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Taylor’s catch, Puig’s homer secures Dodgers second consecutive trip to World Series

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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Yelich nearly turned the game around for the Brewers in the bottom of the fifth inning. Having already homered in the first inning, Yelich clubbed an 0-2 fastball from Julio Urías into the gap in left field.

With the Dodgers leading 2-1, Lorenzo Cain would easily come to the plate from second base to tie the game if the ball landed. But the ball came down in Chris Taylor’s glove on the dead run, closing out the threat in one of the biggest plays of the series.

Staving off a Brewer rally was huge as the Dodgers would immediately get going on offense to continue the momentum swing. With two aboard in the sixth, Yasiel Puig sent a screaming line drive over the wall in center to put the Dodgers on top 5-1, taking the wind out of Miller Park on their way to the series-clinching win.

The victory means the Dodgers will head to Boston for their second straight trip to the World Series, where they will meet the Red Sox Tuesday.

“I think that’s probably it,” Dodger manager Dave Roberts told media about Taylor’s catch being the signature moment. “You get the MVP in Yelich and he’s competing and Julio leaves a pitch up with two strikes and Yelich puts a really good swing on it. At that point in time I thought the game was tied.”

“But CT gets a great break on the ball, and really a game-saving play. Once the game is tied anything can happen. The momentum shifts. But that was certainly a signature play at the time.”

Puig’s laser shot ended a sequence where the game was won for the Dodgers. The Brewers failed to score after they had used their ace reliever Josh Hader for the previous three innings to keep the game at 2-1 Dodgers.

Facing Jeremy Jeffress in the sixth, the Dodgers got back-to-back singles from Max Muncy and Justin Turner to start the inning. After Cody Bellinger beat out — quite easily — a potential double play ball, it brought Puig to the plate with two outs.

Puig ended his night going 3-for-4 and went 7-for-21 (.333) overall for the series.

The Yelich fly ball in the fifth was the last bit of noise on offense for Milwaukee, as Ryan Madson would come out of the bullpen to get the next five outs.

When Madson allowed a two-out single in the seventh, Roberts went to Kenley Jansen. The big man would get the next four outs before Clayton Kershaw would be summoned for the ninth.

Kershaw — likely the Game 1 starter in Boston — shut the door on the Brewers season with a perfect ninth inning, striking out two.

The Dodgers hopes of jumping out to an early lead to avoid Hader shortening the game on them were quickly squashed when Yelich homered off Walker Buehler in the bottom of the first. A quick 1-0 lead that wouldn’t last long.

Manny Machado bunted successfully on a 3-2 pitch to give the Dodgers a leadoff baserunner in the second. Five pitches later, Bellinger crushed a fastball over the bullpen in right to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

Buehler pitched well and nearly made it out of five innings, with Yelich’s long ball his only blemish. But Cain doubled to left field with two outs in the fifth, prompting Roberts to go get his rookie. Urías would get out of it — thanks to Taylor — with only three pitches.

In 4 23 innings, Buehler struck out seven against no walks, scattering six hits to go with the one run. Pretty good for the youngest starting pitcher to start an NLCS Game 7.

Up Next

THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday Particulars

Home Runs: Yelich (1), Bellinger (1), Puig (1)

WP: Ryan Madson (1-0): 1 23 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts

LP: Jhoulys Chacin (1-1): 2 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk