LOS ANGELES — Five outs. The Braves were five outs away from a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
With one swing, Cody Bellinger changed everything.
Bellinger slammed a 3-run home run off Luke Jackson to tie the game in the eighth inning. Mookie Betts hit a RBI double off Jesse Chavez. The Braves couldn’t score in the ninth and lost 6-5 in Game 3.
Atlanta still holds a 2-1 series lead. All three games have come down to late inning dramatics.
“Yeah, it hurts. I mean, we lost the game because I made a couple bad pitches that, you know, some days are outs and some days they’re home runs,” Jackson said.
“I wish we were up 3-0 going into Game 4 and having a chance to sweep, but I have no doubt at all in just our team coming back and just stronger tomorrow and ready to recollect and roll.”
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The Braves have struggled on the road at Dodger Stadium with their last win coming in June 2018. It looked like the team was in a good position to snap that streak.
Charlie Morton settled down after a rough first inning where he threw 33 pitches and gave up a 2-run home run to Corey Seager. He kept the rest of the Dodgers offense at bay through the end of five innings.
Meanwhile, the Braves offense built a 5-2 lead behind a string of hits and walks off Dodgers starter Walker Buehler.
Freddie Freeman, who was 0-for-8 in the series, broke through his slump with three hits. Joc Pederson, Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall each had two hits.
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The game turned over to the bullpen in the hands of A.J. Minter and Tyler Matzek. Then it was time for Jackson, who has been called upon in the eighth inning for most of the season.
A pair of singles set up Bellinger to take advantage of a high pitch by Jackson.
“Yeah, it’s not a hitter’s pitch right there, but in the moment whatever happened, I saw it, and I just tried to put the barrel on it and continue to pass the baton,” Bellinger said.
A win on Tuesday would have pushed the Braves one step closer to their first World Series since 1999.
Instead, the Dodgers will carry momentum into Wednesday’s Game 4.
Braves manager Snitker confirmed the Braves will use Game 4 as a bullpen game. The Dodgers will turn toward Julio Urias.
“They will come out. They will be ready to play. They’re going prepare as always. We have lost tough games before and bounced back and done really good things,” Snitker said.
First pitch for Game 4 is set for 8:08 p.m. Wednesday. The Dodgers win also means there will be a Game 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.
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