After failing to hit a home run in the first four games of the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers cleared the wall with four solo shots in Game Five en route to a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cardinals still lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2, with Game Six at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez hit two homers and a single in four at-bats to lead the L.A. lineup. Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis also added homers for the Dodgers, who had scored just seven runs in the previous four games.
“I kind of just floated around there,” said Ellis about his first career postseason home run trot around the bases. The 32-year-old catcher became a full-time starter in 2012 for the Dodgers, and made his postseason debut in 2013.
Zack Greinke struggled in the early innings, before settling down to get the win. The right-hander allowed two earned runs off six hits and a walk in the first three innings.
The former Cy Young winner would not allow a base runner after the third inning. It was a somewhat similar performance to Game One when Greinke allowed two runs in the first inning, but went on to shut out the Cardinals from that point forward.
The Dodgers got a scare late in the game. After a perfect inning from set-up man Brian Wilson, closer Kenley Jansen allowed two earned runs off four hits in the ninth in a surprisingly tense final inning. Jansen struck out pinch-hitter Adron Chambers with two base runners on to hold off the Cardinals.
St. Louis received a solid effort from Matt Holliday in the loss. The slugger hit two doubles and a single in four at-bats. Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter each added two hits, while Carlos Beltran’s third-inning triple nearly cleared the centerfield wall.
Starter Joe Kelly did not fare well. The 25-year-old allowed four earned runs in five innings to get the loss.
Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the Dodgers in Game Six. Kershaw allowed just two hits in six innings in Game Two, but got the loss as the Cardinals were able to score the lone run of the game in the fifth inning after a passed-ball error by second baseman Mark Ellis.
Michael Wacha, who shut out the Dodgers over 6 2/3 innings in Game Two, gets the nod for the home team. Wacha had a 2.15 ERA in 46 innings at Busch Stadium in the 2013 regular season.