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The Dodgers trump the Cardinals with a late game walk-off home run

The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after Chris Taylor hit a home run during the ninth inning to win a National League Wild Card playoff baseball game 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger also scored.
The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after Chris Taylor hit a home run during the ninth inning to win a National League Wild Card playoff baseball game 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger also scored.

A two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning pushed the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night during the National League Wild Card Game.

The Dodgers' Chris Taylor, who was suffering from a recurring neck injury, netted the team the needed late-in-the-game lead over the Cardinals.

According to StatsPerform, a sports technology company, Taylor is only the second player in Major League Baseball history to hit a walk-off home run during an important winner-take-all playoff game, despite not starting the game. The other was Aaron Boone in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series.

Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor (3) hits a home run during the ninth inning to win a National League Wild Card playoff baseball game 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger also scored.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor (3) hits a home run during the ninth inning to win a National League Wild Card playoff baseball game 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Los Angeles. Cody Bellinger also scored.

The Dodgers, who are the defending National League champs, will now face off against the their biggest rivals: the San Francisco Giants in the division series.

Game 1 of the best-of-five series is Friday night in San Francisco.

"That's gonna be fun. Yeah, two of the best regular-season records of all time. We've been battling all year, so I expect a hard-fought series," Taylor said, according to ESPN.

It's sure to be a battle between the two powerhouses. According to the ESPN MLB Power Rankings, both the Dodgers and the Giants have swapped places for the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in all of baseball all season long.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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