Dodgers’ offense explodes in historic rout over Braves in Game 3 of NLCS
The Dodgers asserted that anxiety was absent in their clubhouse before Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. They faced an 0-2 series deficit but said the mood was light. They cracked jokes. They remained calm. They were confident their superior depth would emerge. The team with the best record in the regular season was poised to pounce.
“We weren’t worried about anything,” first baseman Max Muncy said. “And tonight, we went out and showed what we can do.”
Riding the wave of a seven-run burst over the final three innings of Game 2, the Dodgers erupted for a record-setting 11 runs in the first inning Wednesday to launch a 15-3 rout.
The Dodgers had seven hits, three home runs and three walks in the 32-minute first-inning demolition. Every player in starting lineup scored. The 11 runs were the most ever scored in a postseason inning. They produced 10 of them with two outs. Their 18 total bases set another record. Their five extra-base hits tied for the most in playoff history.
Then they added four runs in the next two innings to become the first team to score 15 runs in the first three innings of a postseason game.
“Some of the momentum from last night, the last inning, definitely carried over,” left fielder Joc Pederson said. “And it got us feeling a little bit more comfortable at the plate. It was fun to be part of.”
Corey Seager fell a triple shy of the cycle — in the first three innings. Pederson went four for six with a three-run home run. Max Muncy delivered two hits, including a grand slam. Cody Bellinger had two hits and two walks. By the fourth inning, both teams began pulling their top players to avoid injury.
In the end, the Dodgers snapped the Braves’ seven-game winning streak to open the postseason. The series is now 2-1 in the Braves’ favor. Game 4 is Thursday at 5:08 p.m. PDT. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start for Los Angeles.
“Tomorrow’s a different day,” Seager said, “and you got to come out and do it again.”
The Dodgers took a patient approach against the Braves’ starters in Games 1 and 2. The goal was to tire the starters — Max Fried and Ian Anderson — to get to Atlanta’s bullpen early.
They were more aggressive in Game 3 against Kyle Wright, a rookie with a 6.22 career ERA and one career playoff start.
Mookie Betts beat out an infield single to the third baseman — after an initial out call was overturned — on the game’s first pitch to ignite the dugout. On the next pitch, Seager smashed an RBI double to left-center to give the Dodgers their first lead of the series.
Justin Turner and Max Muncy grounded out to move the Braves within one out from a ho-hum one-run inning.
They almost secured it, but Will Smith cracked a line drive to center field, where Cristian Pache made a diving stop to prevent the ball from bouncing to the wall. Seager scored as Pache got up off his chest to fire a strike to second base. Smith beat it by a step to extend the inning.
Bellinger walked and Pederson followedwith a three-run home run. Edwin Ríos crushed the next pitch over the center-field wall. Wright walked Chris Taylor and was yanked after going through the lineup once.
Left-hander Grant Dayton was summoned to stop the thumping. He began by walking Betts, then gave up an RBI single to Seager. Turner was hit by a pitch and took his base despite looking like he intentionally kicked the pitch. The bases were loaded for Muncy. He unloaded them with a grand slam to cap the unprecedented blitz.
Wright threw 28 pitches and was charged with seven runs. He became the first starter in postseason history to allow at least seven runs in less than an inning.
Photos from Game 3 of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Dayton, a former Dodger, was kept in the game to absorb some of the 8 1/3 innings left for the bullpen. He lasted 62 pitches and gave up eight runs and eight hits in two innings, tying the record for most runs allowed in a postseason game.
Huascar Ynoa replaced Dayton and became Atlanta’s most valuable player of the night. The 22-year-old right-hander saved the bullpen with four scoreless innings. Because of the effort, the Braves used only four relievers.
“If we got to lose the game,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said, “at least we didn’t burn out the bullpen trying to stay close.”
Julio Urías took the mound for the Dodgers with the biggest lead ever given to a playoff starter before throwing a pitch. He walked the first two batters before finding a rhythm. The Braves didn’t record their first hit until Pache, a 21-year-old rookie, clubbed his first career home run in the third inning.
The Dodgers could have pulled Urías early and saved him for a possible Game 7 appearance, but Roberts said that wasn’t discussed. Instead, Urías threw a career-high 101 pitches across five innings. He gave up three hits, walked two, struck out five, and recorded his third win of the postseason.
The Dodgers tore up the MLB record book with their 11-run first inning and 15-0 start in Game 3 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
Kenley Jansen, no longer the Dodgers’ closer after seven postseasons in the role, pitched the sixth inning in his first appearance in a week. He nearly surrendered a leadoff home run to Marcell Ozuna — the ball traveled to the warning track in center field — but retired the side in order.
It was the low-pressure spot the Dodgers sought for Jansen to regain his confidence. It was a luxury their historic first inning afforded. They didn’t panic and rolled.
“We know who we are over here,” Muncy said. “We’re a really good team.”
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