The seemingly miscast “s” in Bryse Wilson’s first name could have been capitalized and worn on his chest Thursday night, with a cape draping out over his Braves uniform.
Based on what had occurred the previous game, Superman was needed. The Braves got him. Wilson, a right-hander who had pitched to an uninspiring 5.91 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in 15 major league appearances, tamed the beast that had been unleashed in Game 3 of this NLCS.
Wilson’s superb start and a breakout offensive performance late led the Braves to a 10-2 victory in Game 4 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Braves are ahead 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with a chance Friday to clinch their first pennant since 1999.
The Dodgers will attempt to become the 14th team in MLB history to overcome a series deficit of at least 3-1 in the postseason. The feat was last accomplished by the Cubs against the Indians in the 2016 World Series.
A night after the Dodgers set a postseason record for runs in an inning with 11 in the first, Wilson stifled this talented lineup. He lasted through the sixth, allowing one run on one hit with five strikeouts.
Marcell Ozuna led the offensive attack, going 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs as the Braves totaled 14 hits.
Clayton Kershaw, who was scratched from his Tuesday start with back spasms, entered 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 10 lifetime starts against the Braves. The left-hander was strong through five innings Thursday, but then crumbled in the sixth.
Overall, he allowed four earned runs on seven hits over five-plus innings, a second straight shaky outing in this postseason after dominating the Brewers in his first-round start. Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young award winner, fell to 11-12 lifetime in the postseason. That includes a 3-6 mark in the NLCS.
Even after the Braves took a 7-1 lead, there was tension late. The Dodgers added a run against reliever Will Smith and loaded the bases. But Chris Martin, who replaced Smith, retired Dodgers pinch-hitter Will Smith to escape the inning.
The Braves got that run back in the bottom of the inning, when Ozuna led off with a homer, his second blast of the game.
Dansby Swanson delivered the Dodgers a mortal wound in the sixth with a two-run double past Justin Turner’s outstretched glove near the third-base line that extended the Braves’ lead to 5-1. The party continued with Austin Riley’s RBI single that knocked out reliever Brusdar Graterol. The ninth man to bat in the inning, Cristian Pache, slashed an RBI single that buried the Dodgers in a 7-1 hole.
Freddie Freeman, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, stroked an RBI double in the sixth that gave the Braves a 2-1 lead. It came after Ronald Acuna Jr. reached on an infield single and moved to second when Kike Hernandez’s off-balance throw sailed into the dugout.
But the Braves weren’t finished in the inning. Ozuna, the last batter faced by Kershaw, delivered an RBI double to left-center on a hanging curveball. After diving headfirst into second, he raised both arms as teammates celebrated in the dugout.
Ozuna’s solo homer in the fourth tied it 1-1. Ozuna, who led the NL in homers (18) and RBIs (56) during the regular season, entered the night just 2-for-13 in the NLCS, launched a shot off the façade of the second deck in left field.
Edwin Rios led off the third with his second homer in as many nights for the game’s first run. Rios homered as part of the Dodgers’ epic first inning on Wednesday.
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