Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers the game they couldn’t lose by opening SCLN

ATLANTA – A hit by third baseman Austin Riley boosted Ozzie Albies in the ninth as the Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Saturday in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

With the game tied 2-2, second baseman Albies singled, stole second and scored on Riley’s strong line to the left-field corner off reliever Blake Treinen.

Capitalizing on the great energy provided by most of the 41,815 who were in Atlanta’s first league final game in two decades, the Braves won the game they couldn’t lose.

Due to a stressful five-game division series against the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles started the old-circuit finale with reliever Corey Knebel for the second straight game, while the Braves had their star, left-hander Max Fried.

Fried pitched very well, leaving the Dodgers to two runs over six innings, but the Braves had 14 strikeouts and no walks against eight opposing pitchers until Albies and Riley combined to seal the game. Riley also hit a solo home run in the fourth inning for Atlanta’s second run, which he scored in the first on a deflected pitch from Knebel.

A Chris Taylor single in the second and a Will Smith home run in the fourth produced both of the Dodgers’ runs. A lousy base run by Taylor in the first half of the ninth inning killed a potential two-out rally.

For Sunday’s clash, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker will box right-hander Ian Anderson (9-5, 3.58 in 24 starts on the season and 5.0 IL blank against Milwaukee Brewers in the playoffs) before the series move to Dodger Stadium.

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A bullpen game Saturday gave Dodgers manager Dave Roberts a chance to reset his rotation and have his three death horses available for the next three games: rights Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler and left-hander. Mexican Julio Urías.

Between Scherzer (15-4, 2.46; 7-0, 1.98 with LA), Buehler (16-4, 2.47) and Urías (20-3, 2.96) combined to go 43-7 with a 2.59 ERA in the regular season. When they started pitching, the Dodgers’ record was 59-17.

The presence of those three pitchers, coupled with the fact that the Dodgers are 60-24 at home, including 2-1 in the postseason, in 2021, made it urgent for Atlanta to win the first game of the series for level the odds a little more.

That’s why on Saturday, Atlanta won the game it couldn’t lose.

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