MLB

Dodgers hero Taylor: I was only trying to hit a single before walk-off home run

By Sports Desk October 07, 2021

Los Angeles Dodgers' match-winner Chris Taylor was only trying to hit a single before his walk-off home-run in Wednesday's 3-1 win over the St Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Game.

Taylor, who did not start the game, came up with the decisive moment from Cardinals closer Alex Reyes at 1-1 in the ninth inning with Cody Bellinger on base.

The 31-year-old, who was a 2021 All Star before losing form late in the season, hit the fifth walk-off winner in a winner-take-all game in majors' history.

Taylor became the first player with a walk-off home run in a winner-take-all game since Edwin Encarnacion in the 2016 Wild Card game.

" I was taking that pitch all the way," Taylor told ESPN after the game. "Let him [Bellinger] get in a scoring position. Once he got there [to second base], I was honestly only trying to hit a single.

"Not try to do too much. He gave me a good sighter to hit and I was able to get it up in the air."

Taylor finished the regular season batting at .254, with 20 home runs, 129 hits and 73 RBIs, with a .782 OPS, although he had not homered in his past 15 games.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted not to start Taylor due to his form but praised him for his impact.

"Honestly the openness from a lot of the players and being ready when called upon," Roberts said.

"I know it sounds trite and easy, to be ready to perform when your number gets called. You might not start the game but you can still impact the game. Clearly you saw Chris Taylor won the game for us."

It was also the second walk-off win to advance in the postseason for Dodgers in their history, with the previous time occurring in 1978 in the NL Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The result means the Dodgers will take on the San Francisco Giants in the NL Division Series, marking the first time two teams with 105-plus regular season wins have met in the postseason.

"That's going to be fun," Taylor said. "Two of the best regular season records of all time. We've been battling all year. I expect a hard-fought series."

Justin Turner also homered to level the game in the fourth inning after Tommy Edman got home in the first inning to give the Cardinals an early lead. Turner's home run extended his franchise record for postseason homers with 13.

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