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Dodgers vs. Braves score: Dodgers rally with clutch homers in NLCS Game 5 to drive off

The Los Angeles Dodgers are backed against a wall in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers went on to win to extend the series and keep their season alive. The Braves got an early run and led for the first half of the game, but a big blow turned it all on. The Dodgers will prevail in the final, 7-3.

Here are some of the key stories and things to know.

The Battle of Will Smiths

The single biggest plate game appearance came in a historic battle. Dodgers catcher Will Smith came to the plate to face Braves defender Will Smith. Too bad it didn’t happen in Miami, right? Seriously, though, this is the very important moment of the game and it happened in the first ever battle in postseason history with adjacent players to face. It was 2-1

Braves with two runners and two outs. The number ran 3-2 with Smith of the pitcher just stamped inside the plate. He went inside so many times and his opponent hit the pitch in the left seats.

What is swing What is momentum swing. Let’s not discount Max Muncy working on the two-out walk in the lefty-lefty matchup to get things to Smith, but obviously the Dodgers ’Smith is the bigger hero here.

The Braves got a very good build from the relievers up to that point (we get to a second) and everyone turned around there. So, it probably started a little earlier.

Ozuna left early

Under third, the Braves caught runners in second and third with one coming out. Dansby Swanson sent a liner to the right field. Mookie Betts made a great catch shoestring – if he missed the ball, it easily scored two runs – and had a bit of a double clutch in his home throw while trying to get the handle. Marcell Ozuna beat the throwback after being tagged from third to make it 3-0, though it was temporary. Ozuna clearly left early from the third base. A review corrected the call and ended the inning. It was 2-0 instead of 3-0 with a runner in second base.

At the top of the fourth, Corey Seager’s homer to cut the deficit to 2-1. The momentum is on. Oh, talking about Mr. Seager.

Seager felt it

The thing about bullpen games is you are in danger of needing about eight rests, and there is a decent chance that one or two of them will get a tattoo. At the top of the seventh, things are a bit quirky. Chris Taylor, with two outs, was decided to hit a pitch. The Braves protested and they were right. Examination showed that the pitch hit the bottom of the bat instead of Taylor’s hand, so he was brought back to the home plate to maintain the batting. He doubled. Mookie Betts followed with a single RBI and then Corey Seager dropped the hammer on another run at home:

It was 7-2 instead of 4-2 after a big two-out rally. That was really the hallmark of this victory for the Dodgers. This is also the second homer of Seager’s game. He kills the ball all postseason and, in fact, if the Dodgers return to win this series, watch him for the NLCS MVP. He hit .400 with 1.529 OPS, four homers and 10 RBI in this series.

Minter arrived very early for the Braves

The Braves were forced to go to a bullpen game, due to the way they shaped the pitch in a seven-game series with no day off. Lefty AJ Minter has been making his first start since he built for Texas A&M. He became the first pitcher in history to begin his first major league career in a playoff game. He has not thrown even 20 pitches in a game all postseason before this game. His career high in pitches in a game was 36.

Minter threw 42 pitches into this one. He went through three injections allowing just one hit. He killed seven without a single walk. It marked a career high in strikes and he actually tied Curt Schilling for a posteason record by out five straight hitters. What is the performance of the nails to shorten the game for the remaining bullpen.

Even at a loss, Minter’s release means the Braves don’t have to burn nearly as many relievers as many have predicted.

The rest of the Dodgers are doing their job

Dodgers starter Dustin May allowed two runs (one shot) in three hits and two walks in his two innings, putting his team back while Minter was working early. The Dodgers bullpen followed by fully locking down the Braves ’strong offense to keep the door open for offense together, as it did, eventually.

  • Joe Kelly was bailed out using a double play and then the aforementioned Ozuna baserunning gaffe. But hey, he worked an unmarked inning.
  • Blake Treinen went six up / six down in two unmarked inning.
  • Pedro Baez allowed a hit in his unmarked inning while hitting the two.
  • Victor Gonzalez got three releases, even though he was charged a run.
  • Brusdar Graterol allowed his inherited runner to score on a groundout, but he got all three hitters he faced.
  • Kenley Jansen, whose main concerns have the right to attach to this posteason, struck all three hitters he faced.

In all, the Dodgers ’six rests went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits and one walk while hitting seven. Not a bad day at the office.

Upcoming wins are hard to come by

It doesn’t really mean a great scheme of things, but it does go to the fun that becomes the league championship series. The Astros have won three straight games facing offs while the Dodgers have done well, meaning the team facing the end of its season is 4-0 this round.


The series is extended to a Game 6. It will be a rematch of Game 1 with Max Fried taking the hill for a visit to the Braves against Walker Buehler of the home Dodgers. Remember Game 1? This is a doozy. The Braves got a Freddie Freeman homer in the first, the Dodgers got an Enrique Hernandez homer in the fifth and tied it, 1-1, through the ninth. Austin Riley broke the tie with a homer and the Braves finished scoring those four innings. We hope there is as much drama in Game 6. Or even in Game 5! It turned out to be a fun series and it continues on Saturday.

The CBS Sports team will be with you throughout Game 5 of the NLCS with live updates below. Feel free to scroll and bring back the lively battle between the two best NL teams.

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