LOS ANGELES – Chris Taylor hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday night in an NL wild-card game to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1.
The 106-win Dodgers advanced to a best-of-five NL division series against rival Giants. Game 1 is Friday night in San Francisco.
A sell-out crowd of 53,193 hung on every pitch as the tension of the fourth inning tie game. Fans waved blue towels, in vain urging a few balls launched into the outfield to be caught only in a winner-take-all matchup between the two most storied and successful NL franchises.
Cody Bellinger took a two-out walk from TJ McFarland and finished second in the ninth, when almost every fan was on their feet, waiting to see if the defending World Series champions could take the win. . Alex Reyes came on to face Taylor, who sent the pitch 2-1 into the left-field pavilion, causing an explosion of cheers.
Tommy Edman dropped a single close to Kenley Jensen in the top of the ninth and stole the second. Paul Goldschmidt strikes third and Tyler O’Neill goes down swinging to end the threat.
Both the teams finished runners-up in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but could not score a single run.
St. Louis dueling aces Adam Wainwright and Dodgers Max Scherzer struggled with their control in just the second winner-take-all game in post-season history, with two starting pitchers over the age of 37. Wainwright is 40; Scherzer is 37.
He issued two walks each in the first three innings. Scherzer’s wild pitch scored a run first, and he hit Harrison Bader in the fourth.
Justin Turner tied it for 1 in fourth in a leftoff solo shot in the Dodgers bullpen. It was the first Homer Wainwright to ever drop a curveball in the postseason. Turner’s 13 postseason homers are the most in franchise history.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead when Edman scored on Scherzer’s wild pitch. Edman took the leading off single, stole second base and took third after O’Neill fouled to the right.
Scherzer left with one in the fifth after Edman was run for the leadoff single and Goldschmidt. He rolled the dugout with his hands on his hips. Former Cardinal Joe Kelly broke out of the jam after Goldsmith finished third on Kelly’s wild pitch.
Scherzer allowed one run and three hits, scored four and scored three against his hometown team.
Wainwright conceded one run and four hits in his 5/ innings. He hit five and walked two.
The Dodgers had Wainwright on the ropes in third, loading the bases with one. He was within a ball of walking into the tying run before the grounding of Tree Turner’s bat was broken in an innings-ending double play on a pitch 3–2.