Los Angeles Dodgers force NLCS Game 7 with 3-1 win over Atlanta Braves

 boston.com  10/18/2020 00:28:30 

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)  Corey Seager homered again, Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers pushed the NL Championship Series to Game 7 with a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

The Dodgers avoided elimination for the second time in less than 24 hours, and now have a winner-take-all game to try to get to their third World Series in four years. They havent won a championship since 1988.

Max Fried took his first loss all year for the Braves, who were trying to celebrate manager Brian Snitkers 65th birthday with the franchises first World Series since 1999. But the young left-hander worked into the seventh without allowing another run after LAs three-run first.

Game 7 is Sunday night, with right-hander Tony Gonsolin expected to go for the Dodgers against 22-year-old rookie right-hander Ian Anderson, who has thrown 15 2/3 scoreless innings in his three postseason starts.

Justin Turner also homered for the NL West champions, and Kenley Jansen threw a six-pitch ninth for his 18th career postseason save.

It was Jansens first save chance in five appearances since closing out the Dodgers first playoff win this season in the wild-card round. He struck out the side on 12 pitches in Friday nights 7-3 win.

Fried allowed only two homers in his 11 starts while going 7-0 during the regular season, but the Dodgers went deep twice in three pitches.

Seager pulled a towering shot to right on a 73-mph curveball, and Turner connected on a 93-mph sinker that went 418 feet to straightaway center. Max Muncy walked and scored after back-to-back singles by Will Smith and Cody Bellinger.

Seager, who homered twice in Game 4 on Friday night, has NLCS records with five homers and 11 RBIs, and still a game to play. His six homers overall are already a Dodgers postseason record.

The last batter Fried faced Saturday was Muncy, who struck out for the second out of the seventh. Fried allowed eight hits while striking out five and walking four.

Mookie Betts, the 2018 AL MVP and first-year Dodger, made a leaping catch against the right field wall to end the fifth. While it wouldnt have been a homer, it robbed Marcell Ozuna of extra bases, and the Braves a likely run.

MOOKIE BETTS. pic.twitter.com/O4bjbvu1El

 Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 17, 2020

Betts let out a emphatic shout while pumping both fists, then celebrated with center fielder Bellinger while Buehler held his right arm high in the air.

Buehler threw 65 of his 89 pitches for strikes, allowing seven hits while striking out six without a walk. After Atlanta loaded the bases with three singles in a row to start the top of second  the last hit by his Vanderbilt roommate Dansby Swanson  the right-hander really brought the heat, with 10 consecutive fastballs to get out of the jam.

Austin Riley struck out on a 98.7 mph pitch before Nick Markakis took a called third strike on 99.7 mph. Cristian Pache, the 21-year-old rookie who had an RBI in each of his first four NLCS starts, was retired on an inning-ending groundout.

It was a much different result than Buehlers postseason debut two years ago in Game 3 of the NL Division Series, when the Braves also loaded the bases against him in the second inning. After a walk drove in a run, Ronald Acua Jr. hit a grand slam on the next pitch for a 5-0 lead.

With Buehler out of Saturdays game, Nick Markakis greeted Blake Treinen with triple to right leading off off the seventh and came home on a one-out double by Acua.

The Braves had a strange sixth against Buehler, when Ozzie Albies hit a slow chopper down the first base line that was fielded by Muncy, who then made the tag before the ball popped out. Albies thought he was out and never touched first base. Muncy tossed the ball to Buehler, who tagged the runner already heading back to the Atlanta dugout.

Swanson followed with his third single, before a stolen base and throwing error by catcher Austin Barnes sent him to third base. Riley then hit a long, loud foul ball into the upper deck only feet foul in the left-field corner before he struck out.

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