The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 13-6 in Game 3 of their NL Division Series matchup, taking a 2-1 lead in the series.
This was a strange game. Neither starting pitcher got more than nine outs, and that seems like it would be a situation that favored the Braves and their strong bullpen. Yet, it was the Los Angeles bullpen that thrived (until the ninth), allowing just four hits over six innings in relief of an ineffective Hyun-Jin Ryu, who allowed four runs on six hits in his three innings of work.
Rookie Julio Teheran got the start for the Braves, and didn't pitch well, allowing six runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings, though he did strike out five and walk just one. Teheran actually took the mound in the bottom of the first inning with a 2-0 lead thanks to RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson in the top of the first inning. But that lead vanished in the bottom of the second when Teheran got into trouble, allowing back to back singles to Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe to lead off the inning. After striking out Skip Schumaker, Teheran walked AJ Ellis and allowed a sac fly to Ryu, making it a 2-1 game. Carl Crawford then followed with a three-run homer over the right field wall to make it a 4-2 game.
Initially, Atlanta was able to fight back. In the top of the third, the team hit three straight singles to lead the inning off before Brian McCann hit into a fielder's choice, allowing a run to score to make it 4-3. Johnson then hit a dribbler down the first base line that scored another run after Ryu's ill-advised throw home was late. But the Braves couldn't give Teheran the lead back that inning, and he promptly allowed a leadoff double to Hanley Ramirez in the third. Ramirez scored on an Adrian Gonzalez single to make it 5-4, and Gonzalez scored on a Skip Schumaker single to make it 6-4. Teheran's night was over after he allowed a single to AJ Ellis, and Alex Wood replaced him, getting out of the third with no further damage.
The game turned ugly in the bottom of the fourth when Crawford led off the inning by reaching on an error by Wood. Mark Ellis struck out, but Ramirez struck again, tripling in Crawford to make it 7-4. After striking out Gonzalez, Wood allowed an RBI single to Puig to make it 8-4, and then gave up the cherry on top – a two-run homer to Uribe to put the Dodgers in front 10-4 and push the game out of reach. The Dodgers' hit parade slowed in the middle innings, but picked back up in the eighth as they scored three more runs, all of which were charged to Jordan Walden.
It was really just an ugly performance all-around by the Braves, even if those four runs charged to Wood were all unearned (based off of his error, but I digress). Until Jason Heyward's two-run homer in the ninth, the team had just one extra base hit – a first inning double by Justin Upton. Atlanta also didn't put a runner in scoring position from innings five through eight, tallying just one hit against the Los Angeles bullpen until beating up Paco Rodriguez a bit in the ninth. When your offense completely shuts down and the pitching is doing you no favors, it's tough to win a game, even with four runs in the first three innings.
Game 4 will be on Monday night in Los Angeles on TBS. First pitch is scheduled for 9:37 PM, and Freddy Garcia looks to extend the Braves' season by one more game. He'll be opposed by Ricky Nolasco, making his first Postseason start after spending his entire major league career in the baseball doldrums known as Miami prior to the Dodgers acquiring him in July.