The Dodgers defeated the Braves 8-3 in the series opener, and if you just looked at the score, you’d never guess the Dodgers were losing for most of the game.
It was the seventh inning and the Dodgers grounded into their third double play of the game. Things weren’t necessarily looking up, but of course this team always finds a way to flip the script.
They couldn’t get much going against Mike Soroka, who is a Rookie of the Year and Cy Young candidate. But with two outs in the 7th, he gave up his seventh hit of the night to A.J. Pollock. This signaled the end of his night, but it marked the beginning of the Dodgers offense.
The Braves brought in pitcher Sean Newcomb to quickly get the last out of the inning, but this task took him longer than expected. He gave up a walk to Kyle Garlick to put runners at first and second, setting up Max Muncy’s go-ahead 3-run home run. To make things even better, Justin Turner came up and hit a home run on the very next pitch.
It’s a good thing Kenta Maeda was able to limit the Braves to three runs in his start. All three runs came in the 28-pitch second inning. Maeda allowed three walks and three hits to score the three runs, which gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead over LA. He settled in after this rough inning, only giving up two hits and one walk through the rest of his outing. The Japan native also had a 7-straight strikeout streak to help him cruise by.
Maeda’s night ended in the fifth inning after he allowed two batters to reach base. Adam Kolarek (unlike Newcomb) got out of the jam in three pitches.
This was in part by Joc Pederson, who made an incredible put out from shallow right field to get the runner out before he reached first base.
GOT 'EM. pic.twitter.com/ydIahuufzl— MLB (@MLB) August 17, 2019
The Dodgers bullpen had a much better day than Thursday. Kolarek went on to pitch 1 1⁄3 scoreless frames and then Julio Urías came out to finish off the job. The 23-year-old teenager recorded his third 3-inning save of the season. Urías only allowed one hit and one walk in his 15th scoreless appearance of the year.
Cody Bellinger had an eventful night, hitting his 41st home run of the year, putting him alone at the top of the MLB home run list and contributing to the MVP campaign.
Different ballpark, same result. pic.twitter.com/QOXCm0lUMg— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 16, 2019
The home runs didn’t stop there, though! Will Smith hit his 10th dinger of the year to give the Dodgers some insurance runs in the eighth inning.
Will Smith of the @Dodgers hit his 10th home run in his 25th career game tonight.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 17, 2019
He is the first Dodgers player and the second MLB catcher in the live-ball era to hit 10+ HR through 25 career games (also NYY's Gary Sanchez).#LABleedsBlue
Smith’s homer marked the team’s 22nd home run in their last five games, setting a new MLB record for most home runs in that time span. What an achievement!
WP: Adam Kolarek (5-3), 1 1⁄3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
LP: Sean Newcomb (5-3), 1⁄3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 HR
SV: Julio Urias (4), 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Home runs: Cody Bellinger (41), Max Muncy (30), Justin Turner (22), Will Smith (10)
The Dodgers look to take the series win on Saturday night with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 4:20 p.m. PT.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated the Dodgers hit 22 total home runs this year. That is so false.