The Los Angeles Dodgers held serve against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-2 win in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series on Wednesday in Dodger Stadium.
A pair of bases-loaded walks in the first inning gave L.A. a 2-0 lead. Mookie Betts followed up with an RBI double in the second.
Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia cut the Dodger lead to 3-2 thanks to a two-run shot in the fourth, but Milwaukee could not score from that point forward.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager provided insurance with a 447-foot solo homer in the seventh, and L.A. closer Kenley Jansen ended the night with a swinging strikeout of 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich.
L.A., which entered the postseason with the league's best win-loss record at 43-17, is looking to win its third NL pennant in four years.
The Brewers, who began the playoffs tied for the league's worst win-loss record of any postseason participant at 29-31, are looking to play spoiler and avenge their seven-game NL Championship Series loss to the Dodgers in 2018.
Brewers SP Brent Suter (Loss): 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 0 K
Brewers SS Orlando Arcia: 1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
Brewers CF Avisail Garcia: 3-for-4
Dodgers RP Julio Urias (Win): 3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Dodgers SP Walker Buehler (No Decision): 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K
Dodgers RP Kenley Jansen (Save): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Dodgers SS Corey Seager: 1-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI
Dodgers RF Mookie Betts: 2-for-4, 2 2B, R, RBI
Brewers Stay Alive Despite Suter Start But Can't Find Big Hit After Arcia Blast
Brewers starting pitcher Brent Suter walked five of the 129 batters he faced during the regular season, but he let five Dodgers get on with free passes Wednesday. He allowed three runs (walking in two) and hit the showers before the second inning ended a few batters after Mookie Betts' RBI double:
It was an admittedly ugly start for the southpaw, who largely shined in 2020 with a 3.13 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 31.2 innings.
There are a few things to note about Suter, however. First, Milwaukee isn't reaching the playoffs without him. Second, placing the blame on him is unfair, considering that the Brewers were still within striking distance all evening.
Arcia's two-run shot off Dodger starter Walker Buehler, who punched out eight batters in four innings, pulled Milwaukee within 3-2 in the fourth:
That's where the Brewers' mid- to late-game issues started.
Milwaukee put a runner on base in the fourth through ninth innings and did so in the fourth even after Arcia's home run. Following that shot, the Brewers went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts whenever a runner was on base.
None of those outs were productive, and the runners ended the inning at the base where they finished their at-bat.
The Brewers found themselves in an early hole, but they had a shovel to dig themselves out and couldn't do it.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee pitching was largely lights-out, keeping the Brewers in the game. Relievers threw 6.1 innings of one-run ball, striking out five and allowing just three hits and a walk.
The only blemish was Seager's mammoth solo home run, but the Brewers were still within two entering the eighth:
Milwaukee's bats stayed silent, however, and now the Brewers' season lives on the brink.
Game 2 is on tap for 10:08 p.m. ET on Thursday in Dodger Stadium. A Dodgers victory cements an NL Wild Card Series win, which will vault Los Angeles into an NL Division Series matchup with either the St. Louis Cardinals or San Diego Padres beginning Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.
The Cards beat the Padres 7-4 in Game 1 of their NL Wild Card Series on Wednesday. Game 2 of that matchup is set for Thursday at 5:08 p.m.