In Joctober, Pederson does it all for Dodgers

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Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson catches a fly ball hit by Tampa Bay Rays' Joey Wendle during the seventh inning in Game 5 of the baseball World Series Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Joc Pederson is the guy the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t need or want — until October.

After nearly being traded in February and hitting .190 during the regular season, Pederson is coming up big in the postseason.

Pederson crushed a fastball from Rays starter Tyler Glasnow over the left-center field wall leading off the second inning Sunday night, extending LA's lead to 3-0. After enduring a stunning 8-7 loss in Game 4, the Dodgers rebounded early and went on to a 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay. Los Angeles is one win from its first World Series championship since 1988.

“They don't call it Joctober for no reason,” said teammate Max Muncy, who added a solo shot in the fifth. “The guy performs on the huge stage, that's just what he does.”

Pederson could tell his 428-foot drive immediately was gone.

“They don’t want that smoke,” he bellowed upon returning to the dugout. “Come on, let’s go!”

It was the Dodgers’ 28th home run of the postseason after leading the majors with 118 during the regular season.

Pederson struck out twice against Glasnow in Game 1.