Eddie Rosario continued his superhuman October and the Braves’ bullpen pieced together nine innings in a 9-2 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday night as the club moved to within one win of their first World Series appearance since 1999.
The Braves jumped out to an early lead against Julio Urías behind back to back homers from Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall in the second inning. Rosario lifted an up-and-away fastball over the left field wall, and Duvall followed with a moonshot to dead-center.
Duvall’s heroics continued in the bottom half of the second as he robbed Gavin Lux at the wall. For someone who is not a center fielder by trade, Duvall played it perfectly in a huge spot.
To the window, to Duvall!@aduvall123 | #BattleATL pic.twitter.com/8cHvTy6tec— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 21, 2021
Freddie Freeman, who found his groove in Game 3 with three hits, homered in the top of the third to push the lead to 3-0. Eddie Rosario came up once again and this time delivered a two-out triple and came around to score on an RBI single from Joc Pederson. Rosario came up a double short of hitting for the cycle.
Duvall plated Ozzie Albies with a sacrifice fly in the fifth to extend the lead to 5-0.
Drew Smyly, who pitched brilliantly in long relief, was unfortunately left in two batters too many as the Dodgers finally solved him in the bottom of the fifth. After allowing Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger to hit, Brian Snitker pulled Smyly after 3 1⁄3 innings of work. Chris Martin got Chris Taylor to fly out for the second out, but a well-placed hit from pinch-hitter AJ Pollock cut the deficit to 5-2.
A.J. Minter was the next man up and tossed two scoreless and much-needed innings in the sixth and seventh. He worked a perfect first inning, and after allowing a leadoff single in the seventh, he promptly induced a 4-3 double play* and got a deep fly out from Cody Bellinger to end the threat.
*Justin Turner was in visible pain after pulling a hamstring while running down the first base line. He exited the game immediately, and it seems likely his NLCS is over.
Tyler Matzek, who has appeared in every Braves playoff game (eight) so far, came in for the eighth inning and worked a perfect 1-2-3 frame.
Looking for insurance runs in the ninth, the Braves got their wish as Dansby Swanson led off with a single and stolen base. Freeman dumped a ball down the right field line to extend the lead to 6-2. Following an Albies walk and Riley strikeout, Rosario launched a three-run homer into the Los Angeles night to extend the lead to 9-2.
Will Smith closed things out in the ninth.
Game 5 will be Thursday night in Los Angeles at 8:08 p.m. ET. Max Fried will be on the mound for Atlanta with a chance to close out the series. The Dodgers are expected to roll with a bullpen game, although it is unclear who will start the evening. Presumably everyone besides Urías will be available.