Dodger Stadium continued to be a house of horrors for the Braves on Monday night as they fell by a score of 5-3.
Kevin Gausman was not sharp from the early going, surrendering five runs (three earned) across 4 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out six, but four walks and seven timely Dodger hits put the Braves in a 5-0 hole they were ultimately unable to climb out of.
Cody Bellinger laid down a surprise bunt in the first inning that Gausman fielded but threw errantly to first. Bellinger later came around to score on a fielder’s choice groundout.
Weird things seem to happen when the Braves travel to Dodger Stadium, and that was the case yet again in the second inning. Walker Buehler was trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt with runners on the corners. A pitch near the plate appeared to tip the end of his bat, but it just narrowly missed and caused the ball to skip off Brian McCann’s glove for the game’s second run.
Things unraveled for Gausman even more in the third as he gave up a one-out double, walk, walk and single consecutively to make it 3-0. A sacrifice fly made it 4-0 shortly after. LA added on a fifth run in the fifth inning.
The Braves chipped away in the sixth inning as Freddie Freeman launched his 7th homer of the season, a two-run shot to deep center. Nick Markakis then hit his 4th homer of the year (and second in as many days) in lead off the seventh to make it 5-3. That would be the final hit for the club, though, as the final nine batters were set down in order.
On a positive note, the bullpen continued to pitch better with 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings after Gausman departed. Grant Dayton recorded two big outs in the fifth to keep the score within reason, and Sean Newcomb made his bullpen debut with two strong innings of work. His fastball sat in the mid-90s (up from the lower-90s it was at earlier in the year) and he did not walk anyone while striking out two. Jacob Webb also worked a scoreless eighth inning.
The loss drops Atlanta to 7-19 at Chavez Ravine dating back to 2013.
Game two of the series should be a dandy with Max Fried and Hyun Jin Ryu on the bump. First pitch at 10:10p ET on Tuesday.