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Will Smith, the Dodgers beat the Braves in Game 5 of the NLCS, stay alive



Will Smith against Will Smith. It was an apt battle for a moment-changing game during the Major League Baseball bout in 2020.

By running his team, Will Smith, the catcher for the Dodgers, helped continue the momentum created by the club facing the elimination. Will Smith, the left-left reliever for the Atlanta Braves, sought to be freed from trouble in the sixth inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night.

The bout ended on the sixth pitch – a 3-2, 94-mph fastball ̵

1; after Will Smith, the hitter, left three close pitches as if he knew what the other Will Smith was thinking.

The pitch is not poorly placed; dart it inside the part of the plate above the knee. But Will Smith, the hitter, waits for the location after getting four consecutive pitches inside. So, he dropped his hands and inserted the baseball.

Will Smiths both knew the outcome of the bat. The pitcher did not bother to peek. The hitter couldn’t stop looking. He watched the ball for its entire passage as he ran to the first base holding the bat. He flipped the board when the ball landed on the left wall for a three-run home run to give the Dodgers their first lead with a 7-3, victory that saves Globe Life Field.

Dodgers catcher Will Smith hit a three-run home run off Braver reliever Will Smith in Game 5 of the NLCS.

“I will always bet on our Will Smith,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Corey Seager sandwiched Smith’s power show with two home runs and three RBIs. He was the first shortstop to hit four home runs in a playoff series of any length. Mookie Betts collected two hits, drove another Dodgers run and made the game a defensive play. Six rests combined to give up a run in seven innings after Dustin May lasted just two. Kenley Jansen, the beleaguered former closer, flashed a speed increase and struck the side in the ninth to seal the result.

The Dodgers' Corey Seager (5) returned to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in his seventh October 16, 2020 arrest.

The Dodgers’ Corey Seager (5) returned to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning – his second homer of the game.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Braves now lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is Saturday. Max Fried is about to start for Atlanta. The Dodgers will give the ball to Walker Buehler along with their time on the line, again.

“The whole goal is to win,” Seager said. “We haven’t done that yet.”

The Braves planned for a bullpen game on Friday. The Dodgers are not. And the Dodgers, in a dangerous development, went first with their bullpen. They expected May to give them between 75 and 90 pitches by the sixth inning, but he threw 55 pitches in two innings before he was pulled.

The rookie right-hander did not get any favors in the first inning. Freddie Freeman doubled a ball that could have stopped first baseman Max Muncy. Freeman advanced to the third with a ball passed by Smith and scored on the Travis d’Arnaud fly to put Atlanta on the board first.

The Braves scored again in the second warm-up when Cristian Pache – after failing to make a sacrifice lined up an 0-2 curveball hanging on the field for a single RBI. This is one of 19 curveballs that May threw at her release – an unusual ratio for the right hand, which threw a curveball of only 13.4% of the time in the regular season.

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 7-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the NLCS on Friday.

Meanwhile, AJ Minter has annoyed the Dodgers with his start since he threw five games against Nebraska for Texas A&M in 2015. Before the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker said the club wanted a inning from Minter. Instead he gave Atlanta three dominant lessons. The left hand allowed a baserunner – doubled by Justin Turner – and combined seven strikes, getting his last five outs that way.

But the game changed once Minter left the pile. This is the same formula the Dodgers used to start their only other win in the series: Bets making a hustle play and a replay review going for Los Angeles.

In Game 3, Betts came from a single to lead the game. The dugout exploded when the out call was reversed. The Dodgers then became the first team to score 11 runs in a postseason inning.

On Friday, the Braves, who are already leading the two, welcomed Joe Kelly with two unmarried to start a third conservation. After a groundout moved runners to second and third, Dansby Swanson raised a fly ball in the shallow right field. Betts ran, reached for his feet and caught the ball before it touched a blade of artificial grass.

Marcell Ozuna scored from third base, beating Betts’ throw in the run, to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead. But the Dodgers are sure Ozuna left too early. They appealed, but third base umpire Will Little decided to leave Ozuna on time. One review revealed the fact: Ozuna jumped into the bag before the ball caught Betts. He decided to complete an inning-ending double and erase a run.

“That was the play of the year for me,” Roberts said.

Moments later, with left-handed Tyler Matzek on the pile for Atlanta, Seager sprinted a 415-foot home run into the center field straight to lead in the fourth inning. It is a two-run swing with a span of a few minutes. The Dodgers, down 2-1, did not look back.

Will Smith, the pitcher, entered the game with a runner in second base and two outs in the sixth inning. He went behind Muncy 3-0 before Muncy took two strikes. Muncy wound up not swinging at all; he took a fastball for ball four. Betts called it game play. It set the stage for the first encounter in the same posteason history.

“It’s a pretty common name,” said Smith, who went to high school with another man named Will Smith and was unaware of the development.

It ends with Will Smith, the normally reserved catcher, who puts the biggest run in the house of his life with another man named Will Smith. He let out a roar before breaking the hand of first coach George Lombard in celebration. Half of the 11,119 people in attendance exploded. The Dodgers season is alive.




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