Dodgers go from frustrated to scoring flurry in win over Braves in NLCS rematch
The Dodgers couldn’t solve Ian Anderson in the first four innings Friday at Truist Park. The Atlanta Braves’ right-hander, the same starter the Dodgers faced in Game 7 of the NLCS last October, didn’t surrender a hit. The only baserunners reached on an error and two walks. Anderson recorded six strikeouts, five with his changeup.
All the while, though, the Dodgers made him work, waiting for him to lose steam.
Anderson entered the fifth inning with 73 pitches. He was chased 25 pitches later with one out, bloodied from the Dodgers’ constant jabs. In the end, two days after posting a 11-run first inning in their blowout win over the St. Louis Cardinals and eight months after an 11-run first inning in Game 3 of the NLCS, the Dodgers scored eight runs off three pitchers in the fifth inning on three hits, five walks, a fielder’s choice and a safety squeeze on the way to a 9-5 victory.
Major League Baseball is again using the runner-at-second rule to start extra innings. Several other ideas have been considered.
The Dodgers became the first team to follow an 11-plus run inning in one game with an eight-plus run inning the next game since 1969.
“We have an explosive offense,” Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux said, “and I feel like we can put up five, six, seven, eight runs kind of whenever.”
The Dodgers (34-23) the last two games have resembled the club from 2020 and early in 2021, before injuries ravaged the offense. The lineup still isn’t complete — Corey Seager remains on the injured list and Max Muncy exited in the fourth inning Friday because of a minor right ankle injury — but remains potent enough to knock out pitchers in a blink.
Friday’s installment began when Chris Taylor worked a one-out walk. Lux roped a double for the visitors’ first hit.
AJ Pollock then hit a soft ground ball to third baseman Austin Riley. Taylor, running on contact from third base, had Riley’s throw bounce off of his back.
“Flipped the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Taylor’s shrewd baserunning.
Then came the final blow to Anderson: Julio Urías’ two-strike safety squeeze to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.
“It was the play they asked from me, and I just tried to do it the best I could,” Urías said in Spanish. “Then the offense exploded.”
Anderson walked off the mound after that, his outing swinging from a no-hitter to a disappointment in minutes. Sean Newcomb failed to provide relief, issuing three two-out walks — two with the bases loaded — before he was pulled for Grant Dayton. Will Smith then lined an RBI single up the middle and Taylor mashed a three-run double to left to complete the eruption.
The inning gave the Dodgers’ bullpen enough wiggle room after Urías’ five innings. Urías also pitched in Game 7 of the NLCS at Globe Life Field in Texas, tossing three perfect innings to close out the Braves and advance the Dodgers to the World Series. He was less sharp Friday.
The left-hander gave up a solo home run to Freddie Freeman and threw 29 pitches in the first inning. He was better over the next four innings but was pulled after 83 pitches with an 8-1 lead.
The Braves (26-29) scored four runs in the eighth inning for a glimmer of hope. The final two came via a two-out gift when Ehire Adrianza hit a routine fly ball to shallow left field. Left fielder Pollock called for it, but shortstop Lux didn’t stop retreating. He bumped into Pollock, who had the ball bounce off his glove. Initially, the play was generously scored a double. It was changed to an error on Lux.
“He didn’t hear me, and I didn’t hear him,” Lux said. “We both were coming from far away, and with fans back in the stands I need to be louder. It was a miscommunication.”
Mike Marshall, who won the Cy Young Award for the Dodgers in 1974 when he pitched in a major league-record 106 games, died on Tuesday.
The Dodgers took a run back in the ninth inning after Mookie Betts doubled for the team’s only hit outside the fifth inning, took third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch.
Lux’s error, however, made it a save situation, prompting Kenley Jansen to warm up and Roberts to give him the ball even after the lead increased to four.
Jansen walked the first two hitters he faced before rebounding to retire the next three, ensuring that the fifth-inning flurry was enough to beat the Braves again.
Roberts said Tony Gonsolin will come off the injured list to start Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It will be Gonsolin’s first major league appearance this season. The right-hander was placed on injured list with a right shoulder injury April 4 before appearing in a game. Gonsolin completed a three-start rehab assignment with triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. … Roberts said Muncy is “day to day” after leaving Friday’s game with right ankle pain. Muncy felt discomfort after trying to beat out a double-play ball in the fourth inning.
Highlights from the Dodgers’ 9-5 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
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