Braves one win away from NLCS
All season long the Braves have been carried along by their lineup, which has helped mask major issues on the pitching staff, and specifically with the rotation. Those roles were flipped for Game Two of their series against the Marlins, though. Rookie Ian Anderson got the start for this one, and he was great. The young righty didn’t allow a run over 5 2⁄3 innings while setting down eight Marlins. The bullpen took over from there and continued to do the job, with Darren O’Day, Tyler Matzek, Will Smith and Mark Melancon combining for 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings to complete a shutout of Miami. The Braves offense, meanwhile, didn’t do all that much against Pablo López and the rest of the Marlins pitching, but two of their four hits were solo homers and that was all they needed. The 2-0 win put them up 2-0 in the series, and they can punch their ticket to the NLCS with a victory on Thursday. Game Three starts at 2:08 PM ET on MLB Network.
The Athletics stay alive
Oakland came into their Game Three against the Astros on Wednesday with their backs against the wall, trailing in the series zero games to two. They got the job done and were able to stay alive for another day. The offense was the story for both sides in this one, with runs coming for both sides throughout the games. The Athletics scored in four of the first five innings, giving themselves a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the fifth. The Astros poured it on here, though, taking a three-run lead by the time the dust settled there. It was still 7-4 when Chad Pinder came up and went the other way for a huge three-run shot and tied the game. Oakland would add two more in the eighth to give them a 9-7 advantage. That left things up to their ace reliever Liam Hendriks, who did it all on his own. The righty covered the last three innings without allowing a run for an old-school save to keep Oakland’s season going. They’ll try to force a decisive Game Four at 3:35 PM ET on TBS.
Rays take pivotal Game Three
The only series of the four Divisions Series that saw each team win a game over the first two was between the Rays and Yankees, forcing a big Game Three with the series tied 1-1. It was the Rays getting on the board first, but the Yankees answered back in the third and it was a low-scoring, 1-0 affair heading into the fourth. This is when the Rays turned it on and started to run away with things. They got a three-run shot from Kevin Kiermaier in the fourth, a solo shot from the red-hot Randy Arozarena in the fifth, and three more runs including a two-run homer from Michael Pérez in the sixth. Just like that, it was an 8-2 ballgame. New York did cut their deficit down to four, but they didn’t get any closer. The 8-4 victory puts Tampa Bay one victory away from the ALCS. Game Four will be Thursday night at 7:10 PM ET on TBS.
Dodgers win a thriller
The best game of the day came in the late slot as the Dodgers and Padres gave us all what we were expecting in this series. Los Angeles did put themselves a win away from the NLCS, which, again, is not unexpected, but it wasn’t always easy. They held a 4-1 lead heading into the sixth, with Clayton Kershaw having another great game. The big bats came alive for San Diego here, though, with Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer going back-to-back to bring their team back to within one. Then, in the seventh, it was still a one-run game and Fernando Tatís Jr. came to the plate with a runner on and two outs. The rookie phenom got ahold of one and sent it to straightaway center field, but Cody Bellinger was all over it and made a huge grab at the wall, robbing the homer and preserving the Dodgers lead.
L.A. pitcher Brusdar Graterol, who you may remember from the original Mookie Betts trade debacle, was on the mound and was rightfully pumped about his teammate saving him. He celebrated jubilantly, causing some jawing back and forth. It was very fun. Anyway, L.A. answered back with two more runs in the seventh to make it a three-run game again, but the Padres came back alive in the ninth. They loaded the bases for Hosmer with two outs and Joe Kelly was in to try and finish things off, and he wriggled out of the jam with a ground ball to end the game. The 6-5 win put the Dodgers up 2-0 in the series.