The Los Angeles Dodgers took two separate leads but continued struggles on offense kept pressure on their pitching staff and it ended in a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
Max Scherzer was pushed back a day from his scheduled start to be in better position to go deep into the game, but that didn’t wind up becoming the case.
Corey Seager staked Scherzer a 2-0 lead that held until Joc Pederson tied it in the fourth inning with his blast to right field. It was Pederson’s second career postseason home run off Scherzer, as he previously did so for the Dodgers in the 2016 NL Division Series.
Since 2016, only Kiké Hernandez and Justin Turner (13 each) have more postseason home runs than Pederson’s 12.
After striking out Orlando Arcia in the bottom of the fifth, Scherzer gave way to Alex Vesia with a runner on first base. The right-hander was only at 79 pitches, but his fastball velocity in the fifth inning dropped from what he had been averaging.
Vesia picked up Scherzer by striking out Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies to keep the game tied. Freeman to that point dropped to 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts in the NLCS.
L.A. had a golden opportunity to pull back ahead when Chris Taylor drew a leadoff walk in the sixth inning and immediately stole second base. Cody Bellinger’s fly ball advanced Taylor to third base, where he was stranded by AJ Pollock and pinch-hitter Albert Pujols.
Unable to be in the lineup because of a neck stinger suffered prior to Game 1, Turner made his first postseason pinch-hit appearance since 2014. It resulted in a hit by pitch that loaded the bases and led to Taylor driving in two on a blooper of a double to center field that Guillermo Heredia overran.
However, the Dodgers were unable to protect their lead as a bold decision to bring in Julio Urias for a run of left-handed batters in the bottom of the eighth inning backfired. Eddie Rosario led off with a single and took second base on an aggressive tag attempt that was successful in large part to AJ Pollock’s off-target throw.
Rosario then scored when Albies hit a single into right field and Steven Souza Jr. lacked enough zip on his throw to home plate. The missed opportunities to cut off the Braves’ rally fully imploded on Austin Riley’s game-tying RBI double.
Atlanta completed their comeback in the ninth inning when Kenley Jansen inherited a runner from Brusdar Graterol and saw his first pitch hit for a one-hopper that got under Seager’s glove for a walk-off RBI single.
Dodgers failing with RISP
One night after going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leaving seven on base, the Dodgers followed that up with a 1-for-10 effort and stranding 10 in Game 2.
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