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Braves come up short in 4-3 loss in Game 7 to Dodgers

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Atlanta’s season comes to an end in painful fashion.

League Championship - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Intro

The game got off to a rough start for Dodgers’ opener Dustin May whose first eight pitches missed the strike zone giving the Braves runners at first and second to open the game. Marcell Ozuna made him pay by lining the second pitch he saw to left to bring home Acuña and put Atlanta up 1-0.

May then caught a break as Travis d’Arnaud grounded a 1-1 cutter to Corey Seager at short who started a 6-4-3 double play. May then struck out Ozzie Albies to end the inning.

As expected, May would give way to Tony Gonsolin in the second. His night didn’t get off to any better start as he allowed a solo home run to Dansby Swanson to extend Atlanta’s lead to 2-0.

Ian Anderson allowed a leadoff single to Mookie Betts in the first but retired the next three Dodgers hitters in a scoreless first. Los Angeles made him work again in the second as AJ Pollock hit a two-out single and then advanced all the way to third on a base hit by Joc Pederson. Anderson then ran the count to 3-2 on Chris Taylor but unleashed a nasty changeup to get the swinging strikeout to strand both runners.

The Dodgers would tie things up in the third. Anderson retired Betts and Seager on just four pitches but then issued a two-out walk to Justin Turner. Max Muncy followed with a double to put runners at second and third. Will Smith then jumped on a first pitch curveball and drove it back up the middle to bring both runners home and tie the game. Those were the first two runs that Anderson had allowed the entire postseason. Anderson then walked Cody Bellinger but then got Pollock to fly out to Pache in center to end the inning.

Atlanta’s offense got right back to work in the fourth as Albies and Swanson worked back-to-back walks off of Gonsolin to begin the inning. Austin Riley fell behind 0-2 but then singled to center to score Albies to give Atlanta back the lead 3-2.

That would be it for Gonsolin as Dave Roberts would pop out of the dugout and call for right-hander Blake Treinen to face Nick Markakis with runners at first and second and no one out. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move up but bad base running would cost Atlanta. Markakis grounded to Turner at third who threw home and caught Swanson in a run down. Turner tagged Swanson and then threw back to the bag at third where Riley was tagged out trying to advance. Treinen then got Pache to ground out to end the inning. So Atlanta retook the lead but squandered a good chance to extend it even further.

Tyler Matzek came on to replace Anderson in the fourth. Anderson would exit having allowed five hits, two walks and two runs after throwing 73 pitches. It was not smooth sailing for Matzek who retired Pederson on a fly out but then allowed a single to Taylor and then walked Betts to put runners at first and second. Seager then jumped on a first pitch breaking ball and hit a 105 mph line drive to Acuña in right for the second out. Both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and Matzek walked Turner to load the bases. That would bring Max Muncy to the plate who swung through a 97 mph heater for strike three to leave them loaded. Matzek needed 27 pitches but was able to get out of trouble and preserve the lead.

Shane Greene worked a scoreless fifth and then gave way to A.J. Minter. Roberts went back to his bench inserting Kike Hernandez to pinch hit for Joc Pederson. Hernandez fouled off several pitches from Minter and then connected on a long home run to left to tie the game at 3-3. Taylor followed with a double down the left field line and the Braves were once again in a high stress situation. Betts flew out to Pache in center for the first out but Taylor tagged and advanced to third on the play. Brian Snitker elected to leave Minter in the game to face Seager who grounded to Albies at second. Albies fielded it and fired home to nab Taylor at the plate to keep the game tied. Snitker then called for Chris Martin to replace Minter to face Turner who flew out to Acuña for the final out. The Dodgers tie the game but a really clutch defensive play by Albies limits the damage.

Martin stayed in for the seventh and struck out both Muncy and Smith for the first two outs. He worked the count to 2-2 against Bellinger but was unable to put him away as he connected on a long home run to right to give the Dodgers their first lead at 4-3. Martin struck out Pollock to end the seventh but the Braves were now facing their first deficit of the game.

Mark Melancon came on in the eighth and retired Hernandez and Taylor to open the inning. However, Los Angeles continued their two-out magic as Betts doubled to right center. Melancon recovered and got Seager to ground out sharply to Swanson at short to end the inning.

The game would shift to the ninth with Urias out there for his third inning of work and set the Braves down in order. Urias came on in the seventh and tossed three perfect innings in relief to seal it.