By Mark Bowman and Jon Cooper
MLB.com |@mlbbowman |
ATLANTA -- Instead of extending their winning streak to five games and celebrating what would have been the first great catch of Mallex Smith's career, the Braves watched Justin Turner deliver a double that proved decisive for the Dodgers in Wednesday night's 5-3, 10-inning win at Turner Field.
After seeing closer Arodys Vizcaino notch three strikeouts in a scoreless ninth, the Braves watched former closer Jason Grilli put two on before Turner delivered his game-winner, which bounced out of Smith's glove as he dove toward left-center field. Yasmani Grandal's single off Alexi Ogando provided an insurance run for the Dodgers, who prevented the Braves from becoming the first team in Major League history to follow a 0-9 start (or worse) with five consecutive victories.
Dodgers starter Ross Stripling endured the first rough outing of his young career -- allowing three runs (two earned) over 3 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Julio Teheran battled through the lingering effects of the fever that led the Braves to push his start back one day. Teheran exited after throwing just 75 pitches through 5 1/3 innings and immediately saw Adrian Gonzalez greet Eric O'Flaherty with a game-tying, two-run homer in the sixth inning.
"It was a good ballgame," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Julio, after dealing with his sickness, I felt he gave us everything possible that he could give us. We had a chance to win the ballgame, but we didn't score any runs after the fourth inning."
Two-out production: Stripling escaped a 26-pitch first inning unscathed, but he wasn't as fortunate in the third inning. A.J. Pierzynski took advantage of a Corey Seager error by notching a two-out single that gave the Braves an early lead. Atlanta extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth, when Erick Aybar delivered a leadoff double and scored on Daniel Castro's two-out, two-run single.
The Ut-most time to steal:Chase Utley chose a good time for his first stolen base of the season. It came in the 10th inning following his leadoff single. He went on to score what proved to be the winning run. The 37-year-old second baseman stole one base in his first 46 games with the Dodgers. It came against Pittsburgh on Sept. 18. He's now stolen 17 career bases against Atlanta, third most of any opponent.
A-Gon rakes vs. Braves: Adrian Gonzalez continues to wear out Braves pitching. He blasted a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth inning, giving him three hits in the first two games of the series. He's now hit safely in 11 of the last 13 games against the Braves, batting .353 in that span (18-for-51). In 2016, he's batting .429 (15-for-35) on the road.
Determined effort: Gonzalez's home run was one of the three extra-base hits O'Flaherty has surrendered in nine at-bats against left-handed hitters. In addition, it blemished the effort provided by Teheran, who kept the Dodgers scoreless until Nick Markakis' two-base error in the fifth set the stage for Joc Pederson's RBI single. Teheran exceeded 89 mph with just five of his 75 pitches, but he still needed just 45 pitches to limit Los Angeles to two hits through the first four innings.
"If you don't use O'Flaherty there, you're going to use him in the seventh, like we did with [Hunter] Cervenka," Fredi Gonzalez said. "So you've got to pick the spot where you feel you're going to be successful."
"I can live with a young guy's mistake or a young guy's inexperience. We can fix that. That's not a big deal. At this stage of the game, with those mistakes and those errors, you lose ballgames with that kind of stuff." -- Fredi Gonzalez, on Smith, who made his eighth career start on Wednesday
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The Dodgers were 1-for-11 in the first 18 innings of the series with runners in scoring position before Turner's go-ahead double in the 10th. That one hit was the fifth-inning RBI single by Pederson, who came into the game hitting .313 (5-for-16) in RISP at-bats after hitting .192 in such at-bats (20-for-104) in his first two seasons. Turner's now hitting .308 with RISP in 2016 (4-for-13).
REPLAY REVIEW The Braves were fortunate to escape the seventh inning unscathed, when a botched pickoff attempt led to an unsuccessful challenge of second-base umpire Will Little's ruling that Enrique Hernandez reached second base ahead of Aybar's high tag. Cervenka ended the threat by inducing Seager's inning-ending flyout. The rookie left-handed reliever has limited lefties to one hit in eight at-bats.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: The Dodgers put the ball in the hands of their ace, lefty Clayton Kershaw, on Thursday as they look for their fourth win series in five. First pitch is scheduled for 9:10 a.m. PT. Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA through his first three starts of the season. He's 2-0 with a 1.79 ERA in six starts against the Braves, but, as if he needs incentive, he has never won at Turner Field.
Braves:Matt Wisler will take the mound when Atlanta concludes this three-game series on Thursday at 12:10 p.m. ET. Wisler will attempt to avoid the "big inning" that tarnished his first two starts against the Cardinals and Nationals. The right-hander was slated to start Tuesday, but was pushed back two days after he notched his first save in a relief appearance on Sunday.