The Los Angeles Dodgers were unable to hold a two-run, eighth-inning lead Sunday evening, losing to the Atlanta Braves, 5-4, to trail the National League Championship Series two games to none.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers have won 17 of their last 18 games.
Kenley Jansen relieved Brusdar Graterol with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and runners on first and second base.
Eddie Rosario grounded Jansen’s first pitch up the middle for his fourth hit. The ball went under the glove of Dodger shortstop Corey Seager, who was playing just to the right of second base, and into center field, allowing Dansby Swanson to score the winning run from second.
Graterol entered the game at the beginning of Atlanta’s half of the ninth and allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Travis d’Arnaud. The next batter, Swanson, bunted into a force out. Swanson moved to second on Guillermo Heredia’s ground out.
The Braves scored twice in the eighth off Julio Urías, tying the score, 4-4. Urías allowed a single to Rosario, the first batter he faced. Rosario advanced to second on Freddie Freeman’s fly out, and scored on Ozzie Albies’ single. Austin Riley doubled in Albies.
The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead in the seventh on Chris Taylor’s tie-breaking two-out, two-run double.
Taylor hit a fly ball that dropped just in front of Heredia, Atlanta’s center fielder, and rolled behind him, allowing Mookie Betts and Will Smith to score.
Heredia entered the game two batters earlier as part of a double switch that brought right-hander Luke Jackson into pitch.
Jackson hit the first batter he faced, pinch-hitter Justin Turner, to load the bases.
Both Betts and Smith reached base on walks, Smith on an intentional walk.
The Dodgers were held to one hit — Smith’s third-inning single — in the 6 2/3 innings between a two-run homer by Seager in the first inning and Taylor’s seventh-inning double.
The Dodgers were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base in front of a crowd at Truist Park announced at 41,873. The Braves were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base.
Dodger leadoff batters reached base five times — four times on walks — with Betts scoring in the first and seventh.
The Dodgers were out-hit 10-4. The final five spots in their lineup were 1-for-17, with Taylor getting the only hit.
Graterol, the sixth of seven Dodger pitchers, was charged with the loss, allowing one run and one hit in two-thirds of an inning. Will Smith, the last of eight Atlanta pitchers, was credited with the victory, retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth, striking out the final two.
Smith is not related to the Dodgers’ catcher.
Braves’ pitchers walked nine batters and struck out 10. Dodger pitchers struck out 12 and walked two.
Atlanta tied the score in the fourth on a two-run homer by Joc Pederson, who played for the Dodgers from 2014-20.
Max Scherzer was lifted after pitching 4 1/3 innings, matching his second-shortest stint among his 14 starts as a Dodger. Scherzer allowed two runs and four hits, struck out seven and walked one.
The Dodgers had planned to start Scherzer in Game 1 Saturday, but was scratched because he “was a little kind of arm-tired” after pitching the ninth inning of Game 5 of their National League Division Series on Thursday, and “the best opportunity to have success in a start” for Scherzer would mean starting him in Game 2, manager Dave Roberts said.
The loss was the Dodgers’ second straight when Scherzer was starting after winning each of his first 12. The other was Monday, 1-0, to the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of their National League Division Series, with Scherzer allowing one run and three hits in seven innings, striking out 10 and walking one.
Turner, the Dodgers’ third baseman since 2015, had his streak of 77 consecutive postseason starts ended when he was scratched after failing to recover enough from a neck stinger suffered during batting practice prior to Game 1, Roberts said.
The Braves also won Game 1 Saturday on a tie-breaking ninth-inning hit, a single by Riley.