NLCS Recap: Braves Ambush Dodgers Late For Game 1 Win

Game 1 of the National League Championship Series lived up to its billing as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves essentially played one another even. The game swiftly turned in the ninth inning as the Braves hit two home runs for a 5-1 win.

It was a bit of feast or famine for Walker Buehler, who walked a career-high (regular season and postseason) five batters over five-plus innings. However, Buehler limited the Braves to just one run, largely behind collecting seven strikeouts.

Buehler was hurt by missing his location with a fastball to Freddie Freeman in the first inning, which was lined out to right field for a solo home run. The Braves threatened with back-to-back one-out walks in the fourth inning, but Buehler retired the next two batters faced.

He worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning and despite the overall shaky outing, was sent back out to the sixth. Buehler didn’t last much longer as Travis d’Arnaud and Ozzie Albies started the inning with consecutive singles. Brusdar Graterol picked up three outs on six pitches to keep the game tied.

The Dodgers’ patient approach against Max Fried didn’t produce any early runs but he needed 45 pitches to get through two innings. Fried then settled in as he needed just 24 pitches over the next two innings and included in that was retiring seven in a row.

The Dodgers finally broke through on Kiké Hernandez’s leadoff home run in the fifth inning. But like Buehler, the one run was all Fried allowed as he got through six innings and finished with nine strikeouts.

The game remained knotted as the bullpens battled it out. Victor Gonzalez had arguably one of the biggest moments, striking out Charlie Culberson to strand the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

Austin Riley greeted Blake Treinen with a leadoff home run in the ninth inning, capitalizing on a mistake pitch that stayed up. Ronald Acuña Jr. then doubled and later scored on a single before Treinen was removed. The pitching change didn’t pay off, as Jake McGee surrendered a two-run homer to Albies.

Atlanta improved to 6-0 this postseason while the Dodgers suffered their first loss.

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