The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided postseason elimination Friday evening with a 7-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves, scoring seven consecutive runs in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
After allowing runs in the first and second innings, the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead on Will Smith’s three-run homer with two outs in the sixth off his namesake reliever Will Smith.
The Dodgers added three runs in the seventh on Corey Seager’s home run. He hit a solo homer in the fourth for the Dodgers first run.
The victory reduces the Braves lead in the best-of-seven series to three games to two. Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday. Game 7, if necessary, would be played Sunday.
Atlanta appeared to take a 3-0 lead in the third when Marcell Ozuna slid into home after right fielder Mookie Betts caught Dansby Swanson’s sinking fly ball just before it hit the ground.
However, the video replay indicated Ozuna left third before the catch and was ruled out to end the inning.
Blake Treinen, the third of seven Dodger pitchers, was credited with the victory, pitching two hitless innings, with one strike out.
The six Dodger relievers combined to limit the Braves to one run and four hits over the final seven innings.
Smith, the fourth of six Atlanta pitchers, was charged with the loss, allowing two runs and one hit with one walk in one-third of an inning.
The Braves opened the scoring in the first. Freddie Freeman, a 2007 graduate of El Modena High School in Orange, doubled with one out, moved to third on Smith’s passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Travis d’Arnuad.
Atlanta increased its lead to 2-0 in the second.
Rookie right-hander Dustin May walked Swanson, the leadoff hitter, on a full count. Swanson moved to third one out later on Nick Markakis’ single and scored one batter later when Cristian Pache, the No. 9 hitter in the Braves lineup, singled.
Atlanta scored its other run in the eighth. Freeman led off with a double, moved to third on Ozuna’s fly out and scored on d’Arnuad’s ground out.
May, the Dodgers starter, allowed two runs (one unearned) and three hits in two innings, struck out three and walked two. The runs were the first he allowed in the 2020 postseason after pitching 4 2/3 shutout innings entering Friday’s game.
Left-hander A.J. Minter started for the Braves, pitching three shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out seven in his first professional start after 216 regular-season appearances in the major and minor leagues, all in relief.
Minter was the first pitcher in major league history to make his first career start in the postseason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
History is against the Dodgers completing their comeback attempt and advancing to the World Series for the third time in four seasons.
Of the 87 MLB teams that trailed a best-of-seven series three games to one through the 2019 World Series, 13 have rallied to win, most recently the Chicago Cubs over the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series.
This is the 10th time the Dodgers have trailed a postseason series three games to one. They have never overcome that deficit.
The series is being played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The final three rounds of baseball’s postseason are being played at neutral sites in an attempt to reduce the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.
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