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Dodgers beat Cardinals, send NLCS back to St. Louis

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez hits a single off St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly during the second inning of Game 5 of the NLCS.

Associated Press

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez hits a single off St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly during the second inning of Game 5 of the NLCS.

LOS ANGELES — It took the Dodgers five games to hit a home run in the NL Championship Series. Once Adrian Gonzalez got the first one, their dormant offense broke loose.

Gonzalez homered twice and Zack Greinke came through with the clutch performance Los Angeles needed in a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals on Wednesday that trimmed St. Louis' lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven playoff.

"Guys weren't ready to lose," said former Ray Carl Crawford, who also went deep to help the Dodgers save their season.

The series shifts back to St. Louis for Game 6 on Friday night, with Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw scheduled to start against rookie Michael Wacha.

When those two squared off in Game 2, the Cardinals won 1-0 on an unearned run.

"We've kind of become America's team because everyone wants to see a seventh game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Probably even the fans in St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody's for us to win on Friday night."

The Cardinals led last year's NLCS 3-1 before losing three straight to the eventual World Series champion Giants.

"We're looking to do the same thing," Gonzalez said.

Desperate to avoid elimination, the Dodgers brought in some star power for pregame introductions. Will Ferrell announced the 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 delivered an RBI single.

"That was big. I was real nervous out there with that situation," Greinke said.

A.J. Ellis also homered for the Dodgers, who rediscovered their power stroke just in time. 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.

"It was just one of those days that we were a little better, got some runs, good feeling," Mattingly said.

The Dodgers rallied 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.

The Cardinals tied it in the third on Carlos Beltran's RBI triple and Holliday's RBI double before Yadier Molina grounded into his second inning-ending double play against Greinke.

"He wasn't as sharp as he was the first time we faced him," Beltran said. "But guys like that, the best guys in the game, they're able to regroup and find a way to help their team win."

Los Angeles answered in the third, after Mark Ellis singled leading off but was erased when Hanley Ramirez hit into a double play.

Gonzalez followed with the Dodgers' first homer of the NLCS, a shot estimated at 428 feet into the rightfield 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 jab at Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who said Gonzalez had done "some Mickey Mouse stuff" in celebrating a double Monday night.

"It's just having fun," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to retire them so they're not talked about once again."

Championship Series

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2 (TV: TBS)

Game 1: Cards 3, Dodgers 2, 13 innings

Game 2: Cardinals 1, Dodgers 0

Game 3: Dodgers 3, Cardinals 0

Game 4: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2

Wednesday: Dodgers 6, Cardinals 4

Friday: at St. Louis, 8:37

Saturday: at St. Louis, 8:37*

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tigers 2, Red Sox 2 (TV: Ch. 13)

Game 1: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0

Game 2: Red Sox 6, Tigers 5

Game 3: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0

Wednesday: Tigers 7, Red Sox 3

Tonight: at Detroit, 8:07

Saturday: at Boston, 4:37

Sunday: at Boston, 8:07*

* If necessary

Dodgers beat Cardinals, send NLCS back to St. Louis 10/16/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 12:05am]
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