After fast start, Dodgers find big hit elusive
'We just didn't execute and get it done,' Ethier says
LOS ANGELES -- On the 27th anniversary of Kirk Gibson's iconic walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, the Dodgers were left searching for another game-changing hit Thursday night.
But that never came, as the Dodgers went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position after plating two runs in the first inning of their 3-2 defeat to the Mets in a decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series.
"We jump out there for two in the first and have guys out there and don't really scratch anything across," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after his team was eliminated from the postseason in the NLDS for the second straight year. "That always scares you in a game, and you hope it doesn't come back to haunt you later in the game."
As it turned out, Mattingly's fears were realized.
The Dodgers got off to a fast start, with four consecutive one-out singles off Mets starter Jacob deGrom resulting in a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. Justin Turner and Andre Ethier had the two RBIs for the Dodgers, but things went south from there as deGrom settled in and held his ground with runners on base.
Ethier's run-scoring single was followed by consecutive strikeouts of Yasmani Grandal and Kiké Hernandez. It was more of the same in the second, as deGrom dug deep for back-to-back punchouts to strand two Dodgers on base.
The Dodgers had another scoring chance in the third inning after Turner ripped a leadoff double and then stole third with one out. But Hernandez tapped into a 1-6-3 double play as deGrom and the Mets escaped trouble again.
Joc Pederson was stranded on third after a leadoff walk in the fourth, and Turner had another one-out double wasted in the fifth.
"There were four times in the game he was one hit away from coming out of the game," Mets manager Terry Collins said of deGrom.
The Dodgers did not advance a runner into scoring position after the fifth inning.
So what changed for deGrom after the Dodgers got to him for two early runs?
"During the first inning, I feel like they hit some good pitches that were out of the zone," deGrom said. "They put a couple good at-bats against me and ended up scoring a couple runs. But after that, I just tried to calm it all down. I think I was a little amped up, and I just tried to make my pitches."
In a somber Dodgers clubhouse after the game, Ethier summed it up best.
"We had enough opportunities, but we didn't execute and get it done," he said.