Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error WASHINGTON, D.C. >> It will be a team of destiny facing a team of density, the Dodgers having packed their roster with enough mass per unit volume to overcome their own shortcomings and reach the National League Championship Series.Closers pitching in the seventh inning. Tag-team starting pitchers. Backup catchers pinch-running and pinch-hitting – at the same time. Aces “absolutely not” available to pitch closing out the game. Cats living with dogs.Welcome to the new world order.Closer Kenley Jansen pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief and Clayton Kershaw came in to get the final two outs as the Dodgers used all of that and more – well, maybe not the cats-and-dogs thing – to somehow both come-from-behind and hold on for their dear lives, beating the Washington Nationals 4-3 in Game 5 of their National League Division Series on Thursday night at Nationals Park. The Dodgers move on to the NLCS for the second time in the past four years and fourth time in the past nine. This time, they will face the Chicago Cubs starting Saturday night at Wrigley Field.It didn’t look like they would get there with Max Scherzer trying to re-assert the rule of the ace in the elimination game. He didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning and held the Dodgers scoreless through six.But the seeds of the Dodgers’ comeback might have been sown in the fourth inning when Justin Turner drew a walk. That’s it, just a walk. But he extended Scherzer for 13 pitches during the at-bat. Turner took the first two pitches for strikes, fouled off seven more along the way and finally drew a walk. That turned the three-strikeout inning into a 30-pitch effort for Scherzer.The Dodgers finally got their first hit off Scherzer when Josh Reddick led off the fifth with a single. They loaded the bases with one out that inning but did no damage as Scherzer again struck out the side, leaving the Dodgers 0 for 9 with the bases loaded in this series (and Yasmani Grandal personally 0 for 4).But it was another 20-pitch effort for Scherzer who added another scoreless inning in the sixth. To that point, he had thrown 98 pitches – 50 of them in the fourth and fifth innings alone. Scherzer led National League pitchers this season in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, WHIP – and home runs allowed. His 99th pitch of the night checked that box. Joc Pederson hit his first pitch of the seventh inning over the left field wall for a home run (only his second to left field all season).A 1-0 lead that had felt much bigger – and could have been if not for the Nationals’ base-running blunders (Bryce Harper was picked off, Jayson Werth inexplicably tried to score from first on a double to left) – was suddenly gone.Everything broke loose after that. Everything.The Dodgers batted .159 against the Nationals’ bullpen in the first four games but couldn’t stop getting hits off them in the seventh. They scored three more times after Scherzer left the game, once on a pinch-hit single by Carlos Ruiz (scoring Austin Barnes who had pinch run) and twice more on a triple by Turner – easily the Dodgers’ MVP in this series.Rookie left-hander Grant Dayton took the mound with a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh – and didn’t retire a batter. He walked Danny Espinosa and gave up a two-run pinch-hit home run to Chris Heisey that made it a one-run game. The blow must have been particularly satisfying for Heisey who chafed at being shuttled between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City by the Dodgers’ transaction-happy front office last season.Before the game, Roberts said he had “a process and a plan” in place on how to “navigate” a Game 5 with Rich Hill starting on three days’ rest and a fresh 20-year-old Julio Urias available.“It never seems to work out,” Roberts said. “That’s the great thing about baseball.”Roberts probably tore that plan up when he brought Joe Blanton in with Hill on the ropes in the third inning. It might have saved the game. Blanton retired all four batters he faced and Urias followed with two scoreless innings.The plan went in the shredder with Heisey’s home run. Roberts went to Jansen with no outs in the seventh inning.He loaded the bases before striking out Anthony Rendon to end the inning, laid down a sacrifice bunt in his second plate appearance of the series, worked through the eighth and into the ninth – as Clayton Kershaw warmed up in the bullpen.“Absolutely not,” Roberts said when asked – multiple times – before the game if Kershaw was available to pitch to even one batter.Rules are made to be broken and Roberts blew through that one after Jansen walked Harper and Werth with one out in the ninth – bringing up Daniel Murphy.Two days after pitching into the seventh inning on three days’ rest, Kershaw came in and got Murphy to pop up then struck out Wilmer Difo (the last position player available to pinch hit for Dusty Baker) for his first save since 2006 in the Gulf Coast League.
Nigeria fans have been banned from taking live chickens into their opening World Cup group game against Croatia.‘Super Eagles’ fans believe taking live chickens into games brings them luck and they were planning on bringing more fowl into the Kaliningrad Stadium for the Group D game. However, the Russian government have told Nigeria fans they will not be allowed to continue the practice.“Fans from Nigeria asked if it’s possible to go to the stadium with a chicken. We told them that it is not possible,” Andrei Ermak, minister of culture in Kaliningrad, revealed in a statement.This is not the first time Nigeria have been banned from taking chickens into a World Cup game.Officials at Ellis Park in Johannesburg stopped chickens from being brought in during the 2010 World Cup game against Argentina. 2 It was not all bad news for Nigeria fans however, with Emrak adding there would be designated areas outside the venue where fans could carry their lucky chickens.After Saturday’s game, the Super Eagles will face England’s bogey team Iceland in Volgograd on June 22, before a potential decider in Saint Petersburg against the mighty Argentina on June 26. Nigeria fans believe bringing chickens into football stadiums will bring the Super Eagles luck Nigeria fans outside Ellis Park in 2010 2