In a pitching battle that saw zero runs scored between the second and ninth inning, the Los Angeles Dodgers prevailed in an extra-inning, 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in the series' rubber match on Thursday afternoon.
Both teams notched a run-apiece in the first inning, but the pitching staffs took over the game after that, as the game remained tied until extra innings.
Heading to extra innings tied at 1-1, Alexi Ogando came in for relief for the Braves. Ogando struck out Trayce Thompson to lead off, but Enrique Hernandez lined to left for a single to follow. Yasmani Grandal was next up, and he rocketed a double to center field to bring Hernandez around for the 2-1 lead. Ogando retired Turner and Howie Kendrick to end the inning.
The Braves came to bat in the bottom of the tenth needing a run to extend the game. Nick Markakis led off with a strikeout against Kenley Jansen. Erick Aybar then doubled for the second time in the game with a liner down the left field line. Akbar advanced to third on a Daniel Castro fly to right, which set the stage for Freddie Freeman. Freeman made good contact, but he got under it just a bit, and Thompson put it away in deep center field to give the Dodgers the win.
An Adonis Garcia throwing error allowed Cory Seager to reach base with one out in the first inning to get things going for the Dodgers. Seager stole second after an Adrian Gonzalez strikeout, and he went on to score on Joc Pederson's bloop hit to left field to give Los Angeles an early 1-0 lead.
It wouldn't take long for the Braves to bounce back. Aybar led off for the Braves, and he delivered with a double to left field. Castro followed suit with his own double to left field, bringing Aybar home and giving Atlanta the all-important equalizing run against Clayton Kershaw before an out was recorded. Castro was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play.
It appeared the Braves were in a golden opportunity to take a quick lead on Kershaw in the second inning. Tyler Flowers, Jeff Francoeur, and Drew Stubbs all singled to load the bases with nobody out. Kershaw managed to get out of it, though, as he struck out Mallex Smith and got Matt Wisler to ground into a double play to end the rally.
Atlanta missed out on another scoring chance in the sixth inning when Freeman singled to lead off. Trying to steal second, Freeman was ruled out on a questionable call. Adonis Garcia went on to single in the same at-bat, potentially costing the Braves a run in the inning.
The Dodgers had their next big threat in the next half inning, when Kershaw reached second due to a collision in right field between Francoeur and Smith on a two-out flair. Chase Utley followed with a walk, and Matt Wisler's day ended there. Eric O'Flaherty came in to replace him, and he gave up a hard single to right field by Seager. Francoeur came up firing, and he threw out Kershaw at home in a bang-bang play. After a ridiculously long review by the umpires, the call stood, and the Braves narrowly avoided trouble in the seventh.
Los Angeles threatened again in the eight and ninth innings, but failed to bring home any runs. In the eighth, Jim Johnson loaded the bases, but he got Justin Turner to line out to right field to escape unscathed. Arodys Vizcaino pitched the ninth, and he allowed a one-out double to Utley. Utley advanced to third on a Seager ground out, and Vizcaino intentionally walked Gonzalez to put runners on first and third with two outs. Facing Pederson, Vizcaino struck him out with a filthy slider to get to the bottom of the ninth still tied, 1-1.
Wisler threw 6.1 innings in the game, allowing one unearned run on just four hits. He walked two and had six strikeouts on 115 pitches in the no-decision. His counterpart, Kershaw, lasted a full eight innings, giving up one earned run on 10 hits and one walk. He struck out 10 and threw one more pitch than Wisler with 116. Despite struggling early, Kershaw found his groove late, as he fooled many Braves' batters in the latter innings with his swooping curve ball.
Aybar, Garcia, Francoeur, and Stubbs all notched two hits-apiece for the Braves, with Freeman joining them as the group to reach base twice in the game. Overall, Atlanta left 14 men on base in the game. The Dodgers easily topped that, leaving 22 men on base in 10 innings.
After winning four straight, the Braves have now dropped two in a row in the series loss to the Dodgers. They'll look to get back on track with the Mets coming into town on Friday night. It won't be easy. Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Jacob deGrom are the probably started for New York.