ATLANTA — The 106-win Dodgers from the regular season have met their match in these resilient Braves of the NL Least.
For a second-straight night, walk-off magic was in vogue for the Braves, this time with Eddie Rosario swarmed as he rounded first base and Dansby Swanson touched the plate with the winning run in a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS.
Rosario smacked Kenley Jansen’s first pitch off shortstop Corey Seager’s glove, sending the series to Los Angeles with the Braves ahead 2-0. The Braves also won the first two games of the NLCS last year against the Dodgers before losing in Game 7.
Travis d’Aranud started the winning rally with a broken-bat single against Brusdar Graterol. After Swanson’s sacrifice bunt attempt produced an out at second base, Guillermo Heredia was retired. Jansen entered, and Rosario’s fourth hit of the night ended it.
Austin Riley smashed an RBI double in the eighth against Julio Urias that tied it 4-4 after the Braves had chipped away at the Dodgers’ lead moments earlier — with a daring send by third-base coach Ron Washington, who waved home Rosario from second on Ozzie Albies’ single. Rosario’s left hand touched the plate just ahead of Will Smith’s tag. Riley, who delivered a walk-off RBI single in Game 1, followed with his latest big hit.
Chris Taylor’s two-run double in the seventh snapped a 2-2 tie, giving the Dodgers a lead they relinquished in the following inning. With the bases loaded, Taylor hit a bloop to center on which Heredia attempted a shoestring catch, and the ball bounced behind him, ensuring the second run.
Betts walked leading off the inning and stole second — the Dodgers’ third stolen base of the game — and Will Smith was intentionally walked by Tyler Matzek with two outs. Luke Jackson plunked pinch-hitter Justin Turner to load the bases before Taylor delivered the go-ahead hit.
Joc Pederson launched a hanging curveball for a 454-foot homer in the fourth that tied it 2-2 and brought life to a previously muted sellout crowd that had watched the Braves fall behind at the start. Pederson’s homer was his third this postseason and just the second all year surrendered by Max Scherzer on a curveball. The rally started with a walk to Riley, before Pederson unloaded.
Scherzer was removed after 4 ¹/₃ innings and two earned runs allowed on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. The ace right-hander had been pushed back a day after working a scoreless ninth for the save in Game 5 of the NLDS on Thursday in San Francisco. Alex Vesia entered and surrendered a single to Eddie Rosario before striking out Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies in succession to end the inning.
Seager’s two-run homer just two batters into the game had put the Braves in a 2-0 hole. Ian Anderson allowed a leadoff single to Mookie Betts and Seager jumped on a first-pitch slider for his 12th career postseason homer.
But the Dodgers missed an opportunity to inflict further damage in the inning. Will Smith and Taylor each walked, but Cody Bellinger — the seventh batter of the inning — was retired for the final out.
Anderson was removed after only three innings in which he allowed two earned runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The right-hander entered with a 0.76 ERA in five career postseason starts.