ARLINGTON, Texas – Justin Turner and the Los Angeles Dodgers have completed the first step of what they hope is a long stay in the Lone Star State.
Turner put the Dodgers ahead with a record-breaking hit in a big inning fueled by a nice stop-gone-bad by Fernando Tatis Jr., and they closed out a three-game NL Division Series sweep of the San Diego Padres with an 12-3 win Thursday night.
“Records are cool, championships are better,” said Turner, who was part of the 2017 and 2018 National League championship teams that fell short in the World Series. “Until you’re the last team standing, that’s the ultimate goal.”
Will Smith set a Dodgers postseason record with five hits, and Joc Pederson had a two-run single to cap that decisive five-run third as Los Angeles advanced to its fourth NL Championship Series in five years. The Dodgers lost to the Washington Nationals in a five-game division series last season.
After earning a spot in their 14th NLCS, to match the St. Louis Cardinals for the most, the Dodgers gathered for a team picture on the pitcher's mound at the same ballpark where the NLCS and World Series will be played.
“We obviously feel really confident about our club, we've still got a lot to work to do though,” AJ Pollock said. “We did what we wanted to do, we did what we're supposed to do. We're going to celebrate that, but we expected it.”
Turner's RBI single made it 3-2 and was his 64th career postseason hit, breaking a tie with Steve Garvey for the most in Dodgers postseason history.
That came right after Tatis, the 21-year-old budding superstar, made a diving play on Corey Seager's hard grounder, but then tried to make a throw from his knee. The ball skipped along the dirt and past first baseman Eric Hosmer, allowing Mookie Betts to score the tying run.