Jansen normally starts to get loose in the eighth inning before pitching the ninth. Late Thursday night, however, he started to warm up in the sixth inning and came on in the seventh to face the Washington Nationals with his team leading by a run.
"They told me to be ready for the top of the order," said Jansen, who logged 51 pitches. "Every pitch was with a purpose."
Jansen got seven outs (four on strikeouts) while allowing no runs and one hit, and Clayton Kershaw got the last two outs in the ninth as the Dodgers beat the Nationals 4-3 in the fifth and deciding game of the National League Division Series.
The Dodgers, who won the series 3-2 with victories in the last two games, head to Chicago to play the Cubs on Saturday in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.
"We still have to win eight more games," Kershaw said.
Entering with two runners on and one out, Kershaw retired Daniel Murphy on an infield fly and then fanned rookie Wilmer Difo to earn the save. On Tuesday, Kershaw was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers in a Game 4 win.
"Incredible," Washington starting pitcher Max Scherzer said of the effort by Kershaw.
Kershaw said of manager Dave Roberts, "I came to him. I just wanted to be available."
The Nationals are now winless in their three trips to the NLDS, losing in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Washington won the NL East each of those years but has yet to advance beyond the opening round of the playoffs. The city of Washington has not seen the home team earn a postseason series win since the Washington Senators captured the 1924 World Series.
"Yeah, it's not an overnight process. But I mean, yeah, you do have to go through some pain," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "I've gone through the pain a few times now. But you know, you have to persevere. That's the story of life. You can't stop trying to reach your goal."
Jansen entered the game with no outs in the seventh after Washington pinch hitter Chris Heisey belted a two-run home run off Grant Dayton.
Bryce Harper singled to left with one out as pinch runner Joe Ross, a pitcher who started Game 4, went from first to third. But Jansen fanned Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Jansen retired the side in the eighth but issued consecutive one-out walks to Harper and Werth in the ninth as Kershaw warmed up.
Joc Pederson, the only player with two hits, led off the seventh with a solo homer to left off Scherzer to tie the game at 1-1. That ended the night for Scherzer, who gave up the one run on five hits with seven strikeouts in six-plus innings while throwing 98 pitches.
"They executed a little bit better than we did," Scherzer said. "Greatest game I have ever been a part of."
Yasmani Grandal walked and Howie Kendrick had a pinch-hit single in the seventh. Ruiz then had a pinch-hit RBI single off lefty Sammy Solis that glanced off the glove of Rendon's glove into left field as pinch runner Austin Barnes scored the go-ahead run to make it 2-1.
With two outs, Turner crushed his two-run triple off Shawn Kelley to center to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. Kelley left the game with an apparent injury after throwing a pitch to the next batter, Adrian Gonzalez. Oliver Perez come on to retire Gonzalez and end the eight-batter inning.
The Nationals had threatened in the sixth. Werth led off with a walk. With two outs, Ryan Zimmerman hit a double down the left field line, but Werth was thrown out easily at the plate on a relay from left fielder Howie Kendrick to shortstop Corey Seager to catcher Grandal.
"We had a great opportunity to get more runs," Harper said. "It just didn't happen."
Baker said of third base coach Bob Henley, who sent Werth, "He feels terrible about that because it didn't work out. But you know, that wasn't what lost the game, really. We had some chances with runners on third, less than two outs. That was kind of the story of the year. We didn't get them home. It's tough to take, a tough loss."
The winning pitcher was rookie Julio Urias, who threw two scoreless innings in his postseason debut. Urias, 20, became the youngest Dodgers pitcher ever to appear in a playoff game.
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second as Danny Espinosa, batting .091 in the series, hit an RBI single to right.
Chase Utley led off the game by lining out to center fielder Trea Turner, who made a diving catch in left-center.
Then Turner led off the last of the first and hit a comebacker that struck pitcher Rich Hill's glove and deflected off his left (pitching) wrist before the veteran threw out Turner at first. Hill made a few warmup pitches and stayed in the game.
Hill wound up lasting just 2 2/3 innings, giving up one run and three hits with six strikeouts. He was replaced by Joe Blanton, who retired Rendon on a liner to center with runners on second and third to end the third. Blanton was replaced by Urias.
Urias allowed a walk with two outs in the fifth to Harper, who was then picked off for the third out. There were more dramatics to come as Jansen and Kershaw pitched in unusual situations.
"I just felt that Kenley was going to go out there and give us everything he had, and for that Murphy at-bat (in the ninth), I wanted Clayton, so I felt good about it," Roberts said.
NOTES: Washington manager Dusty Baker said before the game "it would be a miracle" for RHP Stephen Strasburg to pitch in the NL Championship Series if the Nationals had advanced. Strasburg was out since Sept. 7 with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow. ... Former Washington RHP Livan Hernandez threw out the first pitch to 1B Ryan Zimmerman, his former teammate. Hernandez pitched for the Nationals in 2005-06 and 2009-11. ... Also on hand was University of Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson, a long-time friend of fellow California native Baker.