After the Dodgers seemingly grabbed a bit of momentum in Game 3 on Tuesday, the Braves came right back in Game 4 on Wednesday to defeat Los Angeles 9-2 and take a 3-1 series lead.
With a victory in Game 5 on Thursday, the Braves can secure their first National League pennant since 1999.
The Braves used three swings of the bat to get all the runs they needed. In the top of the second inning, Eddie Rosario, who’s having a scorcher of a series, went back-to-back with Adam Duvall to get on the board early. In the third, Freddie Freeman hit a solo shot to right to extend the lead to three.
Atlanta added another run in the third when Joc Pederson drove home Duvall with a single to center. After three full innings, the Dodgers still didn’t have a baserunner as the Braves appeared to be in total control.
The Braves plated another run in the top of the fifth when Duvall hit a sacrifice fly to score Ozzie Albies, who led off the inning with a single to center.
After using Julio Urias as a reliever in Game 2, skipper Dave Roberts stated in the pregame that he still expected around 90 pitches from his lefty starter. Urias ended up throwing 92 pitches over five full innings, but he appeared to be tired and frustrated at times, and the Braves took advantage of at least three of the balls he left over the fat part of the plate.
The Dodgers never saw their first baserunner until Corey Seager walked in the bottom of the fourth.
Los Angeles showed a bit of life in the bottom of the fifth. Gavin Lux struck out to start the inning, but Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger hit back-to-back singles to give the Dodgers some baserunning action. Chris Taylor followed with a flyout, then AJ Pollock singled to right driving home both JTurner and Bellinger.
Pinch-hitting to start the bottom of the seventh, Albert Pujols ripped a single to left. However, JTurner followed with a grounder to third, which was probably his final AB of the 2021 postseason. After the double-play, JTurner was wincing in pain from a hamstring injury that appears to be quite severe.
Phil Bickford and Justin Bruihl followed Urias and held the Atlanta offense at bay. Tony Gonsolin threw a scoreless eighth, but he got hammered in the top of the ninth after allowing four runs, highlighted by a three-run blast to right field by Rosario, his second of the night.
Rosario was the big offensive contributor for Atlanta, going 4-for-5 with two homers and a triple.
Lefty Drew Smyly was the official game winner in what was a bullpen game for the Braves. The 32-year-old veteran went 3-1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits and a walk while striking out two.
Urias took the loss.
Game 5 is scheduled for a 5:08 p.m. Pacific first pitch on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.