Dodgers 4 11 2
Braves 3 7 0
WP- Wilson (1-0)
LP- Carpenter (0-1)
S- Jansen (1)
HR- Crawford 2 (3), Uribe (2)
The Dodgers defeat the Braves 3-1 in the NLDS. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
You cannot ever count the Dodgers out. Even when the game seemed out of reach thanks to two costly Adrian Gonzalez errors, defensive misplays, bunting, and Belisario woes, the Dodgers came back to win Game 4 and the NLDS against Atlanta in front of a hometown crowd. Many fans were shocked to hear that the Dodgers were going with Clayton Kershaw on three-days rest instead of scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco. Kershaw had never pitched on such short rest. Some even said the Dodgers were panicking. Pitching Kershaw on Monday night was absolutely the right thing to do. Kershaw asked to pitch game four, and he did not disappoint. This is what your ace is for. You can’t think about the next series. The time is now, and the Dodgers went for the kill. Kershaw pitched brilliantly like he has done all season long, and the two runs that he allowed were unearned due to a double dose of Gonzo bumbles.
Adrian Gonzalez rarely makes errors, but he made two tonight. The Braves took advantage like good teams do and cashed in two runs off the miscues. The Dodgers also botched a double play thanks to a bad throw by Mark Ellis, and Yasiel Puig tried to dive for a ball in right field which turned into a triple for for Elliot Johnson off of Ronald Belisario who came in to relieve Kershaw in the seventh inning. The Dodger offense to that point was all Carl Crawford. Crawford hit two solo homeruns, and he also stole a base. CC had a wonderful series, and the outfielder hit three homeruns in the four games.
Chris Johnson had a very good game for the Braves, and had three hits and a RBI on
The best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, pitched 6 masterful innings on three-days rest. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
the night. Brian McCann struck out four times to my delight.
The Dodgers offense was squelched by veteran Freddy Garcia who pitched very well for Atlanta. Instead of perhaps going with Kris Medlen, Fredi Gonzalez stuck with Garcia who gave him a solid 6 innings and only allowed the two runs on the Crawford dingers. David Carpenter came in to pitch the eighth, and in hindsight Fredi probably should have brought in Craig Kimbrel a little earlier. Kimbrel was left waiting in the bullpen never to come in again. Carpenter allowed a lead-off double to Yasiel Puig who motored into second base, and that set the table for the hero of the night: Juan Uribe. Don Mattingly annoyingly asked Uribe to bunt. Luckily the bunt attempt failed, and after collecting two strikes Uribe went yard for a glorious two-run homerun. Kenley Jansen came in and struck out the side in the top of the ninth, and the Braves were effectively CHOPPED.
Adrian Gonzalez bumbles a routine grounder up the first base line for a rare error in the top of the first inning, and just like that Jason Heyward reaches safely to lead-off. Justin Upton attempt to bunt, and he pops out to Kershaw for the first out on the bunt failure. Kershaw’s first strikeout victim is Freddie Freeman who swings at a beautiful Kershaw curveball. Evan Gattis hits a ball down to third, and luckily he is extremely slow. Juan Uribe’s bouncing throw gets him out in plenty of time to end the frame. Kershaw makes 16 pitches in the inning.
Freddy Garcia takes the mound for Atlanta in the home half of the first. Carl Crawford, who is having quite the series, proceeds to wallop a lead-off solo homerun to right field for his second homerun in as many nights! Mark Ellis, on the other hand, has been struggling this series and grounds out to second. Hanley Ramirez, the hottest player in the postseason right now, singles to left field. With Gonzalez at the plate, Hanley steals second! Gonzo flies out to left for the second out. Yasiel Puig hits a very deep ball to the track in right field, but Upton is there to grab it inches from the top of the wall. Garcia made 15 pitches in the inning, and the Dodgers jump ahead 1-0.
Brian McCann is whiffed by Kersh to begin the second inning, and cry baby McCann argues angrily with the ump on the call. The beautiful Kershaw curveball clearly crossed through the strike zone. Chris Johnson lines a single to left. After going 3-2 to Andrelton Simmons with two pitches in the dirt, Kersh rears back and strikes him out on a 94-mph fastball. Elliot Johnson grounds out to third, and Juan Uribe makes another fine play to throw him out from the hot corner.
Carl Crawford amazes with two solo homeruns. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Freddy Garcia hits a ball well to left field to lead-off the third, but luckily Crawford is there to take care of it. Kershaw strikes out Heyward on a slider which bottoms out. Upton lines out to Puig in right field who makes a nice running catch, and the Braves go down in order.
Clayton Kershaw goes down on strikes in the bottom of the third. Carl Crawford then proceeds to hit another homerun. Yes, another solo shot. This one is to right field as well. Wow. Dodgers lead 2-0. Mark Ellis then hits pop fly down the right field line, and Elliot Johnson tries to grab it but it bounces out of his glove. Mark Ellis ends up at second with a double. Hanley strikes out on a foul tip for the second out. Gonzalez grounds out to third to end the inning.
Freddie Freeman leads off the fourth with a base hit to center field. Evan Gattis reaches safely on the second Gonzalez error of the night. Gattis grounds a ball to Gonzo, and he throws a ball to second where there is nobody there to cover. Then with McCann batting, a wild pitch allows the runners to advance to second and third with nobody out. Brian McCann is struck out for the second time, and this time McCann doesn’t say a word after he’s called out looking at a good fastball by Kershaw. Chris Johnson swings at the first pitch, and he promptly singles to left field which brings in a run for Atlanta, 2-1 Dodgers. Simmons grounds to third, and Uribe gets the out at second. The slide by Johnson sends Mark Ellis’s throw wide to first and the tying run scores on the failed double play. Elliot Johnson grounds into a force play to end the inning, but the Gonzo error is costly and allows the Braves to tie it up 2-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Yasiel Puig leads off with a broken bat single to center. With Uribe at bat, Puig is thrown out by McCann trying to steal second. Uribe grounds out to the opposing third baseman Johnson. Skip Schumaker reaches first safely as Freeman’s glove comes flying off on a line drive hit by Skip! A.J. Ellis strikes out looking, and down go the Dodgers.
In the top of the fifth, Freddy Garcia grounds out. Jason Heyward flies out to deep
Adrian Gonzalez’s pair of blunders almost cost the Dodgers the game. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
center field, but Schumaker is there to make the second out. That momentarily gave me déjà vu from last night when Heyward homered to center. Justin Upton draws a walk, the first free pass allowed by Kersh. Freeman grounds out to second to end the frame.
Garcia wanted no piece of Crawford in the bottom of the fifth, and CC draws a one-out walk. With Mark Ellis at the plate, CC steals second. MEllis strikes out swinging. Hanley ends the inning by grounding out to short, and the game remains tied.
Brian McCann strikes out for the third time against Kershaw in the sixth. Kershaw pitches a nice 1-2-3 inning, but he is up to 91 pitches.
Adrian Gonzalez leads off the bottom of the sixth with a hopper up the middle for a single. Puig grounds into the dreaded double play. Uribe doubles down the left field line as he motors into second. Once again Atlanta will walk Schumaker to pitch to A.J. Ellis. A.J. grounds out to third, and that’s that.
Ronald Belisario will come out of the Dodger bullpen to relieve Kershaw in the seventh. Kershaw pitched great, and he allowed 2 unearned runs on just 3 hits with 6 strikeouts and a walk on 91 pitches. It will now be up to the bullpen to preserve this delicate tie. Elliot Johnson proceeds to triple in the right field corner. The ball rattles around past a sliding Puig. This is not looking good for the Dodgers. Jose Constanza then singles in the run, and the Braves take a 3-2 lead. That’s going to be it for Belisario who blew the tie in a matter of seconds. J.P. Howell comes in to pitch after the game has already been blown. Howell strikes out Heyward. Justin Upton walks. Freeman grounds out, but the Braves break the tie.
Freddy Garcia gave it his all, but the usually dominant Atlanta bullpen allowed the homerun to Uribe. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Luis Avilan will replace Freddy Garcia in the bottom of the seventh. Garcia went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs on 8 hits with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks on 101 pitches. Pinch-hitter Michael Young flies out. Crawford grounds out. Mark Ellis finally does something and doubles to center field with two outs. They intentionally walk Hanley to pitch to Gonzo. Gonzo fails to come up with the clutch hit as he flies out to right in foul territory to end the inning. Sigh.
Brian Wilson will pitch the top of the eighth for the Dodgers. Gattis is quickly retired by Wilson as he goes down on strikes. McCann strikes out for the fourth time, and he garners the golden sombrero! Chris Johnson collects his third hit on the night with a two-out single to center. Simmons also singles. E. Johnson flies out to center to end the inning.
David Carpenter will come out of the Atlanta bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. Yasiel Puig leads off the inning with an explosive double to right field! Then a Blue miracle occurs. Juan Uribe comes up, and at first we are disgusted because Donnie asks him to bunt. Luckily he can’t get the bunt down, so he has to swing after getting two strikes. Then Uribe proceeds to smash a HUGE TWO-RUN homerun to left field!!! Uribe is the hero! The Dodgers take a 4-3 lead! Wow.
Kenley Jansen will come in to try to shut down the Braves in the top of the ninth and close this series out. Dodger Stadium is still rockin’ after that Uribe homerun, and they begin the Mock Chop. Jansen strikes out Schafer. Heyward strikes out. Upton strikes out! The Dodgers are going to the NLCS!!!
What an incredible series win! You cannot ever count this team out. They have
Only 8 more wins for a World Championship! Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
something special. When one of them falls, the others will pick them up. Juan Uribe came up huge for the clutch homerun, and Jansen struck out the side in the ninth. Clayton Kershaw pitched a gem on three-days rest, and Carl Crawford hit two homeruns! The Dodgers are the first team to win their division series and advance to the LCS.
Now the Dodgers will be waiting to see who they face in the NLCS. The Cardinals and Pirates will play Game 5 of their division series on Wednesday in St. Louis. If the Bucs win, the Dodgers will have home field advantage and start the series in Los Angeles.
It’s Our Year! Go Blue!