Dodgers confident after routing Braves 13-6
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers clinched the NL West title on the road. They want to advance in the playoffs on their home turf and celebrate with their fans.
Los Angeles put itself in position to do just that on Monday night, taking a 2-1 lead over the Atlanta Braves into Game 4 of the National League division series.
“The good thing is that all of the hitters feel good about themselves and where they’re at. That is a carry over,” center fielder Skip Schumaker said. “Confidence is huge. Hitting is contagious and it’s all about confidence.”
Every starting position player except Mark Ellis had a hit in the Dodgers’ 13-6 victory on Sunday night, and he scored one of their runs that tied a franchise record for a postseason game. Brooklyn beat the New York Yankees 13-8 in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series.
“We want to win it in front of our fans at home,” Ellis said. “We want to end it.”
The Dodgers will start Ricky Nolasco against veteran Freddy Garcia.
“I’ve got to face a powerful team, powerful lineup,” Garcia said.
The Dodgers flexed their offensive muscle by pounding out 14 hits, with much of the production coming off the bats of their big-name talent.
Carl Crawford hit a three-run homer, Juan Uribe added a two-run shot, and Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig each had three hits and scored three times.
Ramirez tied a Dodgers record for most extra-base hits in a postseason series with six. He’s 7 for 13 with four doubles, a triple, a homer and the six RBIs through his first three playoff games in his ninth major league season.
“At the plate, right now I’m not thinking,” Ramirez said. “I’m just looking at the ball and hit it, whatever the pitch is. It’s an unbelievable feeling when it’s just less thinking, just produce. Go out there and have fun and play hard.”
After losing 4-3 in Game 2 to let the Braves even the series, the Dodgers returned to the offensive form they showed during a 6-1 victory in the opener on the road.
“Guys were unhappy with the way they played, so we wanted to get back to playing the way we did the first game,” Crawford said. “We knew it was going to be at home in front of our home crowd, and we were going to have some extra energy for that. Hopefully, we can like wrap it up while we’re here at home.”
Crawford made the play of the game Sunday when he tumbled head over heels to catch an eighth-inning foul ball at the low retaining wall in left field. The speedy leadoff man also scored three times, including once in the eighth when the Dodgers made it 13-4.
“I’m fine. I landed in a way it didn’t hurt,” he said. “I didn’t think the ball was going to go into the stands. It kept floating and I didn’t see the wall coming. I felt myself flipping over. Good thing is I held onto the ball, so that’s all that matters.”
Chris Capuano won in relief of ineffective rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu. He struck out three and walked three in three hitless innings.
“We’re trying to keep it loose in here but we’re really focused right now,” Capuano said.
The 13 runs allowed by the Braves equaled the most in club history for a postseason game.
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran took the loss, giving up six runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings.
“He just left some balls out over the plate and made some mistakes,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “With this club, if you do that, you’re going to look down at a gas tank with a lighted match.”
Los Angeles rallied in the third to regain the lead for good after Atlanta tied it in the top of the inning. After that, the Braves didn’t manage much besides Jason Heyward’s two-run homer in the ninth.
Teheran and Ryu both made inauspicious postseason debuts in the first matchup of rookie pitchers in the playoffs since 2007.
In addition to being shaky on the mound, Ryu made two major mistakes in the field. He allowed four runs and six hits in three innings, becoming the first South Korean-born pitcher to start a postseason game in the major leagues.
Los Angeles extended its lead to 10-4 with four runs in the fourth. Ramirez had an RBI triple.
“I just kept telling him, ‘I want the whole world to see how good you are,’” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s been good so far.”
Puig added an RBI single and Uribe followed with a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw from reliever Alex Wood.
“With two outs there, if we get out of that inning, it’s a whole different ballgame,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “But it just didn’t turn out the way we wanted. Carl hit a slider that hung up a little bit more than we wanted and he put a good swing on it.”
The Dodgers regained the lead 6-4 in the third on RBI singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Schumaker.
Atlanta tied it 4-all with two runs in the third after loading the bases with nobody out.
The Dodgers scored four times in the second to take a 4-2 lead, highlighted by Crawford’s three-run homer with two outs.
NOTES: Ryu’s sacrifice fly in the second was the first postseason RBI by a Dodgers pitcher since Orel Hershiser on Oct. 16, 1988, in Game 2 of the World Series. ... Dodgers C A.J. Ellis got hit on the left elbow by a pitch from hard-throwing Jordan Walden in the eighth, but stayed in the game. Ellis had X-rays after the game and said he felt fine. ... Capuano’s only other major league win in relief came on Aug. 20, 2010, for Milwaukee. ... It was the first time in Teheran and Ryu’s careers as starters that their pitching lines had more runs than innings.