ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies homered again, rookie Ian Anderson extended his postseason scoreless streak in an abbreviated start and the Atlanta Braves just held on for an 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night and a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.
Freeman put the Braves ahead to stay with a two-run homer in the fourth off rookie Tony Gonsolin, who filled in after three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched because of back spasms. Freeman added an RBI single as part of a four-run outburst an inning later.
Albies homered in the ninth for the second night in a row, and for the second time in a row the ball was caught in the bullpen by closer Mark Melancon. That solo shot proved huge for the Braves, who led 7-0 but near squandered the lead as the Dodgers scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth.
“I didn’t feel good with a big lead because these guys are too powerful, and that’s a good ballgame to win. They all are now,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot there at the end. Melancon did a great job coming in.”
Melancon took over with two outs after Corey Seager’s RBI double and Max Muncy’s two-run homer. Albies made a fielding error on Will Smith’s grounder to second, and reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger hit an RBI triple. AJ Pollock then had a groundout to end a 4-hour, 12-minute game.
Atlanta became just the fourth team in major league history to begin a postseason 7-0. The Braves have outscored opponents 37-12.
Game 3 is Wednesday night, with 24-year-old playoff veteran Julio Urías pitching for the Dodgers against Kyle Wright, another rookie right-hander for the Braves. There have been 14 teams take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NLCS, and all have gone on to win the pennant.