Chris Taylor wears No. 3 on his Los Angeles Dodgers jersey. In Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, Taylor had the Atlanta Braves’ number.
Taylor hit three home runs, tying a playoff record, in leading the Dodgers to an 11-2 win over the Braves, staving off elimination and sending the series back to Atlanta for Game 6 on Saturday.
The Dodgers have won four elimination games in the playoffs in 2021, and seven in a row since last year’s National League Championship Series against the Braves.
The Dodgers trail the Braves, 3-2, in the National League Championship Series. They were down 3-1 to the Braves in the National League Championship Series in 2020, before winning the last three games, and moving on and winning the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Taylor is the first player to hit three home runs in a game for a team facing elimination in the playoffs. The Dodgers are looking to become the 15th team to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-1 and the fifth team to do it after trailing 2-0 and 3-1 in the series. The Dodgers came back against the Braves last year to win the National League pennant after trailing 2-0 and 3-1.
“I guess when our backs are against the wall, we play our best and fight,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “But that’s just not an ideal spot to be in, even right now, elimination game in Game 6, but I guess it brings out the best in us.”
Taylor hit his first home run in the second inning, a two-run shot to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. He hit his second home run, another two-run homer, off Chris Martin in the fifth inning. His third home run came in the seventh inning, a solo shot to left field, off left-hander Dylan Lee. Taylor added an RBI single and drove in six runs in the game. He was 4-for-6 and scored three runs.
Taylor, starting at third base for the injured Justin Turner, hit a game-winning, two-run home run in the National League Wild Card round against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I think any time you do something cool, when you do it in Dodger Stadium, it makes it that much sweeter,” Taylor said. “I think this is a special place and these fans are awesome, and for it to happen for the first time on this stage in front of this crowd, it was a special moment.”
Taylor’s six RBIs were the second most by a Dodgers in a postseason game. Kike Hernandez drove in seven runs in Game 5 of the 2017 National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.
Taylor has nine RBIs in elimination games this season, the most by a Dodger in the playoffs. He is hitting .364 with four home runs in the 2021 playoffs.
Dodgers teammate AJ Pollock hit two home runs, drove in four runs and scored three runs.
Albert Pujols, one of 11 players in major league history to hit three home runs in a playoff game, was 2-for-4 and scored two runs.
Max Scherzer is scheduled to start for the Dodgers against the Braves in Game 6 in Atlanta on Saturday.