MLB Postseason Recap, Day 5: Braves, Padres even up each NL Division Series with bounce back wins

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brynn Anderson/AP/Shutterstock (13460534ao) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright (30) celebrates an out during the sixth inning in Game 2 of baseball’s National League Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies, in Atlanta NLDS Phillies Braves Baseball, Atlanta, United States – 12 Oct 2022

MLB Postseason Recap, Day 5: Braves, Padres even up each NL Division Series with bounce back wins

NL Division Series, Game 2: Braves 3, Phillies 0 

In what was supposed to be a late afternoon affair, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies would get started three hours late from Truist Park in Atlanta. Already with a 1-0 series lead, Philadelphia entered the game with a ton of confidence as ace Zack Wheeler took the mound for Game 2 after dominating St. Louis in his last start in the Wild Card round. Atlanta countered with Kyle Wright, a young righty coming off a career season that saw him go 21-5 with a 3.19 ERA. Both pitchers were sharp in the early going, keeping the game scoreless into the sixth with three combined hits allowed in total. 

Seemingly cruising after recording two outs to start the bottom of the sixth, Phillies’ pitcher Zack Wheeler suddenly started to struggle with command. He would hit Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch and walk Dansby Swanson consecutively, setting up three straight ground ball RBI singles by Matt Olson, Austin Riley, and Travis d’Arnaud to put the Braves ahead, 3-0. Both starters would be removed after six, as Atlanta turned to AJ Minter first from a bullpen that was dominant in the late innings during the regular season. Raisel Iglesias would follow a scoreless inning by Minter with one of his own in the eighth, aided by an incredible sliding catch by Austin Riley in foul territory as he collided with the rolled-up tarp. Kenley Jansen would do his thing in the ninth, handling the heart of the Phillies order with ease to put a bow on a 3-0 win for the Braves.

The big story of the night for Atlanta was the start by Kyle Wright, whose six efficient innings allowed the Braves’ offense to eventually break through against Phillies’ ace Zack Wheeler and turn to their top three relievers. The win evens the series as it heads north to Philadelphia, where another excellent pitching matchup awaits in Game 3 between Spencer Strider and Aaron Nola.

Game 3: Friday, 3:37pm CT

NL Division Series, Game 2: Padres 5, Dodgers 3

The Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the San Diego Padres all season, going 14-5 in divisional play against them during the regular season. They continued the trend in Tuesday’s Game 1, winning 5-3 behind a flurry of early runs against Padres’ starter Mike Clevinger. San Diego’s hope heading into the series’ second game is that their ace, Yu Darvish, produces a similarly dominant start to what they got from him in the Wild Card Series in New York. Los Angeles turned to future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, who entered the night 23-9 with a 2.06 ERA all-time against San Diego.

Each starter would get off to a rocky start, as Manny Machado and Freddie Freeman exchanged solo home runs in the first inning. After Clayton Kershaw escaped a jam in the top of the second, Max Muncy turned on a hanging breaking ball from Darvish to give L.A. a 2-1 lead with a solo shot to right. San Diego continued to apply pressure in the top of the third, connecting on three consecutive hits to start the inning. With the game suddenly tied and two runners in scoring position with nobody out, Kershaw would retire the next three hitters while limiting the damage to just a run-scoring ground out by Jake Cronenworth. The see-saw battle would continue in the bottom of the third, as Dodgers’ shortstop Trea Turner would crush another solo shot to left field – his second of the series, and L.A.’s third of the night to tie the game again.

Clayton Kershaw would retire nine consecutive hitters to finish off innings 3-5, but was removed before the sixth inning by Dave Roberts in favor of Brusdar Graterol. Brusdar’s inning was turbulent, as he’d be victimized by three singles, an error, and a run scoring despite not allowing a ball to register as “hard hit” by Statcast. He’d escape the inning only allowing a run though, partially because of an incredible defensive play he made himself to thwart a safety squeeze attempt by the Padres. Leading 4-3, Bob Melvin would allow Yu Darvish to start the bottom of the sixth – but after back-to-back singles by Will Smith and Max Muncy put runners at the corners with nobody out, he’d dip into his bullpen and turn to Robert Suarez. Suarez struck out Justin Turner and induced a double play ground ball by Gavin Lux, sending the game into the seventh inning with a one-run Padres lead. A Cody Bellinger single would give the Dodgers yet another baserunner in the seventh and ended a remarkable streak that saw Padres relievers retire 31 consecutive batters without allowing a hit. A Mookie Betts double and an intentional walk of Freddie Freeman loaded the bases, but Suarez escaped a second consecutive jam when Will Smith’s 100 mile per hour line drive was caught in the right center field gap by Trent Grisham.

Jake Cronenworth would make the Dodgers pay for their inability to drive runners in with a long solo home run in the top of the eighth off of Blake Treinen, extending the San Diego lead to 5-3. Los Angeles would once again threaten with two baserunners in the eighth, but Nick Martinez and Josh Hader would combine to escape the inning as San Diego looked for a four out save from their closer. Hader would allow a double to Freddie Freeman in the ninth but otherwise finish the game quietly, securing San Diego’s first Division Series win since 2006 and sending these teams to San Diego in a 1-1 tie.

Game 3: Friday, 7:37pm CT

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