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Taylor doing it all for Dodgers in World Series return
By JAY COHEN
MILWAUKEE (AP) Chris Taylor is sparking Los Angeles with his bat and his glove, just like old times.
Only this October, the do-it-all Dodger is looking to finish the job.
Taylor capped a terrific NL Championship Series when he made an outstanding catch to help Los Angeles beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 in Game 7 on Saturday night. He also hit .364 (8 for 22), scored four times and played three positions as the Dodgers captured the pennant for the second straight year.
The catch came in the fifth, two innings after Taylor moved from second base to left field. He hustled back and made a sliding, reaching grab on the warning track to rob Christian Yelich of a tying extra-base hit.
"I knew it was in the gap," he said. "I was just trying to run hard, get to the spot, and I think it tailed enough to where I kind of had to change my route and go back toward the fence a little bit, but I'm just glad I caught it."
The 28-year-old Taylor got up on his knees and pumped his right fist after the great grab . Yasiel Puig broke the game open with a three-run homer in the sixth, and Los Angeles was on its way to the World Series for the second straight year.
"Really a game-saving play," manager Dave Roberts said. "Once the game is tied anything can happen. The momentum shifts. But that was certainly a signature play at the time."
Taylor has typified the versatile Dodgers under Roberts. He played four positions this year - left field, center field, second base and shortstop - trailing only Enrique Hernandez's eight for most on the team. Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy also played the field in four different spots.
"We're so used to it now," Taylor said. "I don't remember the last time I played a game in one position the whole game. We change so much that it's just become second nature now."
Taylor also has become a reliable contributor at the plate, especially this time of year. Last postseason, he shared NLCS MVP honors with Justin Turner while taking down the Chicago Cubs in five games. The Dodgers then came up empty in the World Series, falling to the Houston Astros.
Los Angeles gets another shot this year, this time against the Boston Red Sox. Game 1 of the World Series is set for Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Taylor will likely be on the field ... somewhere. He was the starting center fielder in all seven World Series games last year, and also played second. Expect to see him all over the diamond this time around.
Not bad for a fifth-round pick out of the University of Virginia who found a home in Los Angeles after he was acquired in a trade with Seattle for right-hander Zach Lee in June 2016. While Lee hasn't pitched in a major league game since 2017, Taylor has become a key performer for the Dodgers.
He had a career year last season, hitting .288 with 21 homers, 72 RBIs and 17 steals in 140 games. He led the NL with 178 strikeouts this year, but still finished with 17 homers and 63 RBIs in a career-high 155 games.
When the Dodgers returned to the playoffs, Taylor got right back to work.
He homered and drove in two runs in the Division Series against Atlanta. He had five hits, scored twice and drove in a run in the first two games against Milwaukee.
The NLCS was tied before Los Angeles' 5-2 win in Game 5 on Wednesday. Taylor singled, advanced to second on a throwing error and swiped third before coming home on Austin Barnes' single in the fifth inning, tying it at 1.
"It's been an awesome year, but we're not done yet," Taylor said.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated October 21, 2018