ATLANTA — It’s been 20 years since Atlanta last hosted a National League Championship Series game, and with what we’ve seen in the past 48 hours, the World Series could be coming soon.
Eddie Rosario became the latest Atlanta hero with a walk-off single that led Atlanta to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a frenzied crowd of 41,873 at Truist Field.
Just like that, Atlanta has an impressive 2-0 lead over the Dodgers in a best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers are, of course, too deep, too talented and too experienced to panic, but they’re in trouble.
Too much trouble
The Dodgers would remind themselves of a year ago when they were down 2-0 to Atlanta in the NLCS – and 3 games to 1 – but came back and won three in a row in Arlington, Texas for their first World Series. title since 1988
Atlanta hasn’t forgotten either.
“God, we just had to win one game,” says Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, “it’s really hard to do as we see it. I mean, we were in a good place and we had to win a game and they Got out and I think he took the same approach. He had to win a game for three days in a row and win. …
“You don’t take anything lightly in any series or on any day in baseball.”
The Dodgers may have cost themselves Sundays by trying to be too sweet. They were leading 4–2 in the eighth inning when they decided to use 20-game winner Julio Urias.
This move hastily backfired. Rosario took the lead with a single on a fly out from Freddie Freeman and took second. Ozzy Albiz drove from one to the right at Rosario, stealthily before being thrown by right fielder Steven Souza.
Austin Riley, the hero with his walk-off single in Game 1, delivered again, hitting a double over the head to Mookie Bates in center field, tying the game at 4-eps.
“It’s really nice to see his development as a player, his experience over the last two or three years really pay off at this point,” says Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson. “Obviously doing this on a platform like this is special for someone who is still very young. I love him to death.”
In the ninth, instead of turning to Kenley Jensen, he turned to middle reliever Brusader Gretroll. Catcher Travis D’Arnaud greeted him with a single, and after a failed bunt attempt and a groundout, Rosario stepped up to the plate with two outs.
He smacked a hard liner from the glove of shortstop Corey Seeger, squirming in center field, as Swanson danced home.
The NLCS now heads to Los Angeles which has become the home of horrors for Atlanta. Atlanta have lost seven consecutive games and 10 of their last 11 games at Dodger Stadium, and were simply swept away in a three-game series on August 30–September. In 1 Chavez Ravine.
There’s no reason to take it personal. The Dodgers are beating everyone at home, winning a franchise-record 15 consecutive home games at the end of the regular season, and two out of three in the post season.
“I don’t need to remind them of anything,” Snitkar says. “I think they’re going to realize, and we all do, how difficult it was to win a baseball game last year when we were up 3-1.
“With the experience these guys have got, and got in the NLCS last year, it will be good for them to move on.”