The Dodgers certainly had a lot of chances to secure their first series sweep in Atlanta in 35 years, on a night they out-hit the Braves 12-5. But enough missed opportunities cost them in a 4-3 walk-off loss to conclude the series at Truist Park in Atlanta.
A frustrating night of good process for the Dodgers' lineup
Through the first three innings, in every single one, the offense managed to get multiple base runners aboard against Bryce Elder, and without fail, he always got out of it.
Well-timed strikeouts, and some slick glove work from the Braves' infield defense, kept the Dodgers off the board until Mookie Betts took matters into his own hands, with a solo shot in the fifth inning. By the time Elder finished his night with six strong innings, the Dodgers had wasted seven base runners and trailed 3-1.
The flip side, however, was that throughout this evening, the offense was putting up good at-bats, and through perseverance, it managed to get back into this one.
Nick Anderson came in for the eighth inning, and Will Smith led it off with a single, after Max Muncy struck out, J.D. Martinez set the table up, with a double down the left-field line, and all of a sudden, the Dodgers had two runners in scoring position, and only one out.
Jason Heyward grounded out to cut the lead in half, and then Miguel Vargas came up with two outs, and after fouling off four straight pitches, Vargas dumped one into left to tie the game at 3-3.
Two mistakes adding up to 900 feet, for Gonsolin
Tony Gonsolin was in cruise control for the better part of this series finale against Atlanta, getting the side in order for each of his first three innings, with a perfect first time through the lineup.
Nevertheless, as it is often the case against potent offenses, it doesn’t take a lot for damage to be done, which began in the fourth.
Way back in the first inning, Gonsolin managed to punch out Matt Olson with a hard slider, down and in. For as powerful as Olson is, the Braves first baseman is susceptible to the strikeout, leading the league with 69 heading into today’s matchup.
Three innings later, Gonsolin attempted to do the same on a two-strike count, but this time, the slider leaked out over the inside of the plate, and Olson took it 456 feet down the right-field line, for the second-longest homer of his career.
An inning later, after surrendering what was, at the time, his second base runner of the game, with a walk to Ozzie Albies, Gonsolin hung another slider, which Marcell Ozuna promptly took it 452 feet to give the Braves a 3-1 lead, in the middle innings.
With an assist from Shelby Miller, who got Eddie Rosario to close out the sixth with a runner in scoring position, Gonsolin went a solid five and two-thirds, with all the damage being done on those two long balls.
Usage of high-leverage arms in the first two games comes back around in this one
Dave Roberts was very aggressive in the first two games of this series, in using his top arms in unconventional spots, and with both Brusdar Graterol and Evan Phillips likely unavailable, despite the off-day tomorrow, the Dodgers' skipper turned to Phil Bickford for the ninth inning of a tied game.
Austin Riley led off the frame with a ringing double, and following a ground out that moved him to third, and an intentional walk to Rosario, Albies spoiled enough breaking balls to get one he could drive to right field, and end the game on a sac-fly.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (11); Matt Olson (14), Marcell Ozuna (9)
WP — Raisel Iglesias (1-1): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP — Phil Bickford (1-2): ⅔ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk
The Dodgers are off Thursday before starting a series against the MLB-best Rays. Noah Syndergaard starts for Los Angeles on Friday (3:40 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA).