The Los Angeles Dodgers saved all of their homers for their final home game.
L.A. tied a postseason franchise record with four home runs -- including two from Adrian Gonzalez -- to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 Wednesday afternoon and force a Game 6 of the NLCS back in St. Louis.
The Dodgers hadn’t gone deep in the previous four games of the series. But Gonzalez ended the schnide with a 450-foot blast in the third inning -- according to ESPN, the longest postseason home run since Prince Fielder’s 460-footer in 2008 -- to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead. He followed it up with a second homer in the eighth.
After his first home run, Gonzalez appeared to make “Mickey Mouse Ears,” a shot at Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who called out Gonzalez for “Mickey Mouse stuff” after his demonstrative celebration following a double in Game 3.
"It was just having fun with the comment that was made earlier," Gonzalez said after the game. "Nothing against them or anything. It was just to have fun."
"Once you start it," Carl Crawford joked, "you've got to keep it going."
It’s doubtful Cardinals players found it amusing. They failed to close out an NLCS elimination game for the fourth straight time dating back to last season, when they blew a 3-1 series lead over the eventual World Series Champs San Francisco Giants. In the first inning, St. Louis had a golden opportunity, loading the bases with no outs. But Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke worked his way out of the jam, striking out cleanup hitter Matt Adams and inducing a double-play against Yadier Molina that ended the inning.
"I think the first inning was actually the biggest inning of the game," said Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis. "They load the bases with nobody out, and Zack gets out of it. In the field, you're thinking, 'All right, let's hold them to one run here.'"
After giving up two runs in the third inning, Greinke calmed down and looked typically dominant, setting down the Cardinals hitters in order from the fourth to the seventh inning, when he was replaced by reliever Brian Wilson.
"For Zack to be at 61 pitches after three innings, and then find a way to give us four more, that was amazing,” said Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis.
The Dodgers will need more amazing stuff if they hope to stave off elimination in Game 6 on Friday night and continue their run through the 2013 MLB Postseason. Lucky for L.A., Clayton Kershaw, the presumptive NL Cy Young winner, is scheduled to take the mound as the Dodgers attempt to force a deciding Game 7.
"We've kind of become America's team because everyone wants to see a seventh game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "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."