Atlanta 9, LA Dodgers 2
When: 8:08 PM ET, Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
James Hoye, 1B -
Lance Barksdale, 2B -
Todd Tichenor, 3B -
Tripp Gibson III, LF -
Jordan Baker, RF -
LOS ANGELES -- With a roster transformed at the trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves now are on the verge of swapping last season's disappointing finish for their first visit to the World Series in 22 years.
Eddie Rosario had two home runs among his four hits as the Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-2 on Wednesday to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.
Rosario finished a double shy of the cycle while Adam Duvall and Freddie Freeman added home runs for Atlanta, which would wrap up the best-of-seven series with a victory in Game 5 on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
Rosario, Duvall and Joc Pederson all were acquired in July trades and have led Atlanta's playoff charge, with work still to be done. The Braves also had a 3-1 NLCS lead on the Dodgers last season but were unable to get one last victory as Los Angeles moved on and eventually won the World Series.
"This is a whole different team and a whole different thing," Freeman said when asked about last year's NLCS collapse. "If anybody is thinking about 2020, I think everybody wants to be in a 3-1 lead, so we'll take it."
The 106-win Dodgers, who had to survive the wild-card game then take a grueling NL Division Series against the rival San Francisco Giants, have looked less than spry. AJ Pollock had a two-run single for the Dodgers, who were held without a hit until the fifth inning.
Los Angeles starter Julio Urias (1-1) gave up three home runs in five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out three. Urias also coughed up a two-run Dodgers lead in the eighth inning of Game 2 during a relief assignment.
"Every ballclub that is here has gone through a lot of baseball," Pollock said. "We just have to execute. We can be tired and execute. It doesn't have anything to do with being tired. ... Guys are showing up ready to play."
Braves right-hander Huascar Ynoa was scheduled to start Wednesday's bullpen game but was removed from the roster because of shoulder inflammation. Jesse Chavez started instead and pitched a scoreless first inning.
Drew Smyly (1-0) gave up two runs in 3 1/3 innings and was credited with the win. He was the second of six Braves pitchers who shut down Los Angeles.
"As we saw last year (in the NLCS), winning a game is hard, especially against a veteran team like (the Dodgers)," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "No. 1, it's hard to win here. No. 2, it's hard to win a major league game. But I feel good about our club just from what we experienced last year and where these guys are."
Rosario and Duvall got the offense started, hitting consecutive home runs to open the second inning. It was the first time Atlanta hit back-to-back long balls in a playoff game since Javy Lopez and Vinny Castilla did so in the 2002 NL Division Series.
Freeman made it 3-0 in the third inning with his home run to right-center field. Pederson haunted his former team again with an RBI single in the third, and Duvall gave Atlanta a 5-0 lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly.
Pederson, who helped the Dodgers earn the title last season, has five hits and four RBIs in the series.
Pollock's two-run single in the fifth got the Dodgers within 5-2, but unlike Game 3, Los Angeles was not able to rally from the same deficit. Freeman's RBI double in the ninth was followed by Rosario's second home run. The Atlanta left fielder ended the night with four RBIs.
"Outside of that (fifth inning), we just really didn't threaten and I just really don't have an answer," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "I think that they just outplayed us in all facets."
Los Angeles' Justin Turner departed after the seventh inning with a hamstring strain, and Roberts said the third baseman likely is done for the series. The Dodgers are expected to add a position player to the roster Thursday.
--Doug Padilla, Field Level Media
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