LOS ANGELES — Daniel Murphy and the New York Mets caught the Los Angeles Dodgers sleeping, using brains and brawn to advance to an NL Championship Series matchup with the Chicago Cubs.
Murphy stole an uncovered third base and went on to score the tying run, then hit a go-ahead homer off Zack Greinke to lead the Mets over the Dodgers 3-2 Thursday night in the decisive Game 5 of their NL Division Series.
“What a team win,” Murphy said. “It felt like everybody got a piece of this one.”
After the final out, the Mets swarmed the mound, jumping up and down in unison. They quickly donned black T-shirts and exchanged hugs and high-fives while a small group of orange and blue-clad fans shouted, “Let’s go Mets!”
Jacob deGrom allowed runners in his first five innings but just two runs – on RBI singles by Justin Turner and Andre Ethier that put the Dodgers ahead 2-1 in the first.
New York trailed 2-1 in the fourth inning when, with three infielders on the right side and no one near third, Murphy strolled to second on Lucas Duda’s fourth-inning walk and sprinted to third. Shortstop Corey Seager, the closest infielder, was almost all the way toward second.
“Just trying to casually walk to second and hoping that nobody called time because, I look like an idiot if somebody calls time and I run to third,” Murphy said. “I’m not sure who was supposed to cover, but there was nobody there. I’m not the fleetest of foot, but just fast enough for that one.
Travis d’Arnaud followed with a sacrifice fly, and Murphy homered in the sixth for a 3-2 lead.
Murphy had three hits off Greinke. Murphy batted .333 in the series and homered three times off Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
“Daniel was a tough out all series,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s always to me been a guy that’s been a tough out. Pretty much hits everybody’s fastball.”
New York quickly will turn its attention to the Cubs. The NLCS, which starts Saturday night at Citi Field, is the first postseason meeting between the teams.
“Something doesn’t go right and we bounce back,” said the Mets’ 66-year-old Terry Collins, managing in the postseason for the first time. “We’ve done it all year long. Tremendous heart.”
DeGrom (2-0), the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year with the long, shaggy hair, struck out seven and walked three to earn his second road win of the series.
Noah Syndergaard pitched the seventh in the rookie’s first big league relief appearance, and Jeurys Familia got the first six-out save of his career. Familia retired pinch-hitter Chase Utley — who earned the Mets’ wrath after his takeout slide broke shortstop Ruben Tejada’s leg in Game 2 — on a flyout leading off the ninth.
Playing on the 27th anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run, Los Angeles failed to come up with a big drive, going 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position after Ethier’s first-inning single.
“There are really no words to describe how you feel right now,” said Mattingly, who could be out of a job after this latest postseason failure.
Despite a record $307 million payroll, the Dodgers remained without a World Series title since 1988.
Greinke (1-1) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander, who led the majors with a 1.66 ERA, struck out nine and walked one.
Murphy doubled in the Mets’ first run in the first, but the Dodgers went ahead with four consecutive singles in the bottom half.
Los Angeles failed to capitalize with two runners on in the second and third. After Justin Turner led off the third inning with a double, Ethier followed with a popup to left.
Ethier returned the dugout and began yelling at Mattingly while simultaneously walking away from him. Mattingly followed, and twice Ethier turned toward Mattingly and yelled at him while gesturing angrily with his arms, pointing twice at the field and twice directly at Mattingly.
“There was nothing there other than he was mad about the ump’s call,” Mattingly said. “I was trying to settle him down.”
Turner had a pair of doubles, giving him a franchise playoff-record six in one series.
The Dodgers’ fell to 4-1 in elimination playoff games since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
Los Angeles got bounced out of the playoffs for the third straight year on a night when nostalgia ruled Dodger Stadium. Video of Gibson’s dramatic two-out, pinch-hit winning home run against Oakland was shown on the video board before the game and Orel Hershiser, ace of the 1988 World Series title team, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch.