MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Homer-happy Dodgers stay alive

MLB Notebook: Homer-happy Dodgers stay alive

Of the 41 players to have a multihomer effort in a League Championship Series game, the first to do it with his team facing elimination was Oakland's Reggie Jackson. With his Athletics facing a potential sweep on Oct. 5, 1971, Jackson connected twice against the Orioles' Jim Palmer, producing solo shots in the third and eighth innings.

Even with the one-man show, Baltimore managed a 5-3 victory, and thus Jackson's heroics were overshadowed a bit by the larger story of the Orioles capturing their third consecutive AL pennant.

The outcome was quite a bit brighter for the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez on Wednesday afternoon, as he became the latest author of a two-homer game in the face of potential LCS elimination.

2013 National League Championship Series: Cardinals at Dodgers, Game 5
With a pair of solo home runs, first baseman Gonzalez led a previously homerless Dodgers team to a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals. With the win, Los Angeles held off elimination and forced a Game 6 in St. Louis.

NLDS

• Gonzalez's home runs in the third and eighth innings bookended a four-homer day for the Dodgers. Carl Crawford added a solo homer in the fifth inning, and A.J. Ellis contributed another solo shot in the seventh. The four home runs were the first four hit by Los Angeles in this year's NLCS. The Dodgers were the seventh team to open an LCS with no home runs in at least the first four games, joining the 1976 Royals, '80 Astros (five games), '83 White Sox, '90 Athletics, '95 Reds and 2002 Twins (five).

The four home runs tied a Dodgers postseason record, first set in a 6-1 victory in Game 2 of the 1977 World Series. A year later, they matched their record with four in Game 1 of the '78 NLCS. The overall LCS record for homers in a game is five, established by the Cubs in Game 1 in '84 against the Padres.

• Gonzalez became the 10th Dodgers player to have a multihomer game in the postseason, and the second this year, after Crawford hit two in Game 4 of the NL Division Series.

Before Gonzalez, the most recent Dodgers player to do it in an NLCS was another first baseman -- Steve Garvey in Game 1 in 1978. The most recent Dodgers player to homer twice in a contest with Los Angeles facing elimination was Shawn Green in Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS.

• Crawford's home run was his fourth of the 2013 postseason. He became the seventh Dodgers player to hit at least four home runs in one postseason. Davey Lopes hit five in 1978 for the high mark. The others with four: Duke Snider ('52 and '55), Garvey ('78), Pedro Guerrero ('81) and Manny Ramirez ('08).

Crawford's four home runs from the leadoff spot are the third most for a player in a single postseason. In 1993, Lenny Dykstra hit six for the Phillies, and Lopes' five in '78 also came from the top of the order.

Zack Greinke allowed two runs in seven innings and also contributed at the plate with an RBI single. With Hyun-Jin Ryu also driving in a run in this year's postseason, the Dodgers have two pitchers with an RBI in the same postseason for the first time in team history.

• St. Louis' Matt Holliday (two doubles) and Carlos Beltran (a triple) each moved up the all-time list for postseason extra-base hits. With 29, Beltran is now tied with Alex Rodriguez and Jim Edmonds for the 11th spot, while Holliday -- with 17 -- is tied with seven others in the 52nd slot. The others with 17: Joe Morgan, Willie Stargell, Dykstra, Trot Nixon, Scott Brosius, Edgardo Alfonzo and Torii Hunter, who go to 17 with a double in Wednesday's ALCS Game 4 vs. the Red Sox.

2013 American League Championship Series: Red Sox at Tigers, Game 4
New eighth-place hitter Austin Jackson had a two-hit, two-walk, two-RBI game, new leadoff hitter Hunter doubled and had two RBIs, new No. 2 hitter Miguel Cabrera had a two-hit, two-RBI game as the Tigers defeated the Red Sox, 7-3. The best-of-seven-series is now tied at two games apiece.

ALDS

• Jackson -- who entered the game 3-for-33 with one run scored, one double, two walks and 18 strikeouts in the 2013 postseason -- became just the eighth player in history to be in the eighth spot in the batting order and have a line that included two RBIs while reaching safely at least four times. Jackson was the first to do it since David Murphy of the Rangers went 2-for-2 with three walks and two RBIs in Game 6 of the 2011 ALCS.

• The Tigers, with their reorganized lineup, drew five walks and tallied four strikeouts. It was the 24th time in the team's postseason history they finished a game with more walks than K's. In those 24, they have gone 17-7, including wins in their past nine.

The most recent time Detroit lost a postseason game in which it had more walks than K's was in Game 6 of the 1945 World Series.

• Detroit's Doug Fister allowed one run on eight hits, fanned seven with one walk and picked up the win. After the right-hander departed, the bullpen added another three K's.

The Tigers have fanned at least 10 batters in five straight games. The streak is the longest in a single postseason. They have stuck out at least 10 batters in eight of their nine games this postseason. The eight are the second most in any single postseason, behind the nine posted by the 2012 Tigers.

Jacoby Ellsbury finished a homer shy of hitting for the cycle, and he was responsible for four of Boston's 12 hits in the game.

The performance marked the second time in his postseason career Ellsbury had a four-hit game from the leadoff spot, following his performance in Game 3 of the 2007 World Series. Before that effort, the most recent Red Sox leadoff hitter with a four-hit game in the postseason had been Wally Moses in Game 4 of the 1946 Fall Classic.

With two such games, Ellsbury joined Mickey Rivers as the only two leadoff hitters with a pair of four-hit games in the postseason.

Ellsbury has three games this postseason with at least three hits. Eight other leadoff hitters have produced a trio of three-hit games in one playoff year: Lou Brock (1968), Bert Campaneris ('73), Rivers ('77), Dan Gladden ('91), Jose Offerman ('99), Ichiro Suzuki (2001), Kenny Lofton ('02) and Fernando Vina ('02).

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.