The Denver Post
DODGERS ADVANCE TO WORLD SERIES
CHICAGO» Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an L.A. story three decades in the making.
Fueled by Hernandez’s home run trilogy, the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going back to the World Series.
Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Clayton Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs’ title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night.
“It feels good to hear World Series,” Kershaw said. “It’s been a long time coming for this team.”
After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball’s most storied franchises captured its first NL pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last world championship in 1988.
The Dodgers will host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into Game 6 at Houston on Friday, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.
The Dodgers made it to the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when Los Angeles was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year’s NLCS at Wrigley Field.
He was just OK in his first two starts in this year’s postseason, but Los Angeles’ loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez’s powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strike- outs in his sixth career playoff win — matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.
When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the game’s final out, the party was on. The Dodgers poured out of their dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small but vocal group of Los Angeles fans behind the visitors’ dugout chanted “Let’s go Dodgers! Let’s go Dodgers!”
Kris Bryant homered for Chicago, but the NL Central champs had just four hits in another tough night at the plate. Each of their eight runs in the NLCS came via the longball, and they batted just .156 for the series with 53 strikeouts.