Pederson had a leadoff home run overturned upon replay review Wednesday night before Muncy picked him up, smashing a shot to the right-field bleachers for a quick 2-0 lead against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals at Dodger Stadium.
The advantage grew to 3-0 in the second inning when Enrique Hernández, after robbing Soto of a hit with a diving catch in the top of the frame, hit another Dodgers homer off Strasburg.
But it wasn’t enough for the Dodgers, who were limited to two hits in the final eight innings of a 10-inning, 7-3 loss to the Nationals that sent Washington on to the NL Championship Series.
Clayton Kershaw said he deserved the blame after losing the lead in the eighth inning on back-to-back home runs for Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. Dodgers hitters called that an unfair assessment.
“We had a lot of opportunities to add onto that lead after the second,” Hernandez said. “At the end of the day, if we would have scored one more run we might have won that game. For Kersh to say [it’s his fault], that’s the man that he is. But it’s on everybody. We all lost. We got beat.”
“Sometimes in baseball, things aren’t meant to be,” Muncy said. “Tonight kind of feels like that. Hats off to them. They made good swings when it counted.”
The homer was Muncy’s third of the series and gave him five hits in his first 15 NLDS at-bats (he finished 5-for-19). The long ball came against a pitcher who had given Muncy plenty of trouble. He was 0-for-12 lifetime against Strasburg in his career, in 15 plate appearances (including the playoffs). Those was his most hitless plate appearances against any pitcher entering the night.
It came as part of a loud start against Strasburg, who entered Game 5 with the best postseason ERA of all time. Pederson hit Strasburg’s third pitch to deep left field, and it was initially ruled a home run. But upon review, the baseball actually sailed through an opening in the outfield fence and into the Dodgers' bullpen, so Pederson was sent back to second base with a double.
Five pitches later, Muncy brought Pederson home again.
“It was kind of a weird thing. I’ve never seen a ball do that, go between the pad,” Muncy said. “The biggest thing he was on second with nobody out and we had a chance to score early in the game.”