Game 3 of the NLDS in recent years has been quite important as the winner of the pivotal game have won 14 of the 15 series. The Dodgers and Braves both had rookies on the mound in Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Teheran.
Ryu was a little bit of a question mark to make the start and his rust showed in the first inning. After recording the first out, Ryu allowed a one-out double to Justin Upton for his first hit of the series. After Freddie Freeman flied out, the Braves got a 2-out RBI single from Evan Gattis and after a Brian McCann walk, Chris Johnson singled in another to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.
In their first chance to get something going, the Dodgers continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. Carl Crawford singled and moved over to second on a wild pitch to only be stranded there. Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez struck out while Hanley Ramirez flied out to left to end the inning.
In the second inning, Ryu seemed to settle down and retired the back end of the Braves lineup 1-2-3. In the bottom half of the 2nd inning, Yasiel Puig got aboard with a leadoff single and moved over to second when Juan Uribe blooped a single into left field.
After Skip Schumaker struck out and it seemed like the Dodgers would strand more runners on base, A.J. Ellis walked to load the bases for Ryu. Needing to help his own cause, Ryu launched a fly ball to Upton in right and brought home the Dodgers first run.
Crawford then came up with runners on the corners and took Teheran deep to right field and sent Dodger Stadium into a frenzy with a three-run home run that gave the Dodgers a 4-2 lead at the end of two innings.
In need of a shutdown inning, Ryu didn’t help himself in the third inning. Back-to-back singles from Upton and Freeman put runners on 1st and 2nd and Ryu got McCann to hit into a tailor-made double play. However, Ryu couldn’t locate first base and Upton scored and only one out was recorded.
The inning didn’t get much better as Ryu decided to come home on a dribbler back to the mound with runners on the corners and the Bravers were back in the game, tied 4-4. Thankfully, Simmons grounded into a double play and the top of the third inning came to a close with Chris Capuano warming in the bullpen.
For two teams who have solid starting pitching, the Dodgers and Braves didn’t put on the best display as things got worse for Teheran in the third inning. Another lead off hit, this time a double by Hanley started it off and he was brought home by an RBI single from Gonzalez.
After Uribe struck out, Schumaker contributed to the cause with an RBI single to left and suddenly the Dodgers were back in front, 6-4. A.J. Ellis walked and that was the end of the night for Ryu, who was pulled in favor of pinch hitter Michael Young, but he struck out to end the inning.
Pressed into active duty, long reliever Chris Capuano did exactly what the Dodgers needed and retired the Braves in order in the top of the 4th inning. The Dodgers offense which struggled so much in Game 2, was absolutely on fire and were at it again in the bottom half of the 4th.
Crawford got aboard on an error by Wood and came home on an RBI triple from Hanley, who collected his sixth extra-base hit of the series and extended the lead to 7-4. With two outs, Puig came up and lined a single into center and road home on a three-run home run by Uribe to stretch the lead to 10-4.
This was the sixth time a Dodger team scored 10+ runs and were just three runs shy of tying the Dodgers postseason record of 13 runs scored, achieved in 1956.
Capuano was great in three innings of no-hit relief and turned things over to J.P. Howell who was perfect in in 1.1 innings of work tonight. Ronald Belisario picked up for Howell and got the two batters he faced out with some help from Crawford who made an incredible catch down the left field line.
However, in the eighth inning, A.J. Ellis was hit square on the left elbow and was in some pain, but stayed in the game until he was erased on the base paths. In the eight inning, Hanley “settled” for an RBI single with two outs and the Dodgers extended their lead to 11-4.
With runners on the corners, A-Gon chopped an infield single against Braves lefty Luis Avilan, the exact same play he made on Crawford in Game 2 and stretched the lead to 12-4. That wasn’t it as Puig ripped a single to right and the route continued, 13-4 in the eighth inning.
With three outs to go separating the Dodgers from a 2-1 series lead, Paco Rodriguez came on and again, was killed by Heyward. After a Reed Johnson single, Heyward launched a two-run home run off the usually reliable Rodriguez, but the Dodgers still led 13-6.
Paco couldn’t retire the side as Kenley Jansen picked up the final out and the Dodgers took a 2-1 series lead with a chance to close it out tomorrow night at Dodger Stadium.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!