The Los Angeles Dodgers’ bats came alive in a must-win Game 5 against the Atlanta Braves, scoring 11 runs on 17 hits to send the National League Championship Series back to Truist Park.
The Dodgers’ lineup featured several changes as Chris Taylor moved into a starting role at third place in place of the injured Justin Turner, and he responded with a historic performance that included three home runs and six RBI.
Albert Pujols also started at first base for just the third time this postseason, going 2-for-4 and helping set the table for Taylor’s go-ahead two-run homer in the second inning.
The future Hall of Famer is one of the most accomplished hitters in MLB postseason history and has enjoyed playing on the stage again. “It’s fun,” Pujols said after the Dodgers’ 11-2 win in Game 5.
“Having this opportunity, first I give the glory to God for giving me another opportunity being here wearing this uniform. I wear it with pride every day when I come to the ballpark and I give him all the glory.
“And I want to thank the front office, like always, giving me another opportunity to be in the postseason. You see guys play this game for so long and they never get a chance to be in the postseason.
“I’ve been blessed to be in so many games, winning World Series, and it’s fun. This is what every player plays for. This is why you train in the offseason to go to Spring Training and break camp and hopefully have an opportunity to be one of those eight teams that make it to the postseason.
“And being in this situation was pretty special. I enjoy every ride. I enjoy when I’m playing. I enjoy when I’m on the bench just helping guys out as much as I can. That’s what I’ve been doing over the last four and a half months.”
Pujols not taking postseason opportunity for granted
Prior to this year, Pujols had not participated in the playoffs since 2014 when he was a member of the L.A. Angels. Now nearing the end of his career, the 41-year-old is savoring the opportunity to play in the postseason again.
“You know, the thing is, whether I’m in the postseason or in the regular season, I think for me I learned from probably one of the best managers that I ever played for, Tony La Russa. I don’t take anything for granted,” Pujols said.
“I take my at-bats, I take my game like it’s my last game of my career. That was since Day 1 when I got the opportunity to wear a uniform with the Cardinals in 2001. I think I can see the same attitude of these guys every day.
“They go out there, whether it’s in the regular season, whether it’s in the postseason, they don’t take anything for granted. We take every at-bat, every pitch, every play like it’s our last play, and I think that’s why you have success.
“So for myself, that’s something that I learned early in my career. I had the success that I had in the postseason and early in my career because that’s how I go about it. I don’t take anything for granted every day-in and day-out.
“Now in a different situation, I’m not in the lineup every day, but I am looking and smelling and seeing when my opportunity is going to call up and be ready to go.”
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