Belli, Betts, Webb, Max: Amazing G5 facts

October 15th, 2021

In a postseason series featuring teams that combined for the most regular-season wins in playoff history, the Dodgers defeated the Giants by a razor-thin, one-run margin in Game 5 of the National League Division Series to advance to the NL Championship Series.

The series was rife with wild stats, which is what happens when two teams this good face off in October.

Here are 13 of the most notable facts and figures from a series finale for the ages.

'Belli' plays the hero
• Cody Bellinger delivered the go-ahead hit for the Dodgers in the ninth, proving that we see even the unlikeliest of heroes in October, considering he hit .165 in the regular season. Bellinger became the third Dodgers player with a go-ahead hit in the ninth inning or later of a winner-take-all game -- and the second this month. The others are Chris Taylor in the NL Wild Card Game this year and Rick Monday in Game 5 of the 1981 NLCS.

• Bellinger has three career go-ahead hits in winner-take-all games, tied with Manny Ramírez and Gene Tenace for the most all-time. Bellinger’s other two were a seventh-inning homer in Game 7 of the 2020 NLCS and a second-inning homer in Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS.

Mad Max, closer?
• No matter what manager Dave Roberts said coming into Game 5, anyone familiar with Max Scherzer’s legendary competitiveness knew he would find his way into this game. And that’s exactly what happened. When Scherzer ran in from the bullpen to protect a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, it was the first time in his career that he was called upon to close a game in the final frame. Scherzer got the job done, recording his first Major League save in 432 appearances, including the postseason.

• At 37 years and 79 days old, Scherzer became the oldest pitcher to record a save in a winner-take-all postseason game since saves became an official stat in 1969. The previous record was held by the Tigers’ Joaquin Benoit, who was 36 years and 76 days old when he closed out Game 5 of the 2013 ALDS against Oakland.

Postseason Mookie on full display
• Mookie Betts went 4-for-4 out of the leadoff spot with a stolen base, exhibiting how dynamic of a player he can be on the biggest stage. His four hits were the most by any Dodgers player in a winner-take-all postseason game. Betts also became just the fourth player in postseason history with at least four hits and a stolen base in a winner-take-all game, joining George Brett (1985 World Series Game 7), Terry Puhl (1980 NLCS Game 5) and Max Carey (1925 World Series Game 7).

• Three of Betts’ four hits came off Giants starter Logan Webb, who allowed just one other hit -- an RBI double to Corey Seager. Betts was just the second batter with three hits off Webb in a game this year, joining Eric Hosmer on April 30.

Webb spins another gem
• Had the Giants’ offense been able to push across another run or two, right-hander Logan Webb may have gone down as an all-time postseason hero. But he still had a sensational performance in Game 5, allowing just one run off four hits over seven innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts. He joined Madison Bumgarner (2014 and '16 NL Wild Card Games) and Jack Sanford (1962 World Series Game 7) as the only Giants pitchers to allow no more than one run over at least seven innings in a winner-take-all postseason contest.

• Of course, Webb was brilliant in Game 1, as well. He is one of four pitchers to log multiple outings of at least seven innings while allowing no more than five hits and one run in each in a single Division Series. The others are Gerrit Cole (2019 Astros), Justin Verlander (2012 and ‘13 Tigers) and Jerry Reuss (1981 Dodgers).

• Webb’s NLDS performance is all the more spectacular coming against a team as good as the Dodgers. Over 162 regular-season games, there were only seven in which a pitcher allowed no more than one run in seven-plus innings against L.A. Webb did it twice in this series alone.

• One effect of Webb’s dynamic sinker is that he had to field his position quite often, as the Dodgers repeatedly hit weak ground balls back to the mound. Webb ended up with three assists in Game 5 after racking up four in Game 1. His seven assists were the most by a pitcher in any postseason series since Chris Carpenter had eight for the Cardinals in the 2005 NLCS.

Dodgers escape yet again
• These Dodgers are making a habit of pulling out tough wins when they have to. Remember, it was just eight days earlier when Chris Taylor’s walk-off homer in the ninth inning pushed L.A. past St. Louis in the NL Wild Card Game. According to STATS, the Dodgers joined the 2001 D-backs as the only teams to have a postseason in which they scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning or later in multiple winner-take-all victories.

• The Dodgers are also only the third team in postseason history to allow no more than one run in two winner-take-all victories in the same year. The 2017 Astros did it in the ALCS and the World Series, while the 1981 Dodgers did it in both the NLDS and NLCS. The 2021 Dodgers also join the '20 Rays, '01 D-backs and 1972 A’s as teams to eke out multiple winner-take-all victories by a margin of no more than two runs in a single postseason.

• With wins in Games 4 and 5 of the NLDS, the Dodgers have triumphed in six consecutive playoff elimination games, after going 7-13 in such games during their 1989-2019 championship drought. Los Angeles is the sixth team in postseason history to win at least six straight elimination games and the first since the 2012-16 Giants, who set the all-time record of 10.