LOS ANGELES (AP) ― Adrian Gonzalez homered twice and Zack Greinke gave the Los Angeles Dodgers the clutch performance they needed in a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals on Wednesday that trimmed St. Louis’ lead to 3-2 in the NL championship series.
Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis also went deep for the Dodgers, who rediscovered their power stroke just in time to save their season. They held on in the ninth inning, when St. Louis scored twice off closer Kenley Jansen before he struck out pinch-hitter Adron Chambers with two on to end it.
The best-of-seven series shifts back to St. Louis for Game 6 on Friday night, with ace Clayton Kershaw scheduled to start for the Dodgers against rookie Michael Wacha.
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the eighth inning on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)
When those two squared off in Game 2, the Cardinals won 1-0 on an unearned run.
“This series is only getting started,” Gonzalez said. “We like where we’re at.”
Desperate to avoid elimination, the Dodgers brought in some Hollywood star power for pregame introductions. Will Ferrell announced their lineup and lent a comic spin to each player’s name, capping it by introducing Greinke as “today’s winning pitcher.”
Ferrell knew what he was talking about.
Greinke got into a bases-loaded jam with none out in the first inning but escaped with no damage. From there, he pitched seven strong innings and even delivered an RBI single.
The Cardinals also led last year’s NLCS 3-1 before losing three straight games to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
“We’re looking to do the same thing,” Gonzalez said.
The Dodgers rallied in this one after Greinke gave up an early 2-0 lead just as he did in Game 1, which Los Angeles lost 3-2 in 13 innings on the road.
After neither team homered in the first three games for the first time in NLCS history, the big bats came out. The Cardinals used a two-run homer by Matt Holliday and a solo shot from pinch-hitter Shane Robinson to win 4-2 on Tuesday night.
This time, Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with two solo homers. His two-out shot in the eighth made it 6-2.
The Cardinals tied it at 2 in the third on Carlos Beltran’s RBI triple and Holliday’s run-scoring double before Yadier Molina grounded into his second inning-ending double play.
Los Angeles answered in the bottom half. Mark Ellis singled leading off but was erased when Hanley Ramirez grounded into a double play. Gonzalez followed with the Dodgers’ first homer of the NLCS, slugging the ball an estimated 428 feet into the right-field pavilion for a 3-2 lead.
As he headed toward the dugout, Gonzalez cupped his hands to his ears and wiggled them in a gesture resembling mouse ears. It was an apparent tweak at Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who said Gonzalez had done “some Mickey Mouse stuff” in celebrating a double on Monday night.
The Dodgers are trying to become the 12th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.
Tigers tie series at 2
DETROIT (AP) ― An untimely bobble by Dustin Pedroia and a pair of four-pitch walks from Jake Peavy cost the Boston Red Sox a chance to take control of the AL championship series.
Detroit scored five runs off Peavy in the pivotal second after Pedroia fumbled away his opportunity at an inning-ending double play, and the Tigers beat Boston 7-3 Wednesday night to tie the best-of-seven playoff at two games apiece.
Peavy picked a bad time to have his worst performance of the year. Acquired in late July as part of a three-team trade that included the Tigers, the right-hander allowed a season-high seven runs in three-plus innings.
He didn’t get much help from Pedroia during Detroit’s big rally.
Boston’s normally sure-handed second baseman booted a grounder that could have been converted into a critical double play. Instead of holding the Tigers to one run in the inning, the Red Sox had to settle for a force at second and Detroit took advantage by scoring four more runs.
Peavy gave up five hits in his shortest start since June 4, when he was still with the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers helped Boston acquire Peavy in a three-team deal less than three months ago that netted Detroit rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Victor Martinez hit a leadoff single in the second off Peavy, making his first appearance in a league championship series game. Peavy walked Jhonny Peralta on four pitches and gave Alex Avila a free pass in an eight-pitch at-bat to load the bases.
After getting Omar Infante to pop up, Peavy walked in the game’s first run when he failed to throw one strike to a slumping hitter.
Austin Jackson, who entered batting .091 in the postseason, didn’t have to swing during a four-pitch walk that made it 1-0. It was just the second time in Peavy’s 13-year career that he gave up a pair four-pitch passes in one inning, excluding intentional walks, according to STATS.
But if Pedroia hadn’t botched a grounder moments later, the Red Sox would’ve gotten out of the inning trailing by only a run.
Iglesias hit a bouncer to second, and it appeared the inning would be over. Pedroia, however, couldn’t field the ball cleanly and was relegated to making a short throw to second ― where Boston caught a break because shortstop Stephen Drew was off the bag when he took the toss.