Given all the twists and turns this NLDS between the Mets and Dodgers already had before Game 4, it should have been obvious that this thing was going to a do-or-die Game 5. The two teams will do battle one more time Thursday (8:07 p.m., TBS) in Los Angeles with a berth in the NLCS against the championship-starved Cubs on the line.
The Dodgers forced the deciding game by downing the Mets, 3-1, Tuesday night at Citi Field.
LA starter Clayton Kershaw was simply brilliant for the Dodgers, allowing just one earned run on three hits while striking out eight on 94 pitchers. He never slowed down, striking out Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and Michael Cuddyer in the fifth inning alone.
The Dodgers got to Mets starter Steven Matz in the third inning as Adrian Gonzalez slapped a single to shallow center and got Enrique Hernandez across. Justin Turner would then power home Howie Kenrick and Gonzalez on a double to left. Los Angeles held a 3-0 lead heading to the fourth inning.
In the fourth, Daniel Murphy - for the second time in the series - took Kershaw deep, igniting the Citi Field crowd. Unfortunately for the Mets, they could not build on that momentum as Yoenis Cespedes grounded out and Travis d’Arnaud struck out swinging to end the inning.
Matz pitched five full innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked two on 85 pitches.
The Mets had their chances late. In the seventh, Kershaw could not pick up a little dribbler along the third base line and Cespedes was safe at first with no outs. But d’Arnaud fouled out, Duda flied out and Flores grounded out.
In an extremely tense bottom of the eighth, Curtis Granderson and David Wright both reached via walks. Murphy got the count full against Kenley Jansen, who was the Dodgers’ second pitcher of the eighth (following Chris Hatcher), but could only muster a fly out to Yasiel Puig in right.