The Los Angeles Dodgers will live to play another day. Thanks to a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night, they will head back to St. Louis with the hopes of pushing the NLCS to a game seven. The odds appear to be in their favor as they will send the probable National League Cy Young award winner to the mound for game six.
The Dodgers will play game six thanks largely in part to the long ball, an aspect of their offense that had gone missing throughout this NLCS to date. Adrian Gonzalez drilled a pair of solo home runs while Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis provided power with solo home runs of their own. On top of that, the Dodgers got RBI singles in the second inning out of both Juan Uribe and starting pitcher, Zack Greinke.
Speaking of Greinke, he was magnificent. Just like Ed Carroll predicted
in yesterday’s NLCS preview on Twitter, the Dodgers road Greinke’s arm to a game six date in St. Louis. Over the course of seven innings of work, Greinke allowed only two runs to score, both of which came during a third inning Cardinal rally, on six hits and a walk. He also struck out four along the way. Brian Wilson provided a scoreless inning of relief in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen closed things out in the ninth, but not before making things interesting by surrendering two runs to make it a 6-4 game.
The offensive breakout, especially in the power department is an encouraging sign for a team that has struggled to score in this series. Whether or not they can carry that with them to St. Louis for game six and hopefully a game seven remains to be seen, however. One discouraging sign for the Dodgers is the continued struggles of shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Battling a cracked rib after being hit by a pitch in game one, Ramirez once again took an 0-for on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, over in the American League side of things the Tigers throttled the Red Sox and, in the process, rediscovered their offensive identity.
Looking for some type of spark offensively, Jim Leyland decided to make a change at the top of the lineup. Austin Jackson, who has struggles all postseason, was moved to eighth in the order while everyone else moved up one spot. That meant Torii Hunter hit lead off with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez filling out the two, three, and four holes. That was more shocking move considering how unconventional it seemed, but you can’t argue with the results.
By the time the fourth inning was over, the Tigers had jumped out to a 7-0 lead and were well on their way to tying things up at 2-2 and ensuring themselves of a return trip to Boston. Hunter, Cabrera, and Jackson each contributed with two RBI. Jose Iglesias, the only player not to move up in the order, contributed the other. The Tigers roughed up Jake Peavy and chased him to the showers after only three very challenging innings of work.
Detroit, on the other hand, got a great starting pitching performance out of Doug Fister. He went six strong and allowed only one run on eight hits while striking out seven. Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque, Drew Smyly, and Joaquin Benoit finished off the Red Sox over the final three innings and allowed only two additional runs to cross the plate on their way to a 7-3 victory.