Atlanta Braves Los Angeles Dodgers MLB

Neither Pitcher Clears Five Innings, but Braves Take 2-0 Lead

The Atlanta Braves, who went into tonight up 1-0 in the NLCS, didn’t need a ninth inning rally to take tonight’s game, rather a 33-minute fifth inning crooked number that saw every Atlanta hitter take their hacks.

The Dodgers went into the day expecting former MVP Clayton Kershaw to take the bump. A late scratch due to back spasms, the Braves ended up going up against rookie Tony Gonsolin and Gonsolin came out of the gate electric. He sent down the first nine Braves in order, before a Ronald Acuna walk led to the first Braves hit: a homerun from MVP favorite Freddie Freeman.

On the flipside, rookie Ian Anderson struggled with his command but surrendered a mere one hit, to Justin Turner, over his four innings of work. He didn’t have his best stuff, yet made history.

He’s pitched 15 2/3rds consecutive scoreless innings to start his postseason career. He gave up five walks. He almost gave up a run but last night’s hero Austin Riley was at the right place at the right time.

In the fifth innings, it was a Cristian Pache double that made it 3-0 Atlanta. It was his first extra base hit and RBI in the Majors.

A Freddie Freeman RBI single set up a Travis d’Arnuad bases loaded walk and Ozzie Albies sacrifice fly, that by all means should’ve cleared the bases. Atlanta ended the fifth up 6-0 with Tyler Matzek coming in. Matzek hurled two scoreless frames.

A Dansby Swanson double in the top of the seventh with two outs plated Travis d’Arnaud to make the game 7-0. Former Brave Alex Wood intentionally walked Austin Riley to face Nick Markakis with the bases loaded. Ozzie Albies was already on base following an infield single but with the double clearing the wall, he was sent back to third base on Swanson’s two-bagger. Every spot in the lineup had reached base for the Braves by the end of the seventh inning. On a 2-2 count, Wood jammed Markakis on an inside sinker and got him to fly out to Mookie Betts in right to strand the bases loaded.

Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor both hit singles to get on in front of Mookie Betts to start the Dodger seventh against Darren O’Day. Betts struck out swinging on a 1-2 count, before Snitker removed the All-Star reliever from the ballgame. Former Braves closer AJ Minter inherited O’Day’s two baserunners. In the first hitter he faced, Corey Seager tattooed a 2-1 breaking ball over the centerfield wall to make the game 7-3. Max Muncy struck out to end the seventh.

Chris Martin posted a scoreless eighth inning. The Dodgers brought in Adam Kolarek, the third former Ray they used in relief (Jake McGee, Dylan Floro) on the night. He struck out the first hitter he faced before giving up a solo homerun to Albies to make it 8-3. Closer Mark Melancon caught the homerun ball from Albies bat for the second consecutive night.

For comparison, here’s Albies homerun from last night:

Veteran swingman Josh Tomlin took on the mound in the NLCS to close out Game Two less than a week shy of his 36th birthday. He struck out Chris Taylor to record the first out. Mookie recorded a basehit to left. Corey Seager drove him in on a double that kissed the right field line. Corey Seager drove in four of the six Dodger runs. Tomlin then struck out Justin Turner, but gave up a two run homerun to Max Muncy with two outs in the ninth to make it 8-6. Catcher Will Smith came to the plate, needing to reach to get reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger to the plate with the opportunity to tie the ballgame. Smith reached on an error by the normally sure-handed Ozzie Albies. Cody Bellinger tripled to make it 8-7. In the first pitch of the next at bat, AJ Pollock fouled off a 95 MPH cutter. He hit a 93 MPH cutter on the second pitch of the at bat to third base Austin Riley who put it away to strand the tying run at third to end the game.

The Braves have a 2-0 NLCS series lead and will become the home team for tomorrow’s game. The Braves are now 7-0 in the postseason and will hand the ball to Kyle Wright tomorrow as he goes up against Julio Urias.

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Jameus Mooney