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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Dodgers winning formula: Hit it really far

By ESPN Stats & Information

The Los Angeles Dodgers stayed in the NLCS, beating the St. Louis Cardinals with a home-run barrage in Game 5.

That one’s gone … and so is that one, and that one, and that one
The Dodgers tied a team single-game postseason record with four home runs, matching marks they’d previously reached in 1977 and 1978. It’s the first time they hit four in a postseason game in Dodger Stadium.

Adrian Gonzalez had his first career postseason multi-homer game. The first of those two homers was a 450-foot shot, the longest postseason homer since Prince Fielder hit one for the Brewers against the Phillies and Joe Blanton in Game 4 of the 2008 NLDS. It’s the longest homer for Gonzalez since a 452-foot homer in April 2009.

Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis had the other two home runs. Crawford’s was calculated at 426 feet, his longest home run since hitting one 437 feet at Kauffman Stadium on Aug. 21, 2011.

Crawford has four homers in nine games this postseason after hitting six in the regular season. The four home runs is one shy of the team record for a single postseason.

That mark of five was set by current Dodgers coach Davey Lopes in 1978.

How Greinke won
Other than one brief blip, Zack Greinke was in shutdown mode, limiting the Cardinals to two earned runs in seven innings. He’s now allowed two earned runs or fewer in 15 straight starts and has a 1.74 ERA in his last 19 starts.

Greinke threw 47 breaking balls, his second-most in any start this season (they accounted for 45 percent of his pitches, his highest usage rate of 2013).

He yielded a third-inning RBI double to Matt Holliday with his slider, but after that, it became a valuable pitch for him. Greinke threw 14 sliders in the last four innings and they netted him six outs without yielding a baserunner.

Greinke’s slider has been very effective in his last five starts. The 87 he’s thrown have produced 24 outs and resulted in only two hits.

Greinke also helped his cause with an RBI hit, the first Dodgers pitcher with an RBI in an LCS game since Orel Hershiser had one in Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS against the Mets.. This is the first postseason in Dodgers history in which two different pitchers recorded an RBI (Hyun-Jin Ryu is the other).

Greinke has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all three starts this postseason. The only Dodgers pitchers with more consecutive starts of that nature in a single postseason are Burt Hooton (five in 1981) and Don Sutton (four in 1974).

Key player: Brian Wilson
Dodgers setup man Brian Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, giving him 17 2/3 innings pitched in his postseason career without allowing an earned run.

Wilson’s 16 straight appearances to start his postseason career without allowing an earned run are fifth-most all-time. The most is 20, by former Braves reliever John Rocker.

Stat of the Day: Molina’s rough afternoon
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina became only the second player in postseason history to ground into multiple double plays, strike out multiple times, and go hitless in a postseason game. The other was Chris Gomez for the 1998 Padres against the Braves in the NLCS.

Still a tough task for the Dodgers
The Dodgers will still have to win two games in St. Louis to win the series. The Cardinals haven’t lost consecutive home games since losing four straight August 7-10.

The last team to win on the road in Game 6 and 7 to win a postseason series 4-games-to-3 was the 2004 Red Sox against the Yankees.