By Arnie Leshin
After cooling off the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers to grab games one and two, the also red-hot Atlanta Braves are still two games from the World Series, and must now recover after the the top-seeded Dodgers, dressed in their visiting grays, pounded Atlanta with a playoff-record first inning that wrapped this must-game up early and stopped the Braves’ playoff win streak at seven.
It began with a boom against starting right-hander Kyle Wright, continued against righty reliever Grant Dayton, and was 11-0 after one frame and 15-3 when the assault ended in a four-hour and 15 minute contest played at the Texas Rangers ballpark, Globe Lite Field, in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday afternoon. If there was an consolation, Atlanta could say it was outscored only 4-3 after the long top of the first.
It was amazing that Wright lasted as long as he did. After two thirds of he inning had gone by, he was also scorched for seven runs and five hits, walked two and struck out none, and unleashed a pair of wild pitches. The Braves then brought in Dayton and he, too, had no answer. When he took the mound, it was already 7-0, when he left it was up to 11-0, and he also took the hill in the second and departed after yielding eight runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking one in his short stay.
So it was 14-0 until Atlanta scored once each in the third on a solo home run off the bat of Rache in the third, and twice more in the ninth on a 2-run double from Ossie Albies. But it was much too little and much too late after the huge Los Angeles booming first inning.
It was quick, a big boast for the top-seeded Dodger fans, and a big huge letdown for the Bravos. Joc Pederson led with a two-run blast into the centerfield seats, after a walk, Corey Seager hit one into the seats in deep left field, then Wright loaded the bases and up came Max Muncy to clear them and up the lead to 8-0. But they weren’t finished as Rios found the seats in right with two aboard off of Dayton, who then finally got the final out and a return to face the damage in the second frame.
Julio Urias started for LA, went five innings, gave up one run, two hits, whiffed five and walked two. Four Dodger relievers followed him and kept the hard-hitting Braves at bay. Atlanta, meanwhile, employed three more hurlers and they surrendered only one more run, that coming in the fifth, after the fifth Los Angeles homer came on a 2-run shot by Bellinger in the 3-run second.
The Dodgers were hit-happy throughout the lineup, with Seager batting out the home run, double and single for a trio of RBI, Muncy Muncy adding his grand slam to a run-scoring double, Peterson contributing four hits and three ribbies, and former Brave Charlie Culbelson having a 2-hit game that included an RBI, and not to forget Pederson’s second-inning addition.
Said Dave Roberts, the LA manager: “If you remember I had said after game two that we began putting together our offense after being down 7-0 and than lost by only a late run, so here you go, it was just a unbelievable start for us today, and we’re right back in it.”
So after first Los Angeles was cooled off, it was Atlanta’s turn. These are a game-a-day playoffs, this one a best-of-seven Championship Series, and is on the air tonight, 6:08, on FOX and FSI. Before yesterday’s rout, the Braves had won game one 5-1 and held on to win game two 8-7. Next came the most runs ever scored in a playoff inning.