At long last, the Dodgers are going back to the World Series.Enrique Hernandez and a relentless offense backed up a stellar Clayton Kershaw on Thursday night at Wrigley Field, as the Dodgers defeated the Cubs, 11-1, in Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by Camping World. In
At long last, the Dodgers are going back to the World Series.
Enrique Hernandez and a relentless offense backed up a stellar Clayton Kershaw on Thursday night at Wrigley Field, as the Dodgers defeated the Cubs, 11-1, in Game 5 of the National League Division Series presented by Camping World. In taking the series, 4-1, L.A. can sit back and await the winner of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, in which the Yankees hold a 3-2 edge over the Astros heading into tonight's Game 6 in Houston.
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When the World Series presented by YouTube TV begins on Tuesday in L.A., the Dodgers will be participating in the Fall Classic for the 19th time, but first since 1988, when they beat Oakland, 4-1. After four straight NL West championship clubs fizzled in the postseason, the 2017 edition finally snapped what was the sixth-longest active pennant drought of any MLB franchise. Their 67 postseason games played between World Series appearances is the most all time, breaking the Astros' record of 52 before the 2005 Fall Classic, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
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Here are some notable facts and figures from the Dodgers' Game 5 victory.
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Three times, charmed
• Hernandez's two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning made him the first player in MLB postseason history to homer three times and drive in seven runs in the same game.
• It was the 11th three-homer postseason game, second this year (Houston's Jose Altuve, ALDS Game 1), first by a Dodgers' player and fifth in any potential series clincher. Only the Rangers' Adrian Beltre (2011 ALDS), Angels' Adam Kennedy ('02 ALCS), and the Yankees' Reggie Jackson (1977 World Series) and Babe Ruth ('28 World Series) had helped their teams seal a series with a three-homer performance.
• Hernandez got the start in left field for the Dodgers against the left-handed Jose Quintana and responded with a solo shot in his first at-bat, for his first career postseason homer. By the time Hernandez came up again, reliever Hector Rondon had replaced Quintana, but that didn't stop Hernandez. For the second straight at-bat, he crushed the first pitch, this time for a grand slam. During the regular season, Hernandez had hit just one homer in 165 plate appearances against righty pitchers. He also became the seventh player in 2017 to go deep on the first pitch twice in a game.
• Hernandez's slam was the fourth in Dodgers postseason history and first since 2008, when James Loney also accomplished the feat at Wrigley Field, in the NLDS.
• Hernandez's seven RBIs tied a postseason record. He was the fifth player to reach that total in a single playoff game and the first since Boston's Troy O'Leary in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against Cleveland. Red Sox teammate John Valentin drove in seven runs in the previous game, and Mo Vaughn also did it for Boston in Game 1 of the '98 ALDS. Seattle's Edgar Martinez had been the only non-Boston player to do it, in Game 4 of the '95 ALDS against the Yankees.
Dodgers bats deliver
• With Chris Taylor walking in the first inning and doubling in the third, and Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig adding hits in the third, all three have reached base safely at least once in each of the Dodgers' eight postseason games. Altuve is the only other player this postseason to have an eight-game on-base streak. Fittingly, Taylor and Turner were named co-MVPs of the series.
• Turner's single in the third inning scored Taylor to make it a 3-0 Dodgers lead. It was Turner's 12th RBI in eight playoff games, tying Davey Lopes (1978) for the second most in a single postseason in Dodgers history. Dusty Baker has the record, with 13 in '77.
• Cody Bellinger went 3-for-5 with a double, making him the youngest Dodgers player to record a three-hit postseason game, at 22 years and 98 days old.
• The Dodgers became the ninth team to clinch an LCS with at least 11 runs scored and just the third to do so with at least a 10-run margin of victory. Only the 2011 Rangers (15-5 vs. Tigers), 1996 Braves (15-0 vs. Cardinals) and '74 Dodgers (12-1 vs. Pirates) had punched their World Series ticket in such emphatic fashion. The Dodgers' 10-run margin of victory was second highest for a road team in any postseason clincher, behind only the 1934 Cardinals, who beat the Tigers, 11-0, in Detroit in Game 7 of the World Series.
Kershaw, bullpen get the job done
• Starting a potential postseason series-clinching game for the second time in his career, Kershaw held the Cubs to one run on three hits over six innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. Combined with the Dodgers' win over the Braves in Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS -- in which Kershaw got a no-decision -- he now has allowed just one earned run over 12 innings in clinchers.
• The only tally against Kershaw came on Kristopher Bryant's fourth-inning solo homer. In three starts this postseason, the lefty has allowed all his runs via the homer (seven runs on six total big flies).
• Kershaw is the fifth starting pitcher in Dodgers history to earn a win in an NLCS clincher, and his came 36 years to the day after Fernando Valenzuela's in Game 5 of the 1981 NLCS against the Expos. Orel Hershiser ('88), Tommy John ('77) and Don Sutton ('74) are the others.
• Once again, the Dodgers' bullpen blanked its opponent, as Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen followed Kershaw with one scoreless inning apiece. In the NLCS, the Dodgers' bullpen fanned 22 out of 58 Cubs batters, allowing just four hits and one walk for a 0.00 ERA and a 0.29 WHIP.
That gives L.A. relievers 23 straight scoreless frames -- featuring 29 strikeouts and one walk -- going back to Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall this postseason, the Dodgers' bullpen has allowed three earned runs over 28 2/3 innings, with two walks and 32 K's.
Curtain closes on Cubs
• With Chicago out, MLB has not had a repeat World Series champion since the Yankees won three titles in a row from 1998-2000.
• Before Thursday, the Cubs had won five straight elimination games since the beginning of the 2016 postseason. Of 37 teams to face a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series, they became just the seventh to force a Game 5.
• The Cubs have played 33 games over the last three postseasons. Quintana's start Thursday, when he lasted just two-plus innings, was the second shortest by a Cubs starter over that span. The only shorter Cubs postseason start since 2015 came from Jason Hammel in Game 4 of the NLCS that October.
The six earned runs Quintana allowed are the most by a Cubs starter in the postseason since Ted Lilly in Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS.
• The Cubs had one hitless at-bat with runners in scoring position on Thursday, which left them 1-for-31 in those situations over their last seven games.
• Outscored 28-8 in the series, the Cubs notched all of their runs via their seven homers. In four of the five games against the Dodgers, Chicago scored off one or more solo shots -- and nothing else. Previously, no team had put together more than two such games in a single postseason round. The 1983 Phillies are the only other team to have four games in an entire postseason in which all of their runs came via solo homers.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.