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Flowers’ pinch-hit blast snaps Braves skid against Dodgers

Atlanta’s six-game losing streak is now history after the Braves bullpen and bench helped power Atlanta to a win over the Dodgers.

Milwaukee Brewers v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Back in July, the Dodgers had an 11-game win streak going before the Braves snapped it. Fast forward to August and the Dodgers went into tonight’s game at SunTrust Park with a nine-game win streak. The Braves snapped it, as a go-ahead pinch-hit homer from Tyler Flowers in the eighth inning gave the Braves the 5-3 win over Los Angeles.

The scoring in this one started in the second inning, which is when Cody Bellinger continued his prolific rookie season by sending a fastball that was low in the zone into the bullpen out in center field. The solo shot put the Dodgers on the board, and it seemed like we were going to be in for another one of those rough nights for Julio Teheran. It ended up being a short night for Teheran, but fortunately it wasn’t because of the Dodgers shelling him.

Meanwhile, the Braves immediately answered Los Angeles’ offense by delivering some offense of their own in the bottom-half of the second inning. Danny Santana got to start again, and this time he was playing in the revolving door that has become left field (and the left side of the baseball field for the Braves, for that matter). Santana repaid the manager’s confidence in him by hitting a no-doubt homer into the right field seats for a two-run shot that gave the Braves the lead.

Atlanta’s lead didn’t last long, though. After a scoreless third inning, the Dodgers manufactured a run in the fourth inning and then Chase Utley hit an RBI single in the fifth inning to plate Yasiel Puig and put Los Angeles back in front.

The Braves once again answered the challenge by responding immediately, and naturally it was Freddie Freeman who rose to the occasion. Ender Inciarte and Brandon Phillips set the table for the star first baseman and he delivered by floating a liner into center field to score Inciarte and tie the game again.

The fifth inning ended up being Julio Teheran’s final inning. Earlier in the game, he tweaked something in his leg while taking a swing and while he made it through the top of the fifth inning with no problems, he exited the game after just 64 pitches. Fortunately Teheran was only dealing with some bad cramping in his leg, which means that he’ll probably be fine in the long term. However, Julio’s early exit meant that the Braves had to rely on their bullpen to hold the best offense in the National League at bay for the rest of the game.

As it turns out, the bullpen was up to the task. Sam Freeman got the Braves through the sixth inning with no issues, Jim Johnson got the first two outs of the seventh inning before being replaced by Rex Brothers, who got the final out of that frame and also retired the Dodgers in order in the top of the eighth.

The Braves had a golden chance to score in the seventh inning, but a poor send decision from Ron Washington meant that Nick Markakis’ 1,999th career hit was an inning-ender instead of a set-up for a scoring opportunity. Fortunately, the Braves didn’t waste their next chance in the eighth inning.

Pedro Baez got the first two batters of the eighth inning out without much of an issue, but he walked Johan Camargo, and the Braves sent Tyler Flowers to bat as a pinch-hitter. Flowers wasted no time hitting the first pitch he saw into the Chop House for a two-run shot that sent SunTrust Park into a frenzy.

Arodys Vizcaino came in for the ninth and continued the bullpen’s great work on the evening by retiring the Dodgers in order. Just like that, Los Angeles’ nine-game win streak came to an end, Atlanta’s six-game skid was over and done with, and the Braves are now responsible for three of LA’s seven losses since June 7. Atlanta’s win also snapped an even longer and historic streak for the Dodgers.

The Braves now have a shot at taking the series against the Dodgers, and with the way that both teams had been playing coming into this series, that’s more than you could ask for from the Braves at this point. Hopefully the good times continue.

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