Dodgers’ offense goes silent against Tyler Anderson in loss to Rockies

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Tyler Anderson #44 of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Tyler Anderson #44 of the Colorado Rockies pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on the mound against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on the mound against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

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  • Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon falls after being hit by a pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon falls after being hit by a pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Logan Forsythe #11 of the Los Angeles Dodgers forces out Charlie Blackmon #19 of the Colorado Rockies at second base in the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Logan Forsythe #11 of the Los Angeles Dodgers forces out Charlie Blackmon #19 of the Colorado Rockies at second base in the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill throws during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill throws during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika, right, hits a solo home run, as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, left, watches along with home plate umpire Brian Gorman during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika, right, hits a solo home run, as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, left, watches along with home plate umpire Brian Gorman during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika watches his solo home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill, front, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika watches his solo home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill, front, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika, left, heads to first on a solo home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill, front, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika, left, heads to first on a solo home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill, front, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers leaps but can not catch a home run ball hit by Pat Valaika #4 of the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers leaps but can not catch a home run ball hit by Pat Valaika #4 of the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez can’t reach the ball on a solo home run by Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez can’t reach the ball on a solo home run by Colorado Rockies’ Pat Valaika during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Pat Valaika #4 of the Colorado Rockies rounds second base after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Pat Valaika #4 of the Colorado Rockies rounds second base after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Pat Valaika #4 is congratulated by DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies after hitting a home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Pat Valaika #4 is congratulated by DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies after hitting a home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Anderson throws during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Anderson throws during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is pulled from the game by Manager Dave Roberts  in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is pulled from the game by Manager Dave Roberts in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, center, throws out Colorado Rockies’ Ian Desmond at first as starting pitcher Rich Hill, left, and Rockies’ Trevor Story watch during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, center, throws out Colorado Rockies’ Ian Desmond at first as starting pitcher Rich Hill, left, and Rockies’ Trevor Story watch during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Scott Alexander #75 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Scott Alexander #75 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado hits a solo home run in front of Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado hits a solo home run in front of Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado watches his solo home run off Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Alexander, front, during the eighth inning of Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Rockies won 3-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado watches his solo home run off Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Alexander, front, during the eighth inning of Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Rockies won 3-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado gestures as he scores after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado gestures as he scores after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies crosses home plate in front of Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after hitting a home run in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies crosses home plate in front of Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after hitting a home run in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado gestures as he scores on a solo home run, next to Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado gestures as he scores on a solo home run, next to Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor, left, waits for the throw, before tagging out Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story as Story triesdto steal second during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor, left, waits for the throw, before tagging out Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story as Story triesdto steal second during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Colorado Rockies’ Chris Iannetta tosses his bat after hitting a solo home run off Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Yimi Garcia, front, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies’ Chris Iannetta tosses his bat after hitting a solo home run off Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Yimi Garcia, front, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner hits a solo home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner hits a solo home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds second base after hitting a home run agains the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Rockies won 3-1. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds second base after hitting a home run agains the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Rockies won 3-1. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated on his ninth inning home run against the against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Rockies won 3-1. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 29: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated on his ninth inning home run against the against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Rockies won 3-1. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, right, tosses his bat in the air after striking out to end Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers struck out 10 times and had just five hits. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, right, tosses his bat in the air after striking out to end Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers struck out 10 times and had just five hits. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Colorado Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, left, and relief pitcher Wade Davis congratulate each other after the Rockies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 in a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Colorado Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, left, and relief pitcher Wade Davis congratulate each other after the Rockies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 in a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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LOS ANGELES — Their bullpen is undermanned and overburdened. Their rotation seems perpetually in a state of renovation or reconstruction with starting pitchers scattered from here to Rancho Cucamonga. But the Dodgers have their offense to prop it all up.

Not Friday night.

Left-hander Tyler Anderson retired the first 11 Dodgers in order and allowed only four hits in eight scoreless innings as the Colorado Rockies handed the Dodgers a 3-1 defeat.

Justin Turner did hit a home run with two outs in the ninth inning, the Dodgers’ 54th in June. That is a new franchise record for any calendar month (and four short of the major-league record for a month).

Chris Taylor came close to breaking the record right out of the gate. He sent Rockies right fielder Noel Cuevas to the wall with a long drive leading off the bottom of the first inning. That was as close to scoring as the Dodgers came against Anderson.

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The 28-year-old left-hander fairly breezed through the Dodgers’ lineup. He struck out five of the first 11 Dodgers before allowing a soft single by Turner. The four hits he allowed were all singles, including a dribbler by Yasiel Puig that traveled no more than 20 feet. None of the baserunners advanced past first base.

“We’ve seen Anderson quite a bit,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “There’s some funk in there in the delivery. But tonight I think it was the cut fastball in on the righties. He kept us off balance with offspeed, the cutter, threw the fastball away, the slider.

“He has a three-, four-pitch mix we just really couldn’t get any swings off of.”

But the best thing Anderson did for the Rockies was pitch deep into the game, keeping the Dodgers away from the Rockies’ dreadful bullpen.

Anderson needed more than 12 pitches to retire the side in just two of his eight innings. He threw 96 pitches in all, completing eight innings for the first time in his 51 career starts.

In his past three starts away from pitcher-tormenting Coors Field, Anderson has allowed only three runs on 15 hits and two walks while striking out 19 in 22 innings.

Dodgers starter Rich Hill was only a step behind.

Hill allowed six hits and pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season, striking out a season-high 10 along the way.

“The ball was coming out of my hand the way I wanted,” Hill said. “That’s what I was really pleased with today. The quality and consistency of my curveball was really what I wanted.”

In three starts since returning from his blister problem, Hill has allowed four earned runs on 14 hits, three walks and a jarring five hit batters while striking out 21 in 17-2/3 innings.

“He was really good,” Roberts said. “You look at the three starts he’s had since coming back. A really good one, just okay and another really good one.”

But he made one costly mistake.

Hill got No. 8 hitter Pat Valaika down 0-and-2 quickly in the fifth inning but couldn’t finish him off. Four pitches later, Hill left a 1-and-2 fastball up and over the plate. Even the .128-hitting Valaika knew what to do with that. He drove it over the wall in left-center for his first home run of the season.

Hill was done in the seventh inning. The Rockies were not.

They padded their lead with solo home runs by Nolan Arenado off Dodgers reliever Scott Alexander in the eighth inning and by Chris Iannetta off Yimi Garcia in the ninth.

5️⃣4️⃣! @redturn2’s solo shot sets a new #Dodgers franchise record for home runs in a single month. pic.twitter.com/zMdlvNjGoP

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 30, 2018

Dave Roberts reflects on Rich Hill’s night and what made getting to Tyler Anderson so tough for the #Dodgers offense tonight. pic.twitter.com/R5d2Hl57fM

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 30, 2018

Rich Hill talks with @alannarizzo about his solid 6-inning outing in which he struck out 10 and surrendered just one run. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/eX69fds8sF

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 30, 2018

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Whicker: Astros leave Dodgers offense stranded in space

LOS ANGELES — You can send a good-riddance bouquet to Yu Darvish if you wish.

You can build the weirdest Erector set of reasons why Dave Roberts bollixed up the pitching.

In lieu of recognizing that the Dodgers lost the World Series to a better team.

You can wonder all winter why manifest destiny died in the glove of Yuli Gurriel, who took the final throw from Jose Altuve and disbelievingly put his hands on his head as the Houston Astros, who first were named the Colt .45s and played on a snake-infested field with mosquitos the size of backpacks, won the first World Series in their history.

But in the end you have to go back to Dodger trademarks that lost their adhesiveness and fell off, and Dodger habits that they somehow unlearned.

In the tough moments, the big blue offensive machine was taken apart by Houston pitching and never reassembled. With all those pieces on the ground, nothing else mattered.

Game 7 was the most cut-and-dried game of the series. There were no lead changes, no course corrections after Series MVP George Springer creamed a two-run home run off Darvish in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.

Yet Lance McCullers Jr. hit almost as many Dodgers as he did the targets from catcher Brian McCann, and he was gone in the third inning, with plenty of chances for the Dodgers to recover. They didn’t, and their clubhouse reeked of disbelief.

“I thought all day we were going to come in here to win,” catcher Austin Barnes said.

“We left everything we had on that field,” center fielder Chris Taylor said. “I think everyone in here is physically and mentally exhausted. Throughout the playoffs, there was no letup. We’re pretty spent right now. It’s a good time to get away from baseball for a while.”

Their season ended on the first day of November, less than three and a half months from when another one will begin. In boxing they say there is always a style waiting for you, a method to neutralize whatever you do. That seemed impossible after 104 regular-season wins, but the Astros had that secret sauce. It came from pitchers most Dodgers fans couldn’t have picked out of a Starbucks line.

Charlie Morton pitched the final four innings of Game 7 with 99 mph fastballs and great variety and precision. He held the Dodgers to five hits in 10⅓ innings overall, with 11 strikeouts.

Brad Peacock pitched 7⅓ innings against L.A. and gave up four hits.

The Dodgers managed to avoid losing to Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. But Peacock finished them off in Game 3 and Morton in Game 7.

“Morton had that bowling-ball sinker,” Barnes said. “But when they got the five-run lead, sure, they were going to come right at us.”

“He threw me a lot of changeups,” Taylor said of Morton. “Curves and changeups and that heavy sinker, really tough at-bats.”

‘“I think they put the ball in the spots they wanted,” first baseman Cody Bellinger said. “They were aggressive and got ahead of us. We had guys on base, chances to do something, and couldn’t get the hit we needed.”

All season the Dodgers were finicky eaters at the plate. They stayed within the confines of their personal strike zones. They became annoying fouling machines in two-strike situations, and then teed off when pitchers gave in.

The Astros took the game back to where it lives, where pitchers put the burden on hitters. The Dodgers drew three walks per game and saw more pitches than Houston did. But Morton needed only 128 pitches to get his 31 outs in the Series.

“What I learned is that it’s not the regular season, and you have to make adjustments in-game if necessary,” Bellinger said. “And sometimes, different kinds of adjustments.”

Bellinger, who as usual faced more of the media music than any other Dodger, had a strange Series. He wound up striking out 17 times, which is a Series record, and 29 times for the postseason, which is also a record. He started the Series 0 for 13. But then he won Game 4 and did all he could to win Game 5, with a homer and a triple.

Seven games were long enough for Bellinger, as good a defender as either side had, to throw behind Darvish on Alex Bregman’s grounder, giving Houston a 1-0 lead in about three minutes. Bellinger wound up 4 for 28 for the Series and had plenty of company in misery.

Justin Turner, who was far from 100 percent physically, went 4 for 25 with 2 RBIs. Yasiel Puig was 4 for 27. Chris Taylor and Corey Seager were both 6 for 27.

Add it up and the Dodgers hit .205 for the Series and .200 with men in scoring position. More important, their on-base percentage was only .290.

And yet they will have trouble letting go of the very legitimate notion that they should have won the Series in five games.

They had a two-run lead in Game 2 going into the eighth inning before Houston laid waste to the bullpen, and they had three leads in that Mad Max of a Game 5 in Houston before Dave Roberts was reduced to using relievers who should have spent the night in the hammock.

“That’s probably what I’ll look back on, the two games we had a chance to win and didn’t,” Taylor said. “But I’m sure we won a couple of games you could say the same thing about.”

A few Dodgers were giving the “we had a great season” speech without convincing anyone, including themselves. The verge of victory is a more painful resting place than the periphery. Especially when you forget how you got there.

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Justin Turner, Chris Taylor repay Dodgers’ patience by sharing NLCS MVP

Los Angeles Dodgers' Justin Turner hits an RBI single during the third inning of Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night in Chicago. Turner shared NLCS co-MVP honors with Chris Taylor. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner hits an RBI single during the third inning of Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night in Chicago. Turner shared NLCS co-MVP honors with Chris Taylor. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

By JIM LITKE

The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Justin Turner and Chris Taylor shared MVP honors in the NL Championship Series, repaying a Dodgers organization willing to roll the dice on players whose big league careers were stalled.

In Turner’s case, it was then-bench coach Tim Wallach who rediscovered him playing in a Cal State Fullerton alumni baseball game four years ago, after his career appeared all but over.

In Taylor’s case, it was the Dodgers’ willingness to gamble that an offseason of grueling workouts would enable the young utilityman to rebuild his swing in a matter of months.

The co-MVPs turned up in the interview room together after the Dodgers eliminated the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs, 11-1, in Game 5. They were champagne-soaked with hats turned backward, a pair of googles still perched on Turner’s head. Fittingly, they doused each other with praise.

“He’s a dynamic player and a table setter,” said Turner, who hit .333 for the series, with two home runs and seven RBI. “When he goes, we usually go as a team.”

“I talk to him as much as I can. He’s one of the reasons I decided to make the changes I did,” said Taylor, who finished at .316 with two homers and three RBI. Both men also walked five times, as many as the entire Cubs roster.

“Guys that have gone out on a ledge and made big changes and had success with it,” Taylor added, “I saw those guys and the success they had, and that’s kind of what encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone.”

Before the Dodgers punched their first World Series ticket since 1988, Manager Dave Roberts said Taylor had been a “fringy, 4-A player” with his old swing – good enough to play comfortably in Triple-A, but too often overmatched in the major leagues.

With a new look at the plate (Mike Trout’s bat waggle, Turner’s leg kick, Nolan Arenado’s weight shift), the 27-year-old was part of the most valuable duo on the field throughout this series.

“To really try to shoot the moon as far as committing to a swing change, he did that,” Robert said. “And it really paid off.”

Turner, meanwhile, had already established himself in three previous playoff appearances as one of the most dangerous hitters in the postseason. Then he served notice in Game 2 that he’d be a similar force against the Cubs.

His walk-off home run in that one was the Dodgers’ first in the postseason since Kirk Gibson in 1988, a feat he remembered watching as a 4-year-old at his grandmother’s house in Southern California.

“One of my first baseball memories,” Turner said.

Now he’s returning the favor for a few youngsters in search of some inspiration.

“People were talking about the J.T. homer,” Roberts said, “and it’s up to us to make that an iconic moment as well.”

Taylor’s highlights included momentum-swinging home runs in both Games 1 and 3. The first came in the sixth inning, when reliever Hector Rondon tried to throw a 97 mph fastball and watched Taylor deposit it over the wall in right-center for a 3-2 lead.

The second came in Game 3, when Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks tried to sneak an 88 mph sinker past him. Taylor drove that one into the seats as well, tying the score, 1-1, and helping LA’s offense get on track in a 6-1 win.

The most inspirational part of Turner’s story stretches much further back.

He broke into the big leagues with Baltimore at the end of the 2009 season, but was designated for reassignment to the minors the following spring. Claimed off waivers by the Mets, Turner lasted three seasons playing all around the infield (he was blocked by All-Star David Wright at third base), but the Mets let him leave as a free agent in 2013.

Later that offseason, Wallach saw Turner playing in a Cal State Fullerton alumni game, and the organization signed him to a minor league deal. His versatility earned him playing time when infielders Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe went down with injuries, and the third baseman has been tough to keep off the lineup card since.

After that breakout year, Turner began establishing his postseason bona fides against his old team, the Mets, in the 2015 NLDS with a .526 average. After tearing through the 2016 NLDS, though Turner stumbled against the Cubs in the NLCS a season ago.

But he more than made up for that this time around.

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Whicker: Dodgers, Cody Bellinger show their leathery side in Game 1 win

LOS ANGELES — Since Sept. 22, nothing they did meant anything. Aimless games. Playoff auditions. Meetings and videos and ticket requests and logistics and a lava flow of stats.

Baseball teams rarely have time to look around. Now the Dodgers had to kill more of it than they ever imagined.

The Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks were the final teams to throw a postseason pitch. The American League teams had finished two games before their Game 1.

Two things could happen: the Dodgers would be burdened by the weight of their 104 wins and their 29 years without rings, or they would play like the selves they showed throughout that season.

Leadoff man Chris Taylor took two strikes from Taijuan Walker, fouled and worked his way to 3-and-2, and got a base hit.

The reset button was on.

The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks, 9-5, after they led, 7-1. They left their fans to fret about the four home runs off Clayton Kershaw, but otherwise they rediscovered themselves, the focus and the flair. Justin Turner got five RBI in his methodical way and Yasiel Puig drove all over the road.

And in one moment of potential turbulence, Cody Bellinger provided the defensive layer that the Dodgers had produced without much notice all year.

The score was 4-1 in the top of the fourth. A.J. Pollock had homered off Kershaw the previous inning. Here, J.D. Martinez singled. The Dodgers then turned the first of three double plays. But Kershaw, not quite on his pre-injury game, walked Adam Rosales.

Ketel Marte chopped a ball that looked as if it would ooze past Bellinger and Logan Forsythe and into right field, to bring the tying run to the plate.

Instead, first baseman Bellinger extended his glove to the limit and nabbed it, and then flipped to Corey Seager for the force that ended the inning.

“I just kept putting my hand out and it wound up in the glove,” Bellinger said. “I didn’t have a good grip on it at first.”

Sometimes the plays that keep you from losing are as crucial as the ones that let you win. The Dodgers gratefully got three runs in their fourth, and the rest was entertainment: Brandon Morrow snuffing a rally with one 99 mph pitch, a resurgent Seager providing a single to left and a triple to right, and Puig being Puig, as if he could do otherwise.

Puig doubled home the fourth run in the first inning and executed a Shawn Michaels crotch chop when he came up with his slide. He tripled in the seventh inning and looked up from that slide, saw his dugout celebrating and stuck out his tongue again and again

“I don’t know what that was,” Bellinger said.

“Sometimes you shake your head, sometimes you smile,” said Manager Dave Roberts, who did a lot of head-shaking last week when Puig reverted to his own time zone. But Puig was part of the fun the Dodgers were rediscovering.

“I was getting anxious,” Bellinger said. “I wasn’t really nervous. It was exciting, hearing the crowd roar. By the first pitch, all of that goes away.

“I didn’t really feel that urgency until today. We’d spent some days with live pitching, our pitchers had faced live hitting. It’s always good to have a couple of days off. By tonight we were ready to go.”

For Taylor, the frame tightened on Wednesday night, when the Diamondbacks held off Colorado and moved into the Dodgers’ bracket.

“That’s when I started saying I wanted to get out there,” Taylor said. “You’ve been off a couple of days, now it’s time to get started. The way we kept scoring, it felt like the beginning of the year. It seemed like everything was clicking.”

The Dodgers got five hits in 15 at-bats with men in scoring position. The 15 was as impressive as the five because it pressured the Arizona pitchers. Walker was gone after one inning, and rookie Zack Godley, usually a starter, made a nice one-man stand for five innings.

The Diamondbacks need all the bullpen they can get because they used Robbie Ray, the Game 2 starter Saturday, for 34 pitches in the wild-card win Wednesday.

Ray was 3-0 against the Dodgers this year and was untouchable in two late-season victories. He will be pitching with three days’ rest. It’s natural to wonder if he’ll be compromised in any way.

Meanwhile, Kershaw announced that he is immediately preparing for Game 5, which would be Thursday. That’s significant because, at long last, he won’t be asked to pitch a playoff game on unnaturally short rest.

The ninth inning wasn’t a save situation but Kenley Jansen pitched it anyway, and it turned out sloppy. There was a single and a walk and an error by Seager. The final hitter was David Peralta, and he sent a seed up the middle that disappeared, hard, into Jansen’s glove, the type of projectile the Dodgers either caught or dodged for most of six months.

On Friday they were a target that had remembered how to move.

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Miller: Dodgers jump on Diamondbacks, then romp to Yasiel Puig’s antics

LOS ANGELES — His pursuit of postseason immortality lasted longer Friday than anyone would have dared dream.

Finally, Taijuan Walker buckled, striking out Curtis Granderson and ending his bid for an imperfect game.

Before that deflating development, the Dodgers were 4 for 4 with a walk against Arizona’s starter, who, let’s be honest, in Game 1 of this National League Division Series was more of a finisher.

By the time Walker was done – he lasted only one inning, one inning that required him to make 48 pitches en route to surrendering four runs – the Diamondbacks were done, too.

The Dodgers eventually won, 9-5, Arizona unable to overcome its early bottomless pit despite eventually hitting four homers off Clayton Kershaw, something that never before had happened to a Dodgers pitcher in the postseason.

For a team that will be dissatisfied closing with anything other than a World Series championship, the Dodgers certainly opened with a flourish, a game that lasted 3:37 essentially over in mere minutes.

“It’s just nice to jump on them early,” shortstop Corey Seager said. “It’s nice to get Game 1, get the momentum and move on from there.”

In an ideal world, Walker wouldn’t have been the Diamondbacks’ first choice to start this game. Or second choice.

No, in an ideal world, former Dodger Zack Greinke would have drawn this spot opposite Kershaw in a showdown of genuine No. 1s.

But, in an ideal world, Arizona wouldn’t wear uniforms that look like George Jetson’s pajamas, either.

As it was, Greinke started the game that brought the Diamondbacks here, their wild-card victory over Colorado.

Unfortunately for Arizona, Robbie Ray also was needed in that game in relief, leaving this start to Walker, who entered Friday without having as much as a winning regular-season record.

“That was a huge positive,” Seager said. “They had to throw their guys to advance. We got to heal up, rest and get ready.”

Walker was 9-9 in 2017 and, for his career, 31-31, the absolute picture – and, for that matter, pitcher – of mediocrity.

At age 25, he also was making his postseason debut, going up against a veteran who who has done just about everything in baseball except during October, a month that mostly has done onto him.

Still, having Kershaw in this matchup represented a monumental advantage for the Dodgers, one they seized so quickly and aggressively that they risked 50 simultaneous hamstring pulls.

“It’s hard to pitch to our lineup,” rookie Cody Bellinger said. “When we come out with a plan and we execute it, then good things happen.”

Loud things happen, too.

After Chris Taylor singled and Seager walked to start the bottom of the first, Justin Turner ripped a three-run homer estimated to have traveled 424 feet to left-center, holding his post-swing pose like a satisfied golfer.

It’s normally considered a bad sign for a starting pitcher to have more mound visits from a coach than outs recorded.

But suddenly, just three batters into the game, there was Arizona’s Mike Butcher, counseling Walker. Or perhaps just stalling, killing time hoping Dodger Stadium would stop swaying with raucous delight.

“That’s a big homer,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Big homer. We had a great offensive night. Obviously, you feel pretty good when Clayton’s on the mound.”

Up 3-0, Bellinger followed with a single and then scored on a double by Yasiel Puig, igniting more noise, burying Walker and the Diamondbacks under even more decibels.

Upon reaching second, Puig, apparently caught up in the chaos he had just helped create, executed what I believe is known as a double crotch-chop.

I do know the NFL once fined Carson Palmer for making a similar gesture. I’m not sure, however, where baseball stands on the matter.

Let’s just all agree, though, that it’s probably not a bad thing that, by the time Puig was self chopping, it was already approaching 11 p.m. for television viewers on the East Coast.

It also was getting awfully late for Walker, who didn’t secure his first out until his 38th pitch. By comparison, Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow later would get four outs on seven pitches.

Speaking of later, Puig punctuated a seventh-inning head-first slide on a triple by holding his mouth agape and wagging his tongue in the direction of the Dodgers’ dugout, a visual captured by cameras in graphic super slow-motion.

It was somewhat reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s famous tongue cameos, only with much more passion and far less grace.

For Dodgers fans, however, the moment was equally as signature, Puig and his teammates enjoying a playful romp over an opponent that, on this night especially, entered as overmatched and exited the same way.

“When I slide, that’s my reaction,” Puig explained. “I don’t know why. I feel maybe ice cream in front of me or something like that.”

Ice cream or a cream puff? Whatever, the Dodgers took full advantage and ate it up in Game 1.

What could be a long postseason feast started Friday with dessert.

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