The Sports Report: Dodgers win wild-card game in dramatic fashion

Chris Taylor rounds the bases after hitting the game-winning two-run home run.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The slider from Alex Reyes hung and hung, long enough for Chris Taylor to identify it, load up, and smash his struggles from the last three months with one swing.

When the line drive landed, and it landed quickly, over the left-field wall, Dodger Stadium was already deafening. His teammates were already spilling out of the dugout. Cody Bellinger, halfway between second and third base, had already thrown his hands in the air.


Taylor was dashing around the bases behind him. A mob at home plate waited to rip his jersey off in delirium, completing a 3-1 comeback victory for the Dodgers over the St. Louis Cardinals in Wednesday’s wild-card game to stay alive in their quest to become Major League Baseball’s first repeat World Series champions in two decades, and the first back-to-back champs in the franchise’s 138-year history.

“These are the type of moments you dream about and live for,” Taylor said. “I’ll be able to look back on this the rest of my life.”

The swing ensured that the Dodgers’ franchise-record-tying 106 regular-season wins wouldn’t be erased with one forgettable night when their hired gun scuffled and the bats were silenced by the devil magic the Cardinals brewed to win 17 straight games in September.

Instead, they will face the San Francisco Giants in the postseason for the first time in the storied rivalry’s history in a five-game National League Division Series. Game 1 is Friday at Oracle Park.


Plaschke: The Shot Heard Round the Ravine: Dodgers top Cardinals in epic wild-card walkoff

Hernández: Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer’s latest shaky start is source of concern


Repeat L.A.? Dodgers spark hope that another ring is possible

Dodgers’ bullpen, Cody Bellinger and other takeaways from the NL wild-card game

Winner takes all: Photos of the NL Wildcard between the Dodgers and Cardinals

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Dan Woike on the Lakers: Of all the ways for Carmelo Anthony to make his Lakers debut, this was a strange one.

Playing on a court with a WNBA logo in the center in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday, Anthony finally stepped onto the floor in Lakers’ gold to start his 19th NBA season.

Ceding their prime-time spot to the more deserving WNBA conference finals, the Suns and Lakers continued their preseason in Phoenix, with L.A. losing 117-105.

Anthony’s Lakers’ debut, though, took precedent over any result, the Lakers getting a glimpse at what the 37-year-old forward could add this season.

He played 17 minutes and scored eight points on 10 shots — only one coming from beyond the three-point line.

“At this point in the season, I think at this part, it’s just figuring it out and getting the kinks out and trying to get everybody back on the court at one time,” Anthony said.


Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Coach Tyronn Lue said it was “nice to see” himself recognized by NBA general managers in their annual preseason survey, in which 37% rated Lue the league’s best coach at making in-game adjustments.

That skill ties in with another that has drawn just as much praise for Lue within the Clippers since his hiring — his reputation as a clear communicator. It’s why Isaiah Hartenstein and Harry Giles, 23-year-old backup centers on nonguaranteed contracts competing for the 15th and final roster spot, know exactly what they need to do to tip the scales in their favor of sticking with the roster into the regular season.

“Defensively, [are] they able to pick up our defense foundation and what we’re trying to do, being in the right spots, being a rim protector?” Lue said Wednesday, before the Clippers’ second preseason game, against Sacramento. “And offensively just being able to roll, get to the dunker [spot], understand what we’re trying to do offensively, and be able to execute. I think it’s our biggest thing.”

Where Hartenstein and Giles were often asked to play Denver’s smaller forwards Monday, matchups that Lue said made it difficult to rate each’s performance, Wednesday’s second preseason game, a 113-98 loss against against Sacramento, saw each matched up more against traditional frontcourt size. Hartenstein generated three rebounds, three assists, a lob dunk, steal and only one foul in his first stint of seven minutes. When he was replaced midway through the second quarter, it was by starter Ivica Zubac, with Giles still waiting for his first minutes.


Jeff Miller on the Chargers: He has gone from playing nowhere to playing everywhere, Derwin James Jr. once again visible all over the Chargers’ defense.

He has been on the field for 97% of the team’s defensive snaps through four games, missing only a brief stretch against the Kansas City Chiefs after he dislocated his shoulder and had to pop it back in place.

Under new coach Brandon Staley and now healthy, James is second on the team with 26 tackles and sealed a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday with a late interception.

“We came together, me and him, before in the fourth quarter,” edge rusher Joey Bosa said. “We’re like, ‘This is on us, man. We got to do this.’ For him to come up with it was awesome.”


Bill Dwyre on tennis: It was 11:08 a.m. Wednesday, when Andrea Petkovic of Germany stepped to the service line at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Most likely, the moment was lost on her. Tennis players, as with most pro athletes, focus on performance and results. Historical perspective can wait for 20 years.

In a state-of-the-art tennis stadium with a capacity of 16,100, a gathering pushing 100 was jangling around in the seats. That is normal for first matches on court in big tournaments. Tennis doesn’t do mornings well. None of the fans were thinking much about anything other than getting to their seats and having something cool to drink.

But those who were there got to witness the first official moment on this legendary court since March 17, 2019, when Roger Federer hit a shot into the net and Dominic Thiem flopped onto his back in celebration. He had won his first Masters Series 1000, and had beaten his childhood hero to do so. He, like women’s champion Bianca Andreescu, would pocket $1,345,000. For the tennis tour, life was good. For Thiem and Andreescu, it was really good.

Little did Thiem know, nor could anybody, that the stage upon which he flopped would remain dormant for the next 31 months. In terms of big-time tennis activity, the Coachella Valley became the Mojave Desert.


1904 — Jack Chesbro registers his 41st victory of the season as New York defeats Boston 3-2.

1916 — Georgia Tech, coached by John Heisman, beats Cumberland 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game in history.

1945 — The Green Bay Packers score 41 points in the first quarter in a 57-21 win against the Detroit Lions.

1962 — Judy Kimball wins the LPGA championship with a four-stroke victory over Shirley Spork.

1967 — Tulsa wide receivers Ricky Eber and Harry Wood have the best day by a receiving duo in college football history. Eber has 20 receptions for 322 yards and three touchdowns, while Wood grabs 13 passes for 318 yards and three scores in Tulsa’s 58-0 win over Idaho State.

1970 — Willie Shoemaker wins his 6,033rd race to pass Johnny Longden as the winningest jockey. His first race was won on April 20, 1949.

1984 — Walter Payton breaks Jim Brown’s career rushing mark of 12,312 yards and Brown’s career mark of 58 100-yard rushing games in a 20-7 victory over New Orleans. Payton breaks the record on Chicago’s second play from scrimmage in the second half.

1985 — Lynette Woodard, captain of the women’s basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, is chosen to be the first woman to play for the Harlem Globetrotters.

1995 — Coach Eddie Robinson gets his 400th victory as Grambling beats Mississippi Valley State 42-6.

2000 — Zamir Amin of Menlo College sets an NCAA all-divisions record, passing for 731 yards in the Division III school’s 37-32 loss to Cal Lutheran. Amin, 39-of-66 with four TDs and three interceptions, breaks the mark of 716 set by David Klingler of Division I-A Houston against Arizona State on Dec. 2, 1990.

2001 — San Diego’s Rickey Henderson becomes the 25th player with 3,000 hits with a bloop double in a 14-5 loss to Colorado.

2001 — Barry Bonds wraps up his record-breaking season with his 73rd homer and shatters the slugging percentage record that Babe Ruth had owned for 81 years. He finishes with a slugging percentage of .863, easily surpassing the mark of .847 that Ruth set in 1920.

2006 — Denis Hopovac’s fifth field goal of the game, in an NCAA record-tying seventh overtime, gives North Texas a 25-22 victory over Florida International. The other two seven-overtime games involved Arkansas — against Mississippi in 2001 and Kentucky in 2003.

2011 — Minnesota Lynx beat the Atlanta Dream 73-67 to complete a three-game sweep of the WNBA championship series.

2012 — Drew Brees finishes 29 for 45 for 370 yards with four TD passes and an interception in New Orleans’ 31-24 win over San Diego. Brees breaks the NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th straight game. His 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson eclipses the mark of 47 consecutive games set by Johnny Unitas from 1956-60.

2017 — Jarvion Franklin runs in from the 12 to give Western Michigan a 71-68 victory over Buffalo in a record-tying seven overtimes with a record-breaking 139 total points.

2017 — Backup Khalil Tate rushes for 327 yards, an FBS record for a quarterback, and accounts for five touchdowns to help Arizona hold off Colorado 45-42.

2017 — Alex Ovechkin scores four goals to become the first player in 100 years with back-to-back hat tricks to open a season, and the Washington Capitals beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-1.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Highlights from the Dodgers-Cardinals game. Watch it here.

Until next time...

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