipated NL Division Series showdown against San Francisco. Gave. Giants.
It was a good result for the Dodgers team, being humiliated in the wake of Max Munshi’s bizarre elbow injury.
Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP, went through a grueling struggle in 2021, ending the regular season with a .165/.240/.302 slash line in the 350-seat player. But he reached base three times and stole second base twice, corresponding to a Dodgers season. Two outs, none, and the score still tied at 1 in the ninth, Bellinger face left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland and his second walk job set up an unfavorable matchup for Cardinals manager Mike Shields.
Bellinger has played a .208-based percentage against the Left this season, an embarrassing 134 points above the major league average. In that case, the combination of the plate’s presence was a sign that he was probably finally feeling well again.
“Right now, it’s time to forget you,” Bellinger said. “Just move on the season after season, help this team win as much as they can.”
Taylor was an All-Star for the first time this year, but batted only .121/.212/.190 in his last 22 regular-season games, suffered a neck injury at the end of that stretch, and didn’t either. was the lineup when his team won. The home game lacked a premier bat. Instead, Taylor entered the defense in the seventh inning, caught a sliding left field with a runner in the eighth, and came on in the ninth to send the 53,193 Dodgers into a frenzy in the stadium crowd.
Taylor became the first player to run a walk-off home run after the season in a game that started on the bench in 2012 after Jose Lobaton worked with the Tampa Bay Race.
“The sport respects you,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “He wanted to be there tonight, but he was ready when he was called.”
The 106-winner Dodgers will also be without Clayton Kershaw during this postseason, but his pitching has begun well. Walker Bühler will be given full rest to start Game 1 of the NLDS at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Friday, and Julio Uriás, who was hot for the 10th inning, turned a wild-card game extra after Saturday’s game. Max Scherzer, who struggled through a spotty command on Wednesday to record one run and 1 13 outs, could be ready for a complete rest for Game 3 on Monday.
The recent contribution from Bellinger and Taylor adds to the optimism that promises to be a tough series against the 107-winning Giants, allowing Roberts to play Taylor and Bellinger at the center and the lineup fielding perfectly. come close. Force.
As play continued below 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Scherzer sat next to Joe Kelly—the man who had relieved Scherzer, pulled the Dodgers out of a two-on-one, one-out jam in the fifth— And made another prediction. He said Bellinger would run and Taylor would run with a home run, although Sherja was driving a fastball onto the ground opposite Taylor as he pulled the slider to the left.
“I had that vision for him,” Scherzer said of Taylor. “I played with him and faced him and saw it all. That’s it, he did.”