MemberOctober 17, 2020 at 5:30 pm
Riding first inning runs and an excellent performance by Walker Buehler and their bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers hold on and defeat the Atlanta Braves in game six of the National League Championship Series, 3-1.
Now playing as the home team, Walker Buehler took the ball for the Dodgers with their backs against the wall. Ronald Acuña Jr. swung at Buehler’s first pitch and fouled it back, then flew-out on the next. Freddie Freeman proceeded to ground-out, and Marcell Ozuna flew-out to finish an eight pitch top of the first for Buehler. Max Fried, who has been outstanding this year, went to work for the Braves against a hungry LA lineup. After taking a few pitches, Mookie Betts got under one and flew-out in the gap. Corey Seager pounced on Fried’s hanging breaking ball and just crushed a towering solo home run to get the Dodgers on the board first, 1-0. Two pitches later, Justin Turner hammered a solo shot just out of the reach Cristian Pache’s leaping glove in center, doubling their edge early, 2-0. Max Muncy earned a walk to keep the line moving, and Will Smith attacked the next pitch and smacked a base hit. Muncy’s good base running allowed him to reach 3rd, and he scored on Cody Bellinger’s sharp single, pulling LA ahead 3-0 in the first. AJ Pollock’s fly-out kept the runners at 1st and 2nd, and Fried got Kiké Hernàndez to pop-out to mitigate the damage. Opening the second, Travis D’Arnaud ripped a line-drive that Hernàndez knocked down a few feet above his head, and his recovery and throw to 1st were just late. Next, Ozzie Albies pushed a single the opposite way, getting traffic for Atlanta and putting pressure on Buehler. Dansby Swanson continued the rally with a knock off his former college roommate, loading the bases with still no-away. Buehler responded with a three-pitch strike-out of Austin Riley, topped off by 99mph on the outside corner. Nick Markakis made Buehler work, but ultimately watched 100mph right down the pipe for the second out. Continuously dotting pitches on the corner, Buehler worked a ground-out of Pache to masterfully escape the bases loaded nobody out jam unscathed. Fried struck-out Barnes swinging to begin the bottom half, but Betts lined a single up the middle on the next pitch. Fried worked around it with a strike-out of Seager and a ground-out of Turner. Buehler struck-out Freeman in the midst of a clean frame in the third. Muncy drilled a base hit through the shift to leadoff the Dodgers half. Fried nearly picked-off Muncy immediately after; however, he got back safely by an inch. Fried got Smith swinging, and worked outs of Bellinger and Pollock to leave Muncy stranded. D’Arnaud swung at the first pitch of the fourth and lined a base hit. Buehler got Albies swinging for the first out, but Swanson dropped a single into center. Riley ripped a line drive to center with two-strikes, but LA caught a break when Bellinger retreated to make the catch. Buehler athletically fielded Markakis’ comeback chopper and tossed to 1st to escape the threat again. Fried got Hernàndez to ground-out in the bottom half, but Barnes blooped a single to flip the lineup over with a runner on. Betts watched five pitches to earn a free base, and Seager grounded into a fielder’s choice to put them at the corners with two-down. A battle between Turner and Fried resulted in an inning-ending ground-out. Buehler worked two lazy fly-outs to commence the fifth, but Freeman roped a base hit. Ozuna drove a ball deep into the right/center, and Betts backpedaled, leaped, and made an incredible catch airborne at the wall to help Buehler. Betts displayed his emotions openly, high stepping and ecstatically shouting his way back to the dugout. Fried struck-out Muncy in LA’s turn, and worked a fly-out of Smith. Bellinger earned a walk with two-down, but nothing came of it. Buehler struck-out D’Arnaud for the first out of the sixth, and Albies hit a weak dribbler up the 1st base line soon after. Muncy fielded and attempted to tag Albies, and although he did, the ball fell out of his glove. Not knowing that he was safe, Albies nonchalantly rounded 1st and took a few steps back towards his dugout. Buehler, understanding the situation, calmly picked up the ball and trotted over to tag Albies for the second out. Swanson ripped a single off of Buehler, and he advanced to 3rd when Barnes’ bad throw attempting to cut down a stealing Swanson sailed into the outfield. Riley absolutely mashed a ball that just stayed foul, and Buehler got him swinging on the next pitch to leave Swanson 90ft away. Buehler’s stellar outing concluded at that point with a final line of: 6IP, 0ER, 7H, 0BB, 6K, and one big time performance. In LA’s turn, Fried got Hernàndez to ground-out on the first pitch. Barnes sharply pulled a knock through the hole, but Fried erased it with a double-play of Betts. Blake Treinen entered to pitch the seventh and was immediately hit for a triple by Markakis — already bringing up the question of why Buehler was pulled so soon. Treinen worked a ground-out of Pache, holding Markakis at 3rd. It didn’t matter much though, as Acuña Jr. blooped a double down the line to get the Braves on the board, 3-1. Treinen got a big strike-out of Freeman prior to working a fly-out of Ozuna to allow only the lone run. Fried remained in for the bottom of the inning and worked a first pitch ground-out again, this one of Seager. Fried proceeded to walk Turner, but got Muncy to chase on a full count. Fried was relieved by Darren O’Day, and Swanson’s spectacular pick on Smith’s sharp grounder sent the game to the eighth. Pedro Báez entered to face the middle of Atlanta’s order. He struck-out D’Arnaud swinging to get things started, and Seager made a nice running grab in foul grounds for the second out on Albies’ pop-up. Báez worked a lazy fly-out of Swanson to top off a shutdown frame. Chris Martin trotted in from the Braves bullpen, and Pache’s sliding grab took a leadoff hit away from Bellinger. Pinch-hitting for Pollock, Joc Pederson broke his bat on a single with one-away. Hernàndez flew-out, and Edwin Ríos, pinch-hitting for Barnes, worked a walk. Up came Betts with two-on and two-out, but Martin got him to fly-out. With the top of Atlanta’s lineup looming, Kenley Jansen sprinted in from the Dodgers bullpen. Riley lined his first pitch into left, where Pederson made a clutch sliding grab. On the next pitch, Jansen got Markakis to fly-out weakly. Pablo Sandoval walked up to the plate in place of Pache, and he fell behind 0-2 quickly. After fouling off a few good pitches from Jansen, Sandoval softly lined-out to Pederson, ending the ballgame.
The boys in blue get the job again and live to fight another day, thanks to Walker Buehler’s magic and great work by the arms behind him. There’s not much else to say besides tomorrow will feature the two greatest words in all of sports: game seven. For the Dodgers, Tony Gonsolin will get the start. Gonsolin, who was charged with five earned runs in a game two slugfest, will likely be accompanied accordingly by Julio Urías, Brusdar Graterol, and perhaps even Dustin May. For the Braves, they must feel very confident with their stud 22-year-old Ian Anderson getting the ball. Anderson tossed four scoreless in game two. There’s not much more to it. Game seven, winner take all. A World Series birth rides in between the two teams tomorrow. 5:15pm first pitch. Go Dodgers!
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