Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies each hit home runs for the second consecutive day and the Atlanta Braves held on for a 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series at Arlington, Texas.
Rookie right-hander Ian Anderson extended his postseason scoreless streak to 15 2/3 innings, while the Braves jumped in front 6-0 with a four-run fifth inning when they sent nine batters to the plate. Atlanta moved two victories away from their first World Series appearance since 1999.
Game 3 is slated for Wednesday.
After trailing 7-0 in the seventh inning, the Dodgers rallied to within a run in ninth inning on an RBI double from Corey Seager, a two-run home run from Max Muncy and an RBI triple from Cody Bellinger, but A.J. Pollock grounded out to third base against closer Mark Melancon to end it.
The Braves tagged Dodgers replacement starter Tony Gonsolin with five runs in 4 1/3 innings, even though they didn’t get their first hit until Freeman’s two-run home run in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers’ move to Gonsolin came after left-hander Clayton Kershaw was scratched earlier Tuesday with back spasms. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes Kershaw can return later in the series, but the Braves could have things decided by then.
Anderson allowed just one hit and struck out five in four scoreless innings Tuesday, but his outing was cut short after he gave up five walks and threw 85 pitches. Left-hander Tyler Matzek (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the victory.
Rookie outfielder Cristian Pache, who was getting a start after Adam Duvall was removed from the NLCS roster because of an oblique injury, gave the Braves a 3-0 led with a fifth-inning double. After a walk to Ronald Acuna, Gonsolin (0-1) was removed from his first career playoff appearance.
Freeman greeted right-hander Pedro Baez with an RBI single for a 4-0 lead. Two batters later, Travis d’Arnaud walked with the bases loaded to make it 5-0. An Albies sacrifice fly added the fourth run of the inning.
Dansby Swanson made it 7-0 in the seventh inning with an RBI double off Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood.
After scoring one run in Game 1, the Dodgers’ offense was stymied again until Seager hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning, his second of the postseason.
Albies’ home run came in the ninth inning against Dodgers left-hander Adam Kolarek.
Melancon saw Will Smith reach base on an Albies error and gave up Bellinger’s RBI triple, but got Pollock for his second save of the postseason.