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Dodgers lose to Braves on another walk-off single in NLCS Game 2

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Eddie Rosario celebrates after hitting a walk-off single to defeat the Dodgers 5-4.
Eddie Rosario celebrates after hitting a walk-off single to defeat the Dodgers 5-4 in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Truist Park in Atlanta on Sunday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

After losing Game 1 on a walk-off hit, the Dodgers lost Game 2 in similar fashion when Kenley Jansen gave up a run-scoring single to Eddie Rosario.

Dodgers’ World Series aspirations in peril after another walk-off loss to Braves

ATLANTA — A man with a Southern twang sparked the chants from the giant videoboard overlooking Truist Park while the Atlanta Braves swarmed their latest walk-off hero, Eddie Rosario, on the diamond below late Sunday night.

“Eh-ddie! Eh-ddie! Eh-ddie!” the man on the screen shouted, savoring the Braves’ stunning 5-4 win in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. “That’s two, Braves fans!”

Two, as in two improbable walk-off victories in two nights over the heavily favored Dodgers. Two, as in two losses the Dodgers weren’t supposed to stomach, at least not in succession to begin this final step to the World Series, against a team that won 18 fewer games than them during the regular season.

Two, as in a familiar 2-0 series deficit the Dodgers lugged with them on their cross-country flight back to Los Angeles early Monday morning.

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Final: Braves win 5-4 on another walk-off, take two-game lead in NLCS

VIDEO | 03:08
Dave Roberts and Max Scherzer talk about NLCS Game 2 loss to Braves

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and pitcher Max Scherzer talk about losing Game 2 of the NLCS to the Atlanta Braves.

For the second-straight night, the Braves have walked it off.

After the Dodgers twice blew two-run leads, the Braves stole a 5-4 win for good in the bottom of the ninth.

After Brusdar Graterol gave up a leadoff single, the Braves bunted into a fielder’s choice but then moved a runner to second on a groundout.

With two outs, the Dodgers summoned Kenley Jansen from the bullpen to face Eddie Rosario.

Jansen got Rosario to hit a hard ground ball back up the middle, but shortstop Corey Seager missed it, the ball skipping off his glove and rolling into the outfield as Dansby Swanson raced home for the winning run.

The play was officially ruled a single, as the short-hopped ball was hit with an exit velocity of 105 mph.

Incredibly, the Braves now hold a 2-0 series lead as the series shifts back to Los Angeles, hoping they can avoid the same collapse they suffered last year.

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Top 9th, tied 4-4: Trea Turner barely misses home run; Brusdar Graterol entering for bottom of ninth

Atlanta's Ozzie Albies dives to score a run past Dodgers catcher Will Smith during the eighth inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Trea Turner almost responded to the Dodgers’ eighth inning collapse with one swing, sending the first pitch from Braves closer Will Smith in the ninth inning deep to left.

But, his ball died at the wall for a fly out, and Smith retired the next two — including a strikeout of Dodgers catcher Will Smith, who homered in their matchup in last year’s NLCS — to keep the game tied going into the bottom of the ninth.

Kenley Jansen had been warming up earlier, but it is Brusdar Graterol coming on to pitch in the bottom of the ninth, trying to send the game to extra innings.

Mid 9th: Tied 4-4

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Bottom 8th, tied 4-4: Braves tie game against Julio Urías

Atlanta's Eddie Rosario dives into second base ahead of the tag by Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner.
Atlanta’s Eddie Rosario dives into second base ahead of the tag by Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner during the eighth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers did something they haven’t done all year, bringing Julio Urías out of the bullpen and into a leverage situation late in the game to begin the eighth inning.

It hasn’t worked.

Eddie Rosario led off the inning by poking a single the other way past the shift, then advancing to second on a fly out to left. In the next at-bat, Ozzie Albies hit a soft single into right, where Steven Souza Jr. had been inserted into the game the previous inning (Mookie Betts was shifted to center).

Souza Jr. tried to throw Rosario out at the plate, but Rosario slid under a tag from catcher Will Smith — the play was upheld after video review — to make it 4-3.

The next batter, Austin Riley, then tied the game, hammering a first-pitch fastball at the top of the zone to left-center field, just deep enough for Albies to score all the way from first.

Urías limited the damage there, striking out the next two batters to send the game into the ninth tied. But now, the Dodgers will not only have to worry about trying to pull out this game, but also evaluate if their Game 4 pitching plan will need to be tweaked after Urías 14-pitch outing tonight.

End 8th: Tied 4-4

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Mid 8th, Dodgers lead 4-2: Julio Urías taking the mound

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias tosses a baseball on the mound during the eighth inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Earlier this weekend, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Julio Urías would be the team’s pitcher for Game 4.

But here in Game 2, the left-hander is being summoned from the bullpen to face the top of the Braves order — which includes two left-handed batters — in the bottom of the eighth.

The Dodgers went down in order in the top half of the inning, so their lead remains only two.

Mid 8th: Dodgers lead 4-2

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Bottom 7th, Dodgers lead 4-2: Blake Treinen pitches scoreless seventh; Julio Urías begins warming in the eighth

Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen delivers a pitch during the seventh inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

After Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless sixth inning — setting the stage for the Dodgers two run rally in the top of the seventh — Blake Treinen came out of the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh and worked around a leadoff walk, getting Dansby Swanson to roll into a double-play and Guillermo Heredia to ground out.

At the start of the inning, the Dodgers also double-switched, moving the pitcher’s spot up to No. 5 in the order, where Justin Turner had pinch-hit for Gavin Lux the half-inning prior, and placing Steven Souza Jr. in right field.

While that move could allow Treinen to return to the mound in the eighth, Julio Urías also began warming up in the bullpen as the Dodgers came to the plate.

End 7th: Dodgers lead 4-2

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Top 7th, Dodgers lead 4-2: Chris Taylor breaks tie with two-run double

Chris Taylor reacts after hitting a go-ahead, two-run double during the seventh inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It wasn’t pretty, but the Dodgers finally delivered in the clutch.

After two walks (one intentional, after a Mookie Betts steal) and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, Chris Taylor broke the tie with a soft line drive to center that dropped just in front of center fielder Guillermo Heredia, who then let it bounce past him, to score a couple runs.

Taylor’s double — Heredia wasn’t charged with an error despite missing the ball — was the Dodgers’ first hit with runners in scoring position of the night, after they had come up empty in the previous eight at-bats.

The Dodgers failed to add anything else, after Cody Bellinger was intentionally walked and AJ Pollock struck out to retire the side.

But, the Dodgers now have a two-run lead to protect with nine outs to get.

Mid 7th: Dodgers lead 4-2

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Top 6th, tied 2-2: Dodgers waste a scoring chance ... again

Chris Taylor slides into third on a pop fly by Cody Bellinger during the sixth inning for the Dodgers.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

For the third time tonight, the Dodgers were gifted a leadoff walk in an inning.

For the third time, they failed to capitalize.

This time, Chris Taylor was left stranded after he worked a nine-pitch free pass, stole second and then advanced to third on a fly out from Cody Bellinger.

After that, however, AJ Pollock struck out, whiffing on three changeups from Braves reliever Jacob Webb.

Then, the Braves dipped into their bullpen again, summoning left-hander Tyler Matzek. He faced pinch-hitter Albert Pujols and struck him out with a slider.

The Dodgers are now 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and have left seven men on base.

Mid 6th: Tied 2-2

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End 5th, tied 2-2: Alex Vesia escapes jam, keeps game tied

Atlanta, GA - October 17: Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Alex Vesia reacts after retiring the side during the fifth.
Dodgers relief pitcher Alex Vesia reacts after the final out of the sixth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

After relieving Max Scherzer with one out in the fifth, Alex Vesia gave up a single to Eddie Rosario to put two runners aboard.

After that, however, the left-hander buckled down. He struck out Freddie Freeman (Freeman’s seventh consecutive strikeout to begin this series, matching his career record for either the regular season or postseason) and Ozzie Albies in back-to-back at-bats to retire the side and keep the game tied.

Scherzer’s line is now final: 4 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts.

End 5th: Tied 2-2

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Bottom 5th, tied 2-2: Max Scherzer gets early hook; Alex Vesia enters in relief

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer walks off the the field after being relieved during the fifth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

For the second time in three starts this postseason, Max Scherzer failed to complete five innings.

After giving up a leadoff single in the fifth, Scherzer struck out pinch-hitter Orlando Arcia but then was replaced before facing the top of the Braves lineup for the third time, his night ending after just 4 1/3 innings.

Instead, left-hander Alex Vesia was summoned with two left-handed hitters and a switch-hitter due up, inheriting a one-on, one-out situation with the game tied.

Of note: Unlike in the wild-card game earlier this month, when he was also taken out after 4 1/3 innings, Scherzer didn’t seem to fight manager Dave Roberts’ decision, simply handing him the ball and walking back into the dugout.

Scherzer’s fastball velocity had also tailed off in the fifth. After sitting between 93-94 mph for most of the night, his final two were 91.8 and 92.7 mph.

Bottom 5th: Tied 2-2

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Top 5th, tied 2-2: Dodgers strand a couple more runners

Chris Taylor walks off the field after striking out in the third inning for the Dodgers.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Mookie Betts walked to lead off the top of the fifth and, after Betts stole second, Braves reliever issued an intentional walk to Will Smith with two outs. Minter then got Gavin Lux in a 1-2 hole with three straight cutters.

On the fourth pitch, he challenged Lux, throwing a 97 mph fastball over the heart of the plate. Lux couldn’t do anything with it, hitting a can of corn to left to retire the side.

It was the latest missed opportunity for the Dodgers, who are now 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position tonight and have left six men on base.

Mid 5th: Tied 2-2

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Bottom 4th, tied 2-2: Joc Pederson hits two-run homer against former club

Atlanta's Joc Pederson celebrates after hitting a two-run home run off Dodgers starter Max Scherzer in the fourth inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

In his second at-bat of the night, Joc Pederson got another mistake from Max Scherzer.

This time, he didn’t miss.

Pederson clobbered a curveball that caught too much of the zone for a two-run homer that tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, hitting his first home run of this series and third of the playoffs.

In the prior at-bat, Scherzer walked Austin Riley on five pitches — one of several times already tonight the Dodgers’ ace has seemingly struggled with command.

Scherzer did eventually get out of the inning, striking out Adam Duvall and fielding a comebacker off the bat of Travis d’Arnaud.

But, the Dodgers’ lead has been erased.

The Braves are sending reliever AJ Minter to the mound to begin the fifth.

End 4th: Tied 2-2

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End 3rd, Dodgers lead 2-0: Braves going to bullpen early

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jesse Chavez throws during the third inning.
(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

The Braves didn’t wait long to turn their bullpen tonight, pinch-hitting for starter Ian Anderson the first time his spot in the batting order came up in the bottom of the third.

Anderson had only thrown 52 pitches, and had put together one of his best sequences to strike out Chris Taylor in the previous inning.

But, the Braves decided to have Johan Camargo hit against Scherzer instead. He struck out on five pitches.

The Braves extended the inning when a replay review overturned a call and gave Eddie Rosario a two-out infield single. But then Scherzer froze Freddie Freeman with a slider in the next at-bat — Freeman’s sixth straight strikeout to open the series, and Scherzer’s fifth of the night.

For the fourth inning, reliever Jesse Chavez will take over on the mound.

End 3rd: Dodgers lead 2-0

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Top 3rd, Dodgers lead 2-0: Dodgers come up empty w/ RISP

Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, left, forces out Will Smith at second during the first inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers’ biggest problem from Game 1, driving in runners in scoring position, has popped up again in the early going tonight.

After stranding a couple baserunners in the first, the Dodgers failed to convert on a two-on, one-out chance in the third.

Corey Seager drew a leadoff walk and Will Smith singled, but then Gavin Lux popped out on the first pitch and Chris Taylor went down swinging to end the threat.

The Dodgers entered the night batting just .206 with runners in scoring position, and are 0 for 3 so far in that situation.

Mid 3rd: Dodgers lead 2-0

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End 2nd, Dodgers lead 2-0: Joc Pederson just misses home run

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer delivers during the first inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Max Scherzer worked around a two-out single by Adam Duvall in the second inning, but was lucky to not have surrendered a home run in the at-bat prior.

In a 2-2 count against former Dodger slugger Joc Pederson, Scherzer left a changeup over the heart of the plate that Pederson crushed down the right-field line. The ball, however, drifted just foul, and Peterson popped out three pitches later.

In the top half of the inning, the Dodgers were retired in order by Ian Anderson, who got his pitch count back under control with a 10-pitch frame.

End 2nd: Dodgers lead 2-0

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End 1st, Dodgers lead 2-0: Max Scherzer retires Braves in order in the first

Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer delivers during the first inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It took 17 pitches, but Max Scherzer retired the side in order in the first, finding better command as the inning went on to begin his night on a strong note.

Scherzer’s one strikeout in the inning came against Freddie Freeman, the fifth-straight punchout the Braves slugger has suffered to begin this series.

It’s the first time since 2016, regular season or playoffs, that Freeman has struck out in five consecutive plate appearances.

End 1st: Dodgers lead 2-0

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Top 1st, Dodgers lead 2-0: Corey Seager hits two-run homer to open scoring

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, right, rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run off of Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson during the first inning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It didn’t take the Dodgers long to get on the board in Game 2.

After Mookie Betts hit a leadoff single, Corey Seager hammered a hanging first-pitch curveball to right-center for a two-run homer. It was the first home run of this postseason for Seager, who won MVP in both the NLCS and World Series last year.

Braves starter Ian Anderson continued to struggle from there, walking Will Smith and Chris Taylor before finally ending the frame on a lineout to center by Cody Bellinger.

But after one inning, the right-hander has already throw 28 pitches and is struggling with his command, finding the zone only 13 times.

Mid 1st: Dodgers lead 2-0

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What to know about NLCS Game 2: Justin Turner battling stinger, Max Scherzer on the mound and more

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner carries a broken bat from San Francisco's Kris Bryant.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner carries a broken bat from San Francisco’s Kris Bryant during the first inning of Game 2 of the NLDS on Oct. 9.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)

ATLANTA — The Dodgers were able to overcome a 2-0 (and later 3-1) hole in last year’s National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.

They’d prefer not to have to do it again.

Instead, they send Max Scherzer to the mound tonight looking tie up this year’s NLCS before the best-of-seven series shifts back to Los Angeles.

Here’s what you need to know about Game 2.

First pitch: 4:38 p.m. PT (7:38 p.m. local time in Atlanta)

TV: TBS

Lineups:

Dodgers notes: Justin Turner is out of the lineup with a neck stinger, but could be available off the bench to pinch hit. Chris Taylor will start at third.

Left-handed hitters Gavin Lux and Cody Bellinger also return to the lineup against Braves righty Ian Anderson.

Max Scherzer will make his first start of the series, taking the mound three days after throwing 13 pitches to get the save in Game 5 of the NLDS.

Scherzer said by pushing his start to Game 2 and getting an extra day of rest, he shouldn’t be under any pitch count restrictions.

Scherzer is familiar with the Braves, one of his former division rivals when he pitched for the Washington Nationals.

This year, the right-hander made two starts against Atlanta: In his season debut with the Nationals, a six-inning, four-run outing; and again in September with the Dodgers, a scoreless six-inning start.

So far in these playoffs, Scherzer has a 2.85 ERA in 12 1/3 innings with 16 strikeouts and four walks.

Braves notes: The Braves will roll out the same lineup for the second-straight game, stacking three left-handed hitters and a switch hitter in the first five spots of the batting order.

Anderson will be on the mound for his second start of the playoffs, coming off a scoreless five-inning outing in the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 23-year-old had a 3.58 ERA in 24 regular season starts, including a 4 1/3-inning, four-run start against the Dodgers in June.

He faced the Dodgers twice in last year’s NLCS, giving up two runs in seven total innings.

Anderson’s pitching arsenal includes a mid-90s fastball, changeup and curveball. He has a strong ground ball rate and is pretty neutral between right-handed and left-handed batters (this year, left-handers were slightly less productive against him), but he doesn’t usually get a ton of chases.

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Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Braves in Game 2 of the NLCS

Here are the latest odds and lines for the Dodgers vs. Braves in Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday:

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Justin Turner not in Dodgers’ starting lineup for Game 2 because of neck stinger

VIDEO | 02:08
Dave Roberts on Justin Turner not starting NLCS Game 2

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts talks about the decision to not start third baseman Justin Turner in Game 2 of the NLCS, as well as the team’s lineup options.

ATLANTA — Justin Turner is not in the Dodgers’ lineup Sunday for Game 2 of the NLCS against the Braves.

Manager Dave Roberts said Turner is battling a stinger on the right side of his neck that first popped up during batting practice before Saturday’s series-opener.

“He felt that he wanted to give it a go [last night] and try to play through it,” Roberts said. “He couldn’t turn his head to the right. Got through the game. Woke up [today] feeling very similar. Obviously Justin will do anything we ask, but I just don’t think it’s right to put him in that spot, and for us as a club. We have other options.”

Chris Taylor will start at third base on Sunday, but Roberts said Turner should still be available to come off the bench for “a big spot to pinch hit” and expects the 36-year-old to be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s Game 3.

Even before the injury, Turner has struggled in the playoffs, going 3 for 28 with seven strikeouts in the Dodgers’ seven postseason games. He’s reached base on a walk, a hit by pitch, a home run and two singles in 30 plate appearances.

Gavin Lux and Cody Bellinger are back in the Dodgers’ lineup against Braves right-hander Ian Anderson. Both left-handed hitters didn’t start Saturday against left-hander Max Fried. Lux will start in center field for the third time in the playoffs. Bellinger will play first base.

Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Dodgers three days after throwing 13 pitches to close out the Giants in Game 5 of the NLDS. The Dodgers’ bullpen may be shorthanded after using eight pitchers in a bullpen game in their Game 1 loss Saturday.

Dodgers vs. Braves lineup, Game 2 of the NLCS.
(Allison Hong / Los Angeles Times)

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Braves didn’t win NLCS Game 1 as much as the Dodgers’ offense lost it

Chris Taylor sat on the infield dirt, removing his helmet in disgust.

His mistake on the bases had cost the Dodgers a potential run. The lapse in judgment was about to cost them the game.

The Dodgers collected 10 hits on Saturday night at Truist Park, the last of them a sharp single to right field by Cody Bellinger in the top of the ninth inning.

All of that offense, however, translated into only two runs, none after the fourth inning.

The wasted chances opened the door for the Atlanta Braves to steal Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, which they did when Austin Riley’s single drove in Ozzie Albies for a walk-off 3-2 victory.

The Big Peach turned into LOB City for the Dodgers, who were one for eight with runners in scoring position. The Braves had two runners in scoring position the entire night; both of them scored.

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Wall Street Baseball heading for a bust on opener pitching strategy?

Dodgers pitcher Corey Knebel delivers during the first inning of Game 1 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
Dodgers pitcher Corey Knebel delivers during the first inning of Game 1 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

ATLANTA — The Dodgers boast a long and distinguished lineage of Game 1 starters: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Sutton, Hall of Famers all. Clayton Kershaw, a Hall of Famer in waiting. Orel Hershiser, Tommy John, Fernando Valenzuela, Zack Greinke, Burt Hooton, Jerry Reuss and Walker Buehler, a constellation of All-Stars.

The starting pitcher for the Dodgers on Saturday, in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves: Corey Knebel.

What in the name of Tommy Lasorda is going on?

First things first: Max Scherzer would have started Saturday, had he not closed Thursday. The Dodgers decided to give Scherzer an extra day of rest and, well, someone had to start.

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Dodgers’ preordained World Series trek hits bumbling snag in Game 1 loss to Braves

Dodgers baserunner Chris Taylor sits on the field after being caught in a rundown between second and third bases.
Dodgers baserunner Chris Taylor sits on the field after being caught in a rundown between second and third bases by Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson during the ninth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

ATLANTA — The image epitomized an opportunity fumbled, a chance lost, a game blown.

Chris Taylor, sitting on the dirt between second and third base, helmet in hand, head shaking, frozen in failure.

Yeah, folks, the Dodgers really messed this one up, folks.

In what should have been yet another strong step in their seemingly preordained journey back to the World Series on Saturday, the Dodgers staggered, stumbled and ended up on their backs while staring up at somebody else’s party.

The opener of the National League Championship Series featured a trademark Dodgers playoff game-winning hit, but this time the bat was swung by the Atlanta Braves’ Austin Riley, who singled home Ozzie Albies from second base with one out in the ninth to give the Braves a 3-2 victory at Truist Park.

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Dodgers’ mistakes, missed chances lead to walk-off loss to Braves in NLCS Game 1

VIDEO | 02:05
Dodgers’ Dave Roberts and Trea Turner discuss NLCS Game 1 loss

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and second baseman Trea Turner talk about the team’s 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday.

ATLANTA — The Dodgers were one timely hit, one blast, one crooked number away from withstanding the Atlanta Braves’ best punch Saturday night.

They successfully countered Atlanta ace Max Fried with a mix of relievers to give themselves chances against their opponents’ weakest link — a bullpen that doesn’t feature the depth of the Dodgers’ relief corps. All the Dodgers needed to take Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, a clash they’re heavily favored to win to advance to the World Series again, was some life from a lineup with blinding star power.

But the mercurial offense didn’t produce for the final five innings, and the disappearing act cost them in a 3-2, walk-off loss at Truist Park.

Moments after Chris Taylor blundered on the bases to squash a two-out rally in the top of the ninth inning, Atlanta’s Austin Riley went to the plate to face Blake Treinen with one out after Ozzie Albies singled. Albies then stole second base on the first pitch to Riley to get into scoring position, leaving first base open.

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