Dodgers vs. Braves score: Atlanta hangs on for 2-0 NLCS lead as L.A.'s ninth-inning rally falls short

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The Braves survived a furious ninth-inning comeback attempt by the Dodgers to eke out an 8-7 win in Game 2 of the NLCS (box score) and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Dodgers, held quiet in the first 15 innings of the series, scored three in the seventh on a Corey Seager home run and then four times in the ninth and had the tying run at third base when Mark Melancon got A.J. Pollock to ground out sharply to third base to end it. As a result, the Dodgers wound up 90 feet short of what would've been the largest comeback in LCS history. 

For Atlanta, 22-year-old rookie starter Ian Anderson limited the Dodgers to one hit in four scoreless innings of work. He also walked five batters over that span, but the Dodgers weren't able to capitalize early.

The Braves struck first, as they've done in every game of the 2020 postseason thus far, when Freddie Freeman homered for the second time in as many games, this time in the fourth inning off L.A. starter Tony Gonsolin, who was filling in for the Clayton Kershaw (back spasms). The next inning -- a 33-minute half-inning -- the Braves grew their lead to 6-0 thanks to RBI knocks from rookie Cristian Pache and Freeman, a bases-loaded walk worked by Travis d'Arnaud, and an Ozzie Albies sac fly that almost got over Cody Bellinger's outstretched glove for extra bases. A two-out, two-run double by Dansby Swanson in the seventh made it 7-0 and an Albies homer in the ninth gave Atlanta its eighth run. The Braves needed all of them.

Now for some things to know about Game 2.

The Dodgers had their chances early

The Dodgers made Game 2 more than interesting in the ninth, and in light of that their struggles to convert opportunities early in the game stand out. Prior to Seager's homer in the seventh, they were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position in Game 5. 

In the first, a two-out walk by Max Muncy amounted to nothing thanks to sparkling Austin Riley-to-Freddie Freeman snare and putout. In the third, the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs, but Will Smith grounded into a force out to end the frame. In the fourth, another two-out walk led to another stranded runner. In the fifth, a Seager walk with one out was followed by a Justin Turner double-play ball. In the sixth, the Dodgers failed to take advantage of a one-out single. Then in the eighth, a two-out single amounted to nothing. 

Given the hair-thin final margin, those missed chances found all over the box score will surely haunt the Dodgers if the Braves wind up winning this series. 

Atlanta is still undefeated this postseason

The Braves came into the 2020 postseason having not advanced past the opening round -- be it the NLDS or the Wild Card Game -- in their last nine trips to the playoffs. Over that span, they went 12-25 in playoff games. This time around, though, they've flipped that script in a big way. The win over the Dodgers in game pushes the Braves to 7-0 this postseason.

Anyhow, looking ahead, the 2005 White Sox came the closest to running the table in the era of the expanded postseason, as they went 11-1 en route to winning the World Series. They suffered their only loss of that postseason in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Angels. 

The Braves are in charge

Up 2-0 in this best-of-seven series, the Braves are tasked with winning two more games before the Dodgers win four. Teams in Atlanta's position -- i.e., up 2-0 in a best-of-seven and having opened as the road team -- go on to win the series in question a robust 89.3 percent of the time. As for Wednesday's Game 3, that same history suggests the Braves have a 60.7 percent chance of winning it. In other words, the Braves are now heavy favorites to win the pennant for the first time since 1999. 

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it's 2-0 Braves. What a weird game

October 14, 2020, 2:19 AM
@Dodgers via Twitter
October 14, 2020, 2:18 AM

the Albies error on a routine Will Smith grounder could be huge

October 14, 2020, 2:17 AM

Bellinger triples in a run and it's 8-7 with a very fast runner on third

October 14, 2020, 2:16 AM

oh man ...

October 14, 2020, 2:16 AM

Muncy HR and it's now 8-6 with two outs in the ninth

October 14, 2020, 2:10 AM

OK, so it's not over yet

October 14, 2020, 2:10 AM

on the whole, this is pretty shocking. The Braves are great, but the Dodgers went 43-17. Then 5-0 before this series. Now it's 2-0 and Dodgers' rotation is a total question mark regarding Kershaw

October 14, 2020, 2:09 AM

what are the odds? Albies homers to bullpen, Melancon catches it while warming up two straight games ... in the ninth!

October 14, 2020, 1:49 AM

the Albies to Melancon HR connection again!

October 14, 2020, 1:48 AM
@Dodgers via Twitter
October 14, 2020, 1:24 AM

Corey Seager three-run shot and the Dodgers have some life

October 14, 2020, 1:19 AM

Mookie strikes out and O'Day is done

October 14, 2020, 1:15 AM

Dodgers have struggled badly with runners on this series. Here's a chance to flip that script.

October 14, 2020, 1:14 AM

oh cool, Smoltz is talking about how hitting and pitching is contagious. Definitely true and easily proven!

October 14, 2020, 1:09 AM

Alex Wood gets out of it, but Braves tack on again

October 14, 2020, 1:02 AM

Swanson ground-rule double and it's 7-0 with runners on second and third. IBB loads the bases for Markakis

October 14, 2020, 12:59 AM

Dodgers offense just looks broken. It's only been 1 2/3 games, but they could be going home after four

October 14, 2020, 12:44 AM
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