LOS ANGELES -- With both teams battling deep into their respective League Championship Series, early returns on the Dodgers' 2012 blockbuster trade with the Red Sox show a win-win. Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford continued to pay dividends for the Dodgers, combining for three home runs on Wednesday in a 6-4 win over the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLCS.
The Dodgers had no home runs in the first four games of the NLCS after hitting seven homers in the NLDS against Atlanta. The Dodgers hit four in Game 5 to stay alive, and to make Dodger Stadium a loud place for a weekday day game.
"L.A. fans have given us incredible support all year, and having them behind us was huge. It gave us a lift, and we definitely weren't going to go down on our home field," Gonzalez said. "The importance of hitting two home runs, to me, it's just about winning. It's not about me. It's about the team."
Crawford is sitting .308 (12-for-39) with four home runs in nine games in the playoffs. His hot streak started in the final week of the regular season, hitting .400 (8-for-20) with his first home run in nearly five months. It was all a matter of getting healthy.
"I just started feeling better towards the end of the year. Luckily the body felt good, the swing started to feel better, so that enabled me to look for some pitches to drive," Crawford said. "I just kind of found the stroke that I'm comfortable with, and it's been working for me."
Gonzalez, who played a team-leading 157 games on the season and joined Juan Uribe as really the only regulars to stay healthy all season, has been consistent in the postseason. He has a hit in all but one of his nine games, and he has reached base in every game so far in the playoffs. He's hitting .343/.395/.657 with three home runs in the postseason.
"It seems that he's kind of stepped up here. Maybe the fact that Hanley [Ramirez] has not been able to do what he's been doing in the past, and Adrian maybe feels that responsibility. But I think maybe it's the time of year," said manager Don Mattingly. "He's getting more attention for it, but he's been doing this all year long for us. It's something that we've seen all year long."
Gonzalez has enjoyed himself quite a bit during the playoffs, having some fun with Adam Wainwright's "Mickey Mouse" comments after Game 3. Gonzalez made mouse ears heading back into the Dodgers dugout after the first of his two home runs.
"You're in the playoffs. You've got to have fun. ... I mean, to me, if you can't have fun out there in these situations, then you shouldn't be out there," Gonzalez said. "It's just having fun."
After the fun of the wins in Games 3 and 5, Gonzalez said the cartoon fun was over.
"I'm going to retire [the Mickey Mouse ears] so they're not talked about once again. It's just something that doesn't need to be talked about," Gonzalez said. "It was just for fun, like I said. I don't need it to get out of hand here because it shouldn't be."
But Crawford playfully pleaded with his teammate.
"Once you start it, you've got to keep going," Crawford said, laughing. "I'm pretty sure it rubbed them the wrong way and they're going to use that as some kind of fuel, so you might as well keep doing it, Adrian."
"Hey, if Carl wants them," Gonzalez said, also laughing. "It's for him, not for anybody else."