Atlanta had a five-point lead at the time. By the time the reliever got to the mound, the lead was reduced to one. Melancon was holding on again.
Freddie Freeman also had a home run for the second night in a row, and the Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the National League championship series.
Atlanta became the fourth team in major league history to start a 7-0 postseason on an evening made more remarkable by the capture of the Melancon reliever box.
“It’s more circuits that I’ve captured in my entire life, let alone a season,” said Melancon. “Hopefully tomorrow night will be three in a row.”
Atlanta led 7-0 in the seventh, but the lead fell to 8-6 when Melancon replaced Josh Tomlin with two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth after Corey Seager’s RBI double and Max Muncy’s two-run homer.
Albies extended the game with a field error on Will Smith’s field in second place ahead, and reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger had a triple RBI. Melancon prompted AJ Pollock to take third, ending the 4-hour and 12-minute game.
“I didn’t feel good with a big lead because these guys are too powerful, and it’s a good game to win. They all are now, ”said manager Brian Snitker. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot at the end. Melancon did a great job coming in.
Rookie Ian Anderson extended his scoreless streak after the season in an abbreviated start as the Braves progressed within two wins of their first World Series appearance since 1999. The previous 14 teams to win the first two games of a best of the seven NLCS went on to claim the pennant.
“They won’t give up. We have to treat tomorrow as the first game of the series and come out strong, ”said Melancon. “There is no reason for either club to give up. … No one has won anything yet.
Freeman gave the NL East champion Braves the advantage to keep a two-run homerun in fourth rookie Tony Gonsolin, who replaced three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw with back spasms. Freeman added an RBI single as part of a four-point blast a round later.
Game three comes on Wednesday night, when 24-year-old playoff veteran Julio Urias starts for the Dodgers, looking to win their third pennant in four seasons. Kyle Wright, another rookie right-hander, is on the mound of the Braves, who beat their opponents 37-12 in the playoffs.
“This team has a lot of fighting. We’ve been doing it all year round, ”Seager said. “We were one swing away from tying that ball game and getting into the extras. It’s a long series. We take up the challenge. ”
Freeman was hit in the right elbow by Alex Wood in the eighth and was shaken but remained in the game.
“I stung him well and he lost his feelings,” Snitker said. “But I think after going through this round and coming back, he got his strength back. He should be fine.
Anderson allowed a hit and struck out five, but scored five with 85 pitches in four innings. The 22-year-old right-hander did not come out for fifth place after the Braves battled over the top of the frame and built a 6-0 lead while tying an LCS record with four steps in the set.
“We had a good game plan, and in the playoffs you just have to stop the guys from scoring and we were able to do that,” Anderson said. “As long as we keep winning baseball games here. … It’s good to be 2-0, and we’re back to work tomorrow.
Los Angeles, which had the best record of the pandemic-shortened season, was trailed by seven to Seager’s three-point homerun to welcome AJ Minter in seventh.
“Showing us an offensive life was very nice to see,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “In the beginning, we created traffic and we just couldn’t get that one, two big hits. And they did. Seeing us fight was a good thing.
Just seven weeks after making his big league debut with the Braves, Anderson pitched 15 2/3 scoreless innings and is only the second pitcher in major league history to begin his postseason career not allowing not a race in three consecutive starts of at least four rounds. The other was Hall of Fame right-hander Christy Mathewson, who threw three shutouts in the 1905 World Series for the New York Giants.
Tyler Matzek, second of Atlanta’s seven pitchers, worked two scoreless innings for the win.
When Kershaw was struck out in favor of a likely start later in the series, he hosted the second rookie pitching game in an LCS.
Gonsolin’s post-season debut came 17 days after his previous game. The right-hander struck out seven runs and allowed just three hits, but gave up five runs and walked three in 4 1/3 innings.
Freeman hit a ball over 400 feet into the right-field seats, similar to his solo shot in Game 1, after Ronald Acuna Jr. left in Game 4.
“He’s one of the most consistent guys we have,” Albies said of Freeman. “The way I describe him is that he’s MVP. He plays like he’s the MVP every day.
Gonsolin was made when Acuna walked into the fifth again, just after an RBI brace by rookie Cristian Pache, in the roster after Adam Duvall was removed from Atlanta’s NLCS roster due to a left oblique injury suffered in the series opener.
Pedro Baez then walked two of his four hitters, including Travis d’Arnaud with the bases loaded before Albies’ sacrificial volley on which Bellinger made an impressive leap on the run to center.
The Dodgers had early scoring chances against Anderson, but left six runners against him. The goals were loaded with two strikeouts in the third when Austin Riley, the 23-year-old third baseman who hit the decisive homer in the ninth inning of Monday night’s 5-1 win, lined up the helicopter of Smith and stepped on the bag. More impressive was his late inning play in the first after Anderson walked two. Riley knelt down and grabbed Smith’s hard hopper while sliding his glove up. He got up and threw a small, wide throw, but Freeman was able to keep his right foot in contact with the base first while stretching out to the outfield to catch the catch.
Atlanta tied the 1976 Cincinnati Reds and 2007 Colorado Rockies, one behind the 2014 Kansas City Royals’ eight in a row record – only the Reds won the World Series
Dansby Swanson had a brace on the floor with two strikeouts in the seventh Braves, with just one point instead of two when the ball bounced off the wall. … The four marches in one round were the first in an NLCS since San Francisco against the Chicago Cubs in 1989.… The advertised paid attendance was 10,624, which represented each ticket made available to the general public only in the second MLB game this season with the fans.
THE BRAVE GOES DEEP
Freeman was the first player to make a homerun in Games 1 and 2 of an NLCS since Daniel Murphy when the New York Mets swept the Chicago Cubs in 2015.… Freeman and Albies joined Swanson and Arnaud by making a circuit in consecutive games of the Braves this postseason. Both Swanson and Arnaud were immersed in the NLDS’s first two games against Miami.
Braves: Wright pitched six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts in his postseason debut in the decisive third game of the NL Division Series against Miami. The 25-year-old was the fifth overall pick in Vanderbilt’s 2017 Draft.
Dodgers: Urias, already a pitcher in his fourth postseason, was the winner of Game 3 of the NLDS. He allowed just one hit and one undeserved run in five innings against San Diego last Thursday after being Los Angeles’ third pitcher in that game.