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Eddie Rosario's walk-off hit puts Braves up 2-0 on Dodgers in NLCS

Gabriel Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Baseball

ATLANTA -- Like Game 1, the Braves and Dodgers entered the ninth inning of Game 2 in a stalemate. Like Game 1, the Braves were the ones who came up with the pivotal hit in the end.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud opened the bottom of the ninth with a broken-bat single off flamethrower Brusdar Graterol. Shortstop Dansby Swanson bunted into a force out at second. Swanson moved to second with a groundout.

The Dodgers pulled Graterol for closer Kenley Jansen. Outfielder Eddie Rosario then hit a ball that bounced off infielder Corey Seager’s glove and into the outfield, ending the game. The Braves won, 5-4, Sunday at Truist Park.

Just like that, the Braves have built a 2-0 lead over the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. And they’ll head to Los Angeles with pressure mounting on their opponent.

The Braves entered the eighth down 4-2. The Dodgers called upon left-handed starter Julio Urias in a pitching strategy that would fail them. Outfielder Eddie Rosario greeted Urias with an opposite-field single. Rosario scored on second baseman Ozzie Albies’ single, just evading the throw to the plate.

An out later, enter third baseman Austin Riley, who’s gone scorched earth in October. Riley won Game 1 on a walk-off hit. He tied Game 2 with a double to the center-field wall, his third extra-base hit of the series already.

 

Score it a victory for third-base coach Ron Washington and his aggressive sends. And mark it a loss for the oft-lauded Dodgers brain trust, who saw their decision to use Urias implode in their faces.

The game seemed to heavily favor the Dodgers after the top of the seventh, when the Braves’ trouble started with a common culprit: a lead-off walk. Lefty Tyler Matzek committed the sin this time, losing a 10-pitch battle with former MVP Mookie Betts. Matzek, a star of the Braves’ playoff run, followed by fanning shortstop Corey Seager. Betts stole second base.

Matzek then struck out second baseman Trea Turner. He intentionally walked catcher Will Smith, triggering a game of chess that resulted in Braves reliever Luke Jackson facing Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. Jackson plunked Turner with a slider, loading the bases.

Jackson, whose propensity for escaping jams has saved the Braves countless times throughout the season, couldn’t keep the game tied. Chris Taylor, who’s already proven a menace in this series, popped a ball that dropped in front of center fielder Guillermo Heredia, who’d just entered the game as part of a double switch.

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