It began with a quirk — Will Smith versus Will Smith, the first time two players with the same name had faced each other in postseason history.
It ended with something far more impactful. Dodgers catcher Will Smith crushed a go-ahead, three-run homer off Braves reliever Will Smith in the
It began with a quirk —
It ended with something far more impactful. Dodgers catcher Will Smith crushed a go-ahead, three-run homer off Braves reliever Will Smith in the sixth inning Friday, turning National League Championship Series Game 5 upside-down.
Will Smith homered off Will Smith, in the 1st same-name PA in postseason history
It’s the 1st time in at least the Expansion Era (since 1961) that a batter homered off a pitcher with the same name (including regular-season matchups, since this was 1st PS PA)
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 17, 2020
The Dodgers were trailing by a run at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, when Mookie Betts beat out an infield hit against Shane Greene in the sixth inning. Two quick outs followed, but with left-handed-hitting Max Muncy due up, Braves manager Brian Snitker turned from Greene to Smith.
Muncy drew a walk, leading to a matchup that nearly happened in Games 1 and 4: Smith against Smith. This time, it happened for real, proving to be a grind for both participants. After falling behind in the count, 0-2, the Dodgers’ Smith took two fastballs and a slider inside to run the count full. The Braves’ Smith went inside yet again with a fastball, but this time left it out over the plate, allowing his namesake rival to blast it 404 feet over the left-field fence.
It was the first postseason home run of Smith’s career and just his third hit of the series, giving the Dodgers their first lead of the game.