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Better execution at plate key to LA winning Game 5

Solid start from Greinke, Hanley playing effectively with injury other important factors

LOS ANGELES -- To win Game 5 and send the National League Championship Series back to St. Louis, the Dodgers need to have a better approach against Cardinals starter Joe Kelly this time around.

Remember him? He made the single most important pitch of this series in the first inning of Game 1, fracturing Hanley Ramirez's rib with a 95-mph fastball. Kelly pitched six innings that night, allowing two runs, but the pitch he buried into Ramirez's body is the one that will be remembered.

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The Dodgers feel pretty good about having Zack Greinke starting Game 5 on Wednesday against the Cardinals. But Greinke also started Game 1, threw a masterpiece and the Dodgers lost in extra innings anyway for the same reason they are on the verge of elimination.

They aren't scoring.

"That's the reason we're down 3-1," said Adrian Gonzalez. "If we had scored runs, we'd be up 3-1."

So along with getting solid pitching from Greinke and finding a way for Ramirez to bite the bullet and overcome the pain of his hairline fracture, the Dodgers need better execution at the plate.

"We're not staying within our game plan," said Gonzalez. "With Greinke and [Clayton] Kershaw lined up, we feel confident if we just do our job. We get to a Game 7 and it will creep into their heads. We've already beaten Adam Wainwright [the likely Game 7 starter for the Cards]."

"We have to score runs, that's the bottom line," said A.J. Ellis. "Our pitching's been great this entire series. The offense hasn't come through. We need to step up. It doesn't matter who's in the lineup; it doesn't matter who's playing. We have to score runs."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for

Los Angeles Dodgers, A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Hanley Ramirez