9 must-see moments from Thursday's Dodgers-Braves NLDS Game 1
The Dodgers haven't been in the postseason since 2009, but new owners, a mammoth trade and a certain Cuban outfielder helped change that. The Braves, their NLDS foes, sought to wipe clean the frustrating memory of 2012's short stay in October.
Game 1 featured lots of drama -- let's GIF it up:
Kris Medlen started out strong for the Braves, striking out the side in the top of the first. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw answered back by ringing up Atlanta leadoff-man Jason Heyward.
Just when it seemed like no one would put a ball in play and these two awesome pitchers would just duel it out for all eternity, Justin Upton stepped up to the plate. His battle with Kershaw lasted 10 pitches before, at last, he put a ball in play. It was still an out, but hey -- at least someone made contact:
In the top of the second inning, Yasiel Puig came up for his first postseason at-bat. It went just like his first regular season at-bat, which is to say, it went well:
Juan Uribe followed Puig's hit with another single and Puig, as he so often does, took the extra base -- allowing Skip Schumaker to hit a sacrifice fly to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
A.J. Ellis picked up where his teammates left off, knocking a double to left field, scoring Uribe and extending that lead to 2-0:
In the bottom of the second, with Evan Gattis standing on first base after a bloop single, Puig added to that feeling of Déjà vu by doubling Gattis off on a baserunning snafu:
And that was just the first two innings!
In the third inning, Carl Crawford reached on an infield single, setting the table for the powerful Adrian Gonzalez to do what powerful baseball players do:
It was 4-0, and the Dodgers weren't looking back.
Kershaw's control left him only briefly during the fourth inning, when he gave up a single to Freddie Freeman and a walk to Gattis -- all leading to an RBI single from Chris Johnson.
But, Kershaw caught his breath and came back with devastating stuff -- striking out the next six batters he faced. Take, for example, this absolutely breathtaking curveball offered to the pinch-hitting B.J. Upton:
We can't believe it either, sad Braves fan. And that was just one of them:
After racking up 12 strikeouts and allowing only three hits, Kershaw mercifully bowed out in the eighth (OK, Andre Ethier pinch-hit for him), but it was already too late for the Braves.
The Dodgers held on to win the game 6-1, and this guy was very, very happy: