Top News

Braves ride late homers to Game 1 win over Dodgers


EditorsNote: update 2: adds Snitker quote on Duvall as new last graf

Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies hit ninth-inning home runs and the Atlanta Braves opened the National League Championship Series with a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday at Arlington, Texas.

On a night when runs were hard to come by, Riley got into a 1-2 sinker from Dodgers right-hander Blake Treinen to break a 1-1 tie in the ninth with a leadoff shot to left-center. It was the first home run of the postseason for the Braves' No. 9 hitter after he hit eight in the regular season.

Riley told MLB Network postgame that he know the ball was gone when he hit it.

"Those are the ones you don't feel off the barrel," he said. "I hadn't hit one in a while, so it felt really good to finally get one."

The Braves jumped in front 3-1 on a Ronald Acuna double and a Marcell Ozuna RBI single to knock out Treinen (0-1). Two batters later, Albies hit a two-run shot off Dodgers left-hander Jake McGee, his first of the postseason.

The runs came in the top of the ninth with the Dodgers serving as the home team by finishing the regular season with the best record in the National League.

Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said of the decision to call on Treinen in the ninth inning, "I just felt that in a tie ballgame right there, us the home team, I just felt that the (spot) right there was really good for Blake. He's going to have to do it again, but it just didn't work out. But I just trust that he will get those guys out."

In a battle of teams that entered with perfect 5-0 records in the playoffs, the Braves once again leaned on their pitching while getting home runs from Freddie Freeman in the first inning in addition to the late Riley and Albies blasts.

Atlanta left-hander Will Smith (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning to pick up the victory. Braves starter Max Fried gave up one run on four hits over six innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. Atlanta pitching entered with four shutouts in the club's first five postseason games.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Fried, "I got exactly what I expected out of him. The first couple of innings I was concerned he was racking up a lot of pitches. He threw 40-something in the first two and 50-something in the last four. The breaking stuff was really good and he was commanding his fastball, and I thought it was really, really good."

The Dodgers received a home run from Enrique Hernandez while starter Walker Buehler gave up one run on three hits over five-plus innings with five walks and seven strikeouts.

In a ballpark not known for giving up an abundance of home runs, the Braves took a 1-0 lead two batters and five pitches into the game when Freeman took a 97 mph fastball from Buehler over the wall in right-center. It was his first home run of the postseason after he hit 13 in the regular season.

Fried was getting the better of the starting-pitcher matchup against Buehler until Hernandez went deep to left field to tie the score 1-1 in the fifth inning. Hernandez was making his first start of the postseason.

Buehler gave up singles to Travis d'Arnaud and Albies to open the sixth before he was replaced by hard-throwing right-hander Brusdar Graterol, who prevented any further damage. Atlanta also loaded the bases in the eighth but failed to score.

Buehler said of control issues, "It's the playoffs. You're trying to be fine, you're trying to be perfect. That's kind of how the playoffs have affected me. I've always walked more guys and ended up striking out more guys for some reason. But at the end of the day, it's my job to go deeper into games, and that's on me."

Braves left fielder Adam Duvall left the game in the second inning when he injured his left side after hitting a foul ball. He was replaced during the at-bat by Cristian Pache.

"I don't have anything yet on Adam," Snitker said postgame. "I don't expect the outcome to be good. He popped that thing pretty good. ... I hate it for him. Man, the year he's had and the work he puts into it, then to have that happen, I hate it for that man."

--Field Level Media

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories