Dodgers Stay Alive in NLCS, Force Deciding Game 7

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Although their performance was not overly spectacular on Saturday, the Dodgers did just enough to defeat the Braves in Game 6 of the NLCS, walking away with a 3-1 victory and forcing a deciding Game 7 on Sunday.

Despite the lack of fireworks, there were a few very exciting moments in the first inning when Corey Seager and Justin Turner hit back-to-back homers to put Los Angeles in front early. Three batters later, Cody Bellinger drove in Max Muncy with a sharp liner to right, boosting the Dodgers to a 3-0 lead.

It was just the fourth time in MLB history that a team hit consecutive home runs in the first inning of an elimination game.

Righty starter Walker Buehler was mostly sharp for the Dodgers, although he ran into a few jams in which he eventually bailed himself out.

With nobody out and the bases loaded in the second inning, Buehler came back to strike out Austin Riley and Nick Markakis, followed by a Cristian Pache groundout that eventually ended the inning.

In the fourth, Atlanta put runners on first and second with a pair of Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson singles, but Buehler worked his way out of another jam after inducing a Riley lineout and a Markakis groundout.

The Braves threatened again in the fifth when Marcell Ozuna launched a deep drive to right with one aboard, but Mookie Betts came up with a grab that was one of the most magnificent plays of the postseason.

In all, Buehler tossed six full scoreless innings, scattering seven hits with no walks while striking out seven. It was Buehler’s third career postseason start with at least 6.0 IP and no runs allowed, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most in Dodgers history. Buehler threw 89 pitches.

Aside from the first inning, Atlanta starter Max Fried was effective once he finally settled down. The lefty threw 6-2/3 frames, allowing three earned runs on eight hits and four walks.

Relieving Buehler in the seventh, Blake Treinen surrendered a run after a Markakis triple and a Ronald Acuna, Jr. double, but he worked out of further damage by striking out Freddie Freeman and inducing an Ozuna flyout.

Pedro Baez threw a perfect eight inning and was followed by Kenley Jansen, who pitched a spotless ninth to record the save.

Jansen threw just six pitches, all of which were strikes.

Looking ahead,  all signs are pointing to the Dodgers turning to young righty Tony Gonsolin to start Game 7 on Sunday. He’ll be opposed by right hander Ian Anderson of Atlanta.

First pitch is set for 8:15 p.m. Eastern time.

5 thoughts on “Dodgers Stay Alive in NLCS, Force Deciding Game 7

  1. Interestingly, Doc didn’t confirm that Gonsolin would start although he did say he expected that he would see a good amount of innings. Maybe he plans to use an opener. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

    Baez looked great. I’m beginning to think he may be back next year. Management seems to like him more than the fans do and I’m sure he’s comfortable here. No one is going to make him their closer so I figure it’s 50-50 that he’s back.

    Kenley looked great also for the few pitches he needed to throw. I guess he might be available again tomorrow if we get desperate.

    Someone asked if Kershaw would be available and Doc said he would check with him in the morning. Then mumbled something about his recent back spasms which made it sound like he would prefer not to have to use him.

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  2. Two plays stand out to me. First one would be Mookie’s circus catch on Ozuna’s drive. To me that was the catch of the series. Couple that with his great play yesterday and you have a couple of the best plays in playoff history. And both involved Ozuna. And then in the 9th inning tonight, Joc Pederson made a great rolling catch on a sinking line drive. There is a guy on another site who says defense is not that important. Without those 3 plays, the Dodgers are home in Los Angeles.

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  3. I think it’s obvious Gonsulin starts tomorrow but he will be a very short leash. First hint of trouble and Doc will be going to the bullpen. No chance Kershaw isn’t an option to pitch either but it won’t be more than one inning and only in a must have scenario. He stands to be the guy pitching game 1 Tuesday if we were to advance. The only guys I think who will be unavailable are Buehler and Treinen. Treinen has been used a lot this series and he seemed to look a little bit tired today to me. Doc clearly wanted to make sure he had both Victor Gonzalez and Graterol available and I believe they will get some of the bigger pressure situations. If I had to put my money on who stands to make the biggest impact in relief it’s Julio Urias. If for whatever reason Gonsulin gets the early hook it’s going to be on Urias to keep us alive. Fortunately I think he’s up to the task as it’s obvious Urias pitches better coming on in relief.

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  4. Oh how great it is to be a Dodger fan right now! They showed some serious toughness never giving up. I’ve been listening to trash talk from all my Brave friends for 3 days and now the sweet sweet sound of silence!!

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