LOS ANGELES -- As Clayton Kershaw left the mound with a lower back injury in the top of the second inning of the Dodgers' 5-4 win, the Braves saw an opportunity to strike.The Dodgers' nearly untouchable ace was gone and what was left was the Dodgers bullpen. But for six
LOS ANGELES -- As Clayton Kershaw left the mound with a lower back injury in the top of the second inning of the Dodgers' 5-4 win, the Braves saw an opportunity to strike.
The Dodgers' nearly untouchable ace was gone and what was left was the Dodgers bullpen. But for six innings, the Braves offense was stagnant, only mustering four hits and one run.
"Their bullpen is so deep," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Everybody they bring out there, looking at the batting averages against what they got, and it's just a really deep bullpen."
A breakthrough came in the ninth against the Dodgers' best bullpen arm. All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, who had converted all 24 of his save chances, was called on to shut the door.
Entering the game, Jansen hadn't blown a save in his 39 appearances this year, but that changed after back-to-back singles from Freddie Freeman and former Dodger Matt Kemp and noted Dodger villain Matt Adams homer.
Jansen slipped a 95.5-mph cutter on a 1-1 pitch to Adams, which he pounced on and launched a three-run homer to the right-field stands to tie the game.
"He's got that nasty cutter," Adams said about his at-bat." I was just telling myself to be on time and try and get the barrel out. I had a pitch I was able to do it with."
Snitker added: "Just tough fought game. He got a big hit and kept us in it, kind of got us off the mat there."
After not doing much against a stout Dodgers bullpen, the chance to leave with a series win and inch closer back to .500 was in sight, but that opportunity was spoiled as John Forsythe provided the walk-off single in the 10th.
The Braves will have to settle for a series split and head to Arizona for another tough challenge, but after taking the first two games and posting 18 runs, the missed opportunity to take three of four against one of the best squads in baseball is "tough" for them.
"Today's a tough one," Adams said. "It is what is. We played good all series, we got good pitching, played good defense and our offense came to play this series. I think as long as we continue to keep playing like this we're going to be in a good spot."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.