ARLINGTON, Texas - The Atlanta Braves, already down three runs, led off the second inning with three consecutive singles against Los Angeles Dodgers starter Walker Buehler. They looked primed for one of their oft-assembled multi-run innings. Another single keeps the line moving. A double scores two. One mightier swing would give them a lead.
Austin Riley struck out swinging on three pitches.
Nick Markakis struck out looking on six pitches.
Cristian Pache hit a dribbler to shortstop Corey Seager, who fired to first base to end the inning.
"When (Buehler) loaded the bases, he elevated his game," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "You'd like to get at least one of out that. We couldn't."
The sequence summed up Game 6, which was marked with miscues and mental errors for the Braves. They never recovered from the early deficit and botched bases-loaded opportunity, losing 3-1 to the Dodgers on Saturday in Arlington. There will be a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday night with a World Series berth on the line.
After squandering the second inning, the Braves had two on with one out in the fourth. Riley lined out to center and Markakis hit a comebacker to Buehler. The next inning, Freeman's two-out single meant little after Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts made a preposterous leaping catch at the wall to rob Marcell Ozuna of an extra-base hit.
In the sixth, which was Buehler's final frame, Ozzie Albies made a mental mistake. He hit a grounder to first baseman Max Muncy, who fielded the ball and threw inaccurately to Buehler at first. Albies, who was in front of Muncy during the play, appeared to think he'd been tagged out. He didn't touch first base, instead rounding toward the dugout, and was actually tagged out.
"I guarantee you he felt the tag and thought he was tagged out," Snitker said. "He had no inclination that the ball popped out. He thought he was out."
Dansby Swanson, who had three hits, followed the gaffe with a single. He stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw, but Riley struck out to complete another wasted inning.