The Los Angeles Dodgers will play in the World Series for the second year in a row after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 Saturday night in the seventh and deciding game of the National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers got a strong start from rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, who managed to go 4 ²/₃ innings, which is practically a complete game compared to the Brewers. Some blame could trace back to MVP front-runner Christian Yelich, who showed up with a first-inning home run in Game 7 but came into it hitting.167 (4 for 29) in the series.
Yasiel Puig lifted his arms in triumph, then wiggled his fingers in an attempt to ignite a hostile crowd that had grown silent in the wake of his blast. Shortstop Manny Machado started the rally by bunting down the third base line on a 3-2 count to beat a defensive shift. Counsell pinch-hit for Chacin with two on and two out in the bottom of the second, but Jonathan Schoop grounded out to end the threat. He struck out 25 of the 60 batters he faced in those appearances.
The trio was electric - allowing just one hit over the final four innings of work.
Hader said he hopes the Brewers can use their postseason experience to their advantage next season.
Kenley Jansen tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings before yielding to Kershaw in the ninth. "I really feel like that", Hader said. "I think the biggest thing we take from this is we have all the pieces next year, we just have to put it together better than we did today".
The three-run homer came off embattled reliever Jeremy Jeffress. Madson (1-0) earned the victory, scattering one hit and two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.
What a surge for a team that was 10 games under.500 on May 16. Now the Dodgers have made baseball's final series of the year in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1977-78.
The Brewers' bag of bullpen tricks had run out, and the Dodgers are returning to the World Series for the second straight year. "If it goes seven, it's a top five series".