ATLANTA – Considering how much they’ve overcome this year, perhaps it shouldn’t have been surprising to see the Braves erase a late deficit and claim a 5-4 win over the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series Sunday night at Truist Park.
Eddie Rosario capped his night with four hits with a two-time ninth inning single against closest Kenley Jansen to score Dansby Swanson with the winning run. Rosario’s liner hit shortstop Corey Seager’s glove and ended up in the middle of the pitch.
With a pair of wins on foot, the Braves took a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. In playoff history, teams taking a 2-0 lead in any best-of-seven series have won that series 73 out of 87 times (84%). The most recent return from a 2-0 deficit involved those same teams last year, with the Dodgers rallying both 2-0 and 3-1 to advance to the World Series.
Showing more resilience, the Braves erased a two-point deficit in the eighth inning. Rosario scored a single and moved up to second on Freddie Freeman’s flyout in left field. Rosario scored on Ozzie Albies’ single. Austin Riley, who produced Saturday’s single, scored Albies with an equalizing brace down center left to make it 4-4.
Atlanta became just the fourth team with a win on foot in the first two games of a playoff series, joining the 1997 Marlins (NL Division Series vs Giants), ’81 Astros (NLDS vs Dodgers) and ’69 Orioles ( ALCS vs twins).
It looked like the Braves were in a good position when Tyler Matzek came in and struck out Albert Pujols with two strikeouts and a runner on third base in sixth. Matzek accompanied Mookie Betts to start the seventh, then recorded consecutive strikeouts.
Manager Brian Snitker has repeatedly said Matzek is no match guy, but he didn’t allow the southpaw to face Will Smith, who was intentionally stepped on, or pinch hitter Justin Turner. Luke Jackson walked in and quickly hit Turner with a cursor that slipped out of his hands. Jackson then cleared the smooth brace from Chris Taylor, who scored two runs when the ball slipped under the glove of center fielder Guillermo Heredia.
Seager hit a two-run homer before Ian Anderson made his first out, and the Braves starter ended up with just 55 shots in three innings. After Anderson made his early exit, Joc Pederson electrified the home crowd with a two-run homerun against Max Scherzer in the fourth.
Pederson’s 454-foot explosion in the Chop House was the cause of the colons allowed by Scherzer, who came out with one and a putout in the fifth. The Dodgers called in left-hander Alex Vesia, who gave up a single and then quelled the threat by adding another strikeout to Freddie Freeman’s recent struggles.
Freeman struck in each of his first seven appearances in this series, corresponding to the longest streak of his career. The reigning National League MVP put the ball into play when he flew past Albies’ RBI single in the eighth.