ATLANTA – When the eighth run of the Dodgers’ fifth inning was scored, the Truist Park creative organist began playing the Monty Python whistle-along favorite « Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. »
With that in mind, the Atlanta Braves cut off the Dodgers on eight runs this time around.
The Dodgers got all the way to eleven in the first inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series last fall against the Braves. Eight was enough on Friday night when the Dodgers beat the Braves 9-5 in a three-game run.
The big inning on Friday night had something different than the opponent in common with the Dodgers’ NLCS explosion – they didn’t hit a hit before it started.
Braves starter Ian Anderson turned four no-hit innings on Friday and pulled the first batter back in the fifth. From then on, Anderson and the Braves headed south.
After Chris Taylor left – put a pin in it, it will come up again – Gavin Lux Anderson’s no-hit bid broke into the right corner with a ringing double, Taylor stopped in third place.
AJ Pollock (back on the line-up after his hamstring injury) threw a ball at third baseman Austin Riley. Riley stormed the ball and fired it into Taylor’s back as it slipped in on the Dodgers’ first run.
Dodgers, who started pitcher Julio Urias, came next and bunted a ball back to Anderson. His underhand shovel to catcher William Contreras was too slow to take down Lux, who put the Dodgers in the lead with an upside-down slide.
In contrast to the Dodgers’ seven hits and three home runs at the NLCS record rally, the Braves pitchers kept the ball in the park. They just didn’t hold it above the plate.
Albert Pujols, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger took consecutive walks from rescuer Sean Newcomb to load the bases and strength into two runs.
Grant Dayton (one of the 11-run casualties in Game 3 last October) took over with bases still loaded, leaving Will Smith a single-run single and Taylor a double with three runs – the last of just three hits into the big inning – then spent the fifth walk of the inning before Pollock retired to finish it off.
After the Dodgers did enough damage, they didn’t bother to score another hit until the ninth inning – which almost turned out to be problematic.
After a tough first inning that lasted 29 pitches and featured a solo home run by Freddie Freeman, Urias settled down and took the first five innings off.
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Reliever Mitch White got into trouble in game eight and gave Ozzie Albies a double with two runs. Joe Kelly came in to save him and almost made it – but Lux met Pollock when he tried to catch a pop-up in flat left field that would have ended the inning. The ball fell in and two runs were scored, further closing the gap.
The Dodgers responded with a run in the top of the ninth when Mookie Betts doubled up and rose on two wild pitches.
Kenley Jansen walked the first two thugs at the end of the ninth to raise blood pressure before wading through the top of the Braves lineup – jumping Ronald Acuña Jr., beating Freeman, and flying Albies.
The Dodgers went on without Max Muncy after the fourth inning. He left the game with a pain in his right ankle after attempting a double play at first base.
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