Sometimes it happens so early in a game that you tend to forget about it, or at least overlook it.
The Dodgers rallied with four home runs to win Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday, every blow big. They staved off elimination, moved on to St. Louis.
But something big happened in the first inning, something fairly remarkable.
The Dodgers had sent out their other ace, Zack Greinke, in a game they absolutely had to win. And the first three Cardinals he faced reached base.
It was an opportunity to break open the game early, to rattle Greinke. Except he seemed less rattled than baffled.
“It was more like a look of bewilderment,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “How did the bases get loaded? I gave up two flares and walked [Carlos] Beltran. But he kind of got rid of that quickly.”
Cleanup hitter Matt Adams came up and the Dodgers conceded a run, playing the infield back for the double play.
“We were just trying to hold them to one run,” second baseman Mark Ellis said.
Greinke battled his emotions and bore down. He is, if nothing else, a fierce competitor.
“I was real nervous out there with that situation and trying to make a good pitch,” Greinke said.
But when the count got to 2 and 2 on Adams, Greinke became more ambitious and went for the strikeout. He threw Adams a curveball that ended up in the dirt and was blocked by A.J. Ellis. Adams swung and missed.
Yadier Molina was the next hitter, but his amazing list of talent does not include speed. Now a double play would be huge. Molina sent a sharp bouncer to third baseman Juan Uribe, who stepped on third base and fired to first base for the double play.
“With Molina there is nothing you could do that you know is going to work,” Greinke said. “He can adjust to anything. I kind of got lucky, I guess. I made a good pitch, but still even with a good pitch he can hurt you, and it just worked out.”
On the verge of possibly breaking out to a nice early lead, or at least scoring a run, the Cardinals were turned away without a run.
“When Zack got out of that inning with no runs, it was just a huge momentum swing in the game,” Mark Ellis said. “Sometimes a game is won or lost in that first inning. I think that first inning had a huge impact on today’s game.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times