Austin Riley's 9th-Inning HR Leads Braves Past Dodgers in NLCS Game 1

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2020

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 1 of a baseball National League Championship Series Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves gained the upper hand on the Los Angeles Dodgers to open the National League Championship Series, winning Game 1 5-1 on Monday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

On the fifth pitch of the game, Freddie Freeman homered to right to put the Braves ahead.

That remained the only run until Kike Hernandez tied the score with a solo home run to left in the bottom of the fifth.

Austin Riley was responsible for the decisive blow when he took Blake Treinen deep in the ninth.

Marcell Ozuna added an insurance run with a single to bring Ronald Acuna Jr. home before Ozzie Albies' two-run home run broke the score open.

Coming in for a non-save situation, Mark Melancon set the Dodgers down in order to seal the victory.


Notable Performers

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Walker Buehler, SP, Dodgers: 5 IP, three hits, one earned run, five walks, seven strikeouts

Kike Hernandez, 2B, Dodgers: 1-for-3, one home run, one RBI

Max Fried, SP, Braves: 6 IP, four hits, one earned run, two walks, nine strikeouts

Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves: 2-for-5, one home run, two RBI

Marcell Ozuna, DH, Braves: 2-for-5, one double, one RBI, one run


Fried Dazzles in LCS Debut

Entering Monday, Max Fried surrendered nine earned runs over 10 postseason appearances. Eight of those runs were spread over two games. For the most part, the left-hander has been money during his limited taste of October baseball, and Game 1 continued that trend.

The southpaw had Dodgers hitters guessing throughout the night.

The Braves didn't get that kind of effort from their offense until the ninth.

Atlanta got back-to-back singles from Travis d'Arnaud and Albies to open the sixth but couldn't move them over. The team didn't capitalize on Ozuna's leadoff double in the eighth, either. After a hit-by-pitch to Pablo Sandoval loaded the bases with two outs, Charlie Culberson struck out.

The lineup made up for that in the last inning.


Buehler Battles Through Blister

During the Fox broadcast, Hall of Famer John Smoltz said Dodgers starter Walker Buehler was "effectively wild." While the true meaning of the phrase is somewhat amorphous, it was an accurate descriptor of Buehler's outing.

The right-hander didn't have his best stuff but still missed a lot of bats, as evidenced by his strikeout and walk totals.

Considering he's dealing with blisters on his right index and middle fingers, allowing a home run to the second batter of the game looked like a bad omen for Buehler. Instead, he avoided any more significant damage.

Maybe it was the pants.

Things probably won't end well for the Dodgers, though, when Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger combine for two hits. The source of Betts' struggles against left-handers in particular remains a mystery.


What's Next?

The teams will return to the diamond at 6:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Ian Anderson for the Braves and Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers are the scheduled starters.