The Braves survive scary ninth inning for second straight win
One of the biggest stories of this postseason has been the performance of Atlanta’s young pitching. All season long their rotation behind Max Fried has been shaky at best, but they haven’t had to dip too deep into that depth so far in this postseason and the pitchers they have used this month have been October. On Tuesday, it was Ian Anderson, with the rookie making his third start of the postseason. Once again, he got the job done. Facing by far the best lineup he’s faced in this postseason, and probably the best he’s ever faced, the rookie worked around some control issues with five walks to get through four scoreless innings.
The offense, meanwhile, struggled to get going against the Dodgers Tony Gonsolin — who was starting because Clayton Kershaw was scratched with back spasms — but finally turned it on in the fourth when Freddie Freeman smashed a two-run shot to break a scoreless tie. It was his second homer in as many days. Atlanta added four more in the fifth, and it appeared the rout was on.
The Braves were leading 7-0 as we entered the bottom of the seventh, and with one of the best bullpens in the game there was little reason for Atlanta fans to worry. Or so we thought. The Dodgers finally turned their offense on in the seventh with Corey Seager putting three on the board with a home run. Then, in the ninth, Seager brought another run home with a double before Max Muncy hit a two-run shot of his own. After Will Smith reached on an error by Ozzie Albies before coming home on a Cody Bellinger triple, the Dodgers suddenly had the tying run at third base with two outs for A.J. Pollock. Braves closer Mark Melancon finally got that last out on a grounder to third, though, to end the game. It got dicey there at the end, but it was ultimately a Braves win to give them a 2-0 series lead in the NLCS.
The series will continue Wednesday at 6:05 PM ET. Kyle Wright takes the mound for Atlanta while Julia Urías gets the nod for L.A.
Rays one win away
The Astros came into this ALCS red hot, putting their extremely mediocre regular season behind them to easily make their way into the ALCS. Unfortunately for them, the Rays just appear to be significantly better. The first two games weren’t exactly blowouts, to be fair, with the Astros starting pitching keeping both games close. However, with Tampa’s pitching and defense, they are going to win those kinds of games much more often than not. That was the case here on Tuesday as well.
It was Houston getting on the board first in this one, with José Altuve starting things off with a solo homer in the bottom of the first. Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough didn’t let that get to him, though, and he made his way solidly through the rest of his start. The Astros didn’t add any more to their total through five innings. The Rays offense, though, also was struggling as Houston starter José Urquidy made it through five scoreless himself.
In the sixth, the tide turned quickly. After the red-hot Randy Arozarena started the inning with a base hit, Brandon Lowe hit what should’ve been a double play ball. Instead, Altuve’s throwing issues continued with another error. Instead of the bases empty with two outs, there were two on with nobody out. Tampa took advantage. They’d end up putting five on the board, and took all of the momentum on their side. Houston did add one more in the bottom of the inning, and they got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but they couldn’t complete the comeback. The 5-2 win gave Tampa the 3-0 series lead in the ALCS.
The Rays will go for the sweep Wednesday night at 8:40 PM ET. Tyler Glasnow goes for Tampa while Zack Greinke gets the start for Houston.