It was truly all hands on deck for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5. 

Clayton Kershaw got the save on one day of rest after starting Game 4, following 2.1 strong innings from Kenley Jansen out of the bullpen. Six different pitchers took the mound for the Dodgers on Thursday as they secured a 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals in a winner-take-all battle.

Mike Petriello of summed up the drama in the last inning:

MLB Stat of the Day provided an interesting note on Kershaw’s performance:

While the game was good throughout, the action picked up in the seventh inning. Down 1-0, the Dodgers scored four runs against a record six different Nationals pitchers to take the three-run lead.

Washington was able to answer back with two runs in the bottom of the inning but failed to capitalize on a bases loaded situation that would have tied the game or given the Nationals the lead.

ESPN Stats and Info recapped all the action from a busy inning:

The Nationals had two more chances to tie the game but couldn’t get it done against either Jensen or Kershaw, ending their season at home.

Los Angeles’ bullpen finished with 6.1 innings pitched after starter Rich Hill did all he could on three days’ rest, allowing one run in 2.2 innings while striking out six. Joe Blanton and Julio Urias kept the Nats off the board for the next 3.1 innings.

Justin Turner and the Dodgers then only needed one inning to get all of their offense to secure the win and move on to the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. 

Max Scherzer looked every bit of the Cy Young contender he is to start the game, throwing bullets out of the gate, per ESPN Stats and Info:

He sent the Dodgers down in order in each of the first two innings and didn’t give up a hit until the fifth. He ended up with six shutout innings before giving up his only run in the seventh.

Meanwhile, the Nationals were able to get on the scoreboard in the second inning when Danny Espinosa hit an RBI single to bring home Daniel Murphy.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post provided some perspective on the surprising hit:

Washington challenged once again in the third inning with two runners on base, forcing the Dodgers to make an early pitching change. Hill gave way to Blanton, who coaxed a fly ball from Anthony Rendon to get out of the inning.

The Dodgers then had their own chance in the top of the fifth but struggled once again with the bases loaded, as described by Scott Miller of Bleacher Report:

According to Baseball Tonight, they fell to 0-for-9 with the bases loaded in the series.

Scherzer was otherwise cruising on the mound, thanks in part to Jose Lobaton behind the plate, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

He ended the night with seven strikeouts in a strong effort to keep Washington in the game.

The two sides traded zeroes on the scoreboard as the game continued, with the Nationals only hurting themselves with outs on the basepaths. Bryce Harper was picked off to end the fifth, while Jayson Werth was thrown out at home by a mile in the sixth.

It took until the seventh inning for the Dodgers to get on the scoreboard. Joc Pederson drove a ball over the left field wall, knocking Scherzer out of the game in the process.

Later in the inning, a pinch-hitting Carlos Ruiz came through with an RBI single to give Los Angeles the 2-1 lead. Two batters later, Justin Turner drove in two more runs with a triple.

Brian McNally of 106.7 The Fan captured the moment at Nationals Park:

Of course, the game was far from over as Chris Heisey hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to one. This led to a bold move from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, which was praised by Kevin Burkhardt of Fox Sports:

Jansen got out of the inning after striking out Rendon with the bases loaded. The closer followed that up by getting through the eighth inning as well. By the time he got the first out in the ninth inning, he had set a career high in pitches in a game.

After walking Harper and Werth, however, it was time for Kershaw to get his moment, just one game after throwing 110 pitches.

Pedro Gomez of ESPN noted what makes this game different than all others:

The ace did his job, getting Murphy to pop out before striking out Wilmer Difo and securing the win.

Dan Plesac of MLB Network provided this amazing statistic on Kershaw’s save:

Passan explained what this means for the lefty going forward:

There isn’t a lot of time for the Dodgers to celebrate, as Game 1 of the NLCS is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The Chicago Cubs are waiting and rested after beating the San Francisco Giants in four games in the NLDS.

The Cubs are certainly favored following a season in which they posted by far the best record in baseball, but Los Angeles won’t go down without a fight.


Postgame Reaction

Nationals manager Dusty Baker expressed skepticism about where the Dodgers will go from here after using their best arms Thursday, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group:

On the other hand, Roberts was only concerned with using his best pitchers when it mattered, per Ryan Schuiling of 92.1 FM:

Considering the Dodgers are moving on while Washington is going home, Roberts likely feels good about his choices in Game 5.


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