With midseason acquisitions Manny Machado, Ryan Madson and David Freese putting their fingerprints on Game 4 of the National League Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated the Atlanta Braves with a 6-2 win.
Mike Foltynewicz starting on short rest and Rich Hill taking the mound for the first time in eight days led to neither being particularly sharp. Coupled with the curious strike zone of home-plate umpire Tom Hallion, it made for a slew of interesting at-bats throughout the day.
Hill’s most costly free passes came when he started the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back walks. A sacrifice bunt advanced both runners, though they were nearly stranded as Charlie Culberson then grounded out to third base.
Rather than bat Foltynewicz, Braves manager Brian Snitker sent pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki to the plate, and the veteran catcher delivered a go-ahead two-run single.
Hill’s fifth walk of the game put two on with one out in the bottom of the fifth. He nearly atoned for it by inducing Johan Camargo into a grounder that was a potential inning-ending double play, only for Manny Machado to boot it.
The error loaded the bases and marked the end of Hill’s day. Madson came on and got the Dodgers out of the jam, which proved vital.
They took the lead the next inning on Freese’s two-out pinch-hit single that scored Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig. That Freese’s base hit was of the two-run variety came thanks to Puig stealing second base after his blooper fell in shallow right field because of miscommunication.
Up to that point Los Angeles had gone largely quiet and squandered multiple opportunities. Max Muncy’s two-out walk in the first inning was cashed in as Manny Machado drove him in with a double down the third-base line for an early lead.
Hits with runners in scoring position were nonexistent after that. Bellinger and Puig were left on base in the second inning when Joc Pederson struck out. A Bellinger walk and stolen base in the fourth inning the back fired in some regard as the Braves promptly intentionally walked Puig to get to Hill, who battled but struck out.
While it did turn the lineup over, Justin Turner’s walk in the fifth was wiped away on a force out and ground out. The sting from stranding runners during the middle innings was erased when Machado clubbed a three-run home run in the seventh to break the game open.
Machado finished with a game-high four RBI and six in the series. With their win, the Dodgers advanced to a third consecutive NL Championship Series.
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