Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Around the horn: LA Dodgers force Game 7 after gem from Walker Buehler


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It was Will Smith vs. Will Smith that decided Game 5 between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Who won the battle?

You guessed it . . . Will Smith.

Er . . . the one with the bat from the Dodgers — that’s Will Smith from L.A. (not Will Smith, the actor, from Bel Air) — who blasted a three-run shot in the sixth inning off the Braves pitcher by the same name to keep the lads from La La Land alive in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

Smith’s homer, a patient at-bat after teammate Max Muncy sported the same approach to get a walk to follow Justin Turner’s single, put the Dodgers up for the first time in Friday’s fifth game and catapulted them to the 7-3 victory.

It kept the Dodgers alive in the hunt for the World Series they so dearly covet.

In true Dodgers fashion, they didn’t stop after the sixth-inning rally, matching the three-spot in that frame with a seventh-inning flurry. Mookie Betts singled to score Chris Taylor, and Seager blasted a two-run homer.

Early on, it was the Braves in control, after Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly scored Freddie Freeman in the first and Cristian Pache’s line-drive single plated Dansby Swanson in the second.

But the bullpen game for the Braves — starter A.J. Minter followed by Tyler Matzek, Shane Greene, Smith, Logan Webb, Josh Tomlin and — didn’t last, as Seager hit his first tater of the night to cut the two-run deficit in half in the fourth inning.

For the Dodgers, Dustin May surrendered both Braves runs — one unearned — before relievers Joe Kelly, Treinen, Baez and Victor Gonzalez kept it clean. Brusdar Graterol allowed a late RBI by d’Arnaud — a Freeman run charged to Gonzalez — to round out scoring. And struggling Jansen re-established himself as a ninth-inning force by striking out the side to slam the door on Game 5.

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