Unbelievable… Chavez Ravine erupted after Justin Turner crushed a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning Sunday night against the Chicago Cubs.
The three-run homer capped off a 4-1 victory over Chicago, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series. The walk-off home run came on the anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s miraculous walk off home run at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 1988.
Turner was a kid when Gibson helped Tommy Lasorda’s ball club prevail, and he finally got his chance to make his own memorable mark in history by taking advantage of a ball that was thrown right down the middle of the plate by Cubs reliever John Lackey.
Justin Turner said "one of my first baseball memories" is watching Kirk Gibson's walkoff HR at his grandmother's house 29 years ago today
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 16, 2017
MLB Network reporter Heidi Watney caught up with Turner afterward for a postgame interview, and asked what he was looking for during that at-bat:
Just trying to get a good pitch up in the zone, and put a good swing on it, you know. He [Lackey] got behind 1-0, and tried to throw a sinker, I think in, and left it a little over the middle, and thankfully I didn’t miss it or we might still be playing (laughs).
Watney also mentioned that he is one of the only players in postseason history to own a ridiculously high on-base percentage and that the group includes former greats such as Babe Ruth. She asked what makes him so great in the postseason:
I don’t try to think about any of that. I just try to take good at-bats, and find a way to get on base, and hopefully let the next guy drive me in, but when it comes to the postseason, the guys in front of me have been outstanding. Getting on base, finding ways to get in scoring position, and give me opportunities to drive in runs. So, you see the at-bats that we’ve been taking so far in this whole postseason. It’s a grind to get us out, and we’ve been doing a heck of a job, we gotta keep going.
Turner has been lights out during Blue October (.429 batting average, 10 RBIs, and 2 home runs), and he’s now 6 for 8 overall with runners in scoring position during his postseason playing career after that amazing at-bat. But this home run belongs in a special place alongside the most classic moments in Dodgers’ history.
What’s even more pleasing to know is that he credits his teammates and coaching staff for putting him in great opportunities to succeed. That humble approach, passion, and love for the game might be the reason why is why he’s currently taking his game to another level. It’s contagious, and the charisma has certainly spread throughout the clubhouse. He sets a great example for the other players, and it’s a reason why the Dodgers are in a position to reach baseball supremacy.
Dave Roberts’ team has stuck to a firm and effective game plan in the playoffs thus far by winning games and achieving success through the use of a total-collective effort. The Dodgers have certainly stuck to that formula, and they’re currently 5-0 in the postseason.
It was a tight game throughout all nine innings, but the Boys in Blue did a great job of making sure the Cubs didn’t jump out to a big lead after Addison Russell hit a solo home run in the top of the 5th inning. Rich Hill did his job throughout five innings and walked away with eight strikeouts.
Brandon Morrow, Josh Fields, and Tony Watson put in three innings of solid work as relievers, and Kenley Jansen entered the game in the top of the ninth before the Justin Turner delivered his signature swing to end the game. The Dodgers have made things look simple because of their ability to simply hand the ball to the bullpen, and allow them to lead the way against opposing batters. L.A. has a bullpen that’s able to not only hold the opposition but also keep opposing batting orders from hitting and scoring towards the end of games.
Expectations are also exceeded when players like shortstop Charlie Culberson enter the lineup and astoundingly fulfill their roles. Culberson went 1 for 3, with a big-time double, walk and a run scored in his second start of the postseason.
The Dodgers are six wins away from winning a World Series title, but fans love what they’ve been seeing throughout Blue October. There’s a long run ahead of them, but if the Boys in Blue keep this up, and create precious moments like Justin Turner did Sunday, then that goal of ultimately capturing their first championship since the Kirk Gibson days in 1988 is certainly in store for the city of Los Angeles.