The Los Angeles Dodgers have completed the first step in their quest to return to the World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves three games to one in the NLDS. All six of the Dodgers’ runs were driven in by acquisitions they made at the summer trade deadlines.
The Dodgers started the game with Max Muncy taking a two-out walk and Manny Machado doubling him home for 1-0 lead. The offense looked stagnant after that, even after getting four more walks but not being able to get them across the plate.
The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, after Rich Hill gave up two walks and a pinch-hit single by Kurt Suzuki. Hill fought with both his command and home plate umpire Tom Hallion about whether pitches were indeed balls or strikes.
The top of the fifth inning started with a Kiké Hernandez single. Cody Bellinger hit into a fielder’s choice, erasing Kiké from the basepaths. Yasiel Puig flared a bloop single into right field. He then stole second, bringing up pinch-hitter David Freese with runners on second and third. He took a 3-2 pitch for a single just passed Charlie Culberson, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.
Ryan Madson came in in the bottom of the fifth to replace Hill, who had gotten himself into a one-out bases loaded jam, and retired the next two batters to preserve the lead.
In the top of the seventh inning, Justin Turner singled and Muncy walked. Machado finally had his signature postseason moment for the Dodgers, sending a 1-2 pitch into the left field bleachers for a three-run homer, padding the lead at 6-2.
Kenta Maeda came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth. After getting the first two outs, he allowed back-to-back singles to Ender Inciarte and Charlie Culberson. Despite the home crowds best attempts to intimidate with the lights going and the incessant Tomahawk chop, coupled with a long fly ball that went just foul by Lucas Duda, Maeda escaped with no runs crossing for the Braves.
Kenley Jansen came in a had a perfect 1-2-3 inning to decide the win.
Los Angeles will begin play against the Brewers on Friday at Miller Park.