ARLINGTON, Tex. — The Los Angeles Dodgers started Wednesday’s must-win baseball game with a most-runs inning.
They pummeled two Atlanta Braves pitchers for a postseason-record 11 runs during the first inning and continued on to a 15-3 victory in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
Atlanta, which held the Dodgers to just one run during the first 15 innings of this series, still leads the NLCS matchup 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for tonight at 5:08 p.m. PDT.
Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw, who was scratched from his Game 2 start because of back spasms, will match up against the Braves’ Bryse Wilson, who has pitched just 42.2 innings in the major leagues.
The Dodgers, who hit a major-league-best 117 home runs during the regular season, got untracked on Wednesday by clubbing three in the first inning alone. Joc Pederson got it started with a three-run blast and Edwin Rios followed with a solo shot on the very next pitch.
Pederson went 4-for-6 to lead L.A.’s 16-hit attack.
“That was fun to be a part of,” he said. “Some of the momentum from (Tuesday) night… the last inning definitely carried over and got us feeling a little more comfortable at the plate… fun to be a part of.”
Then Dodgers scored four runs in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game to fall just short in an 8-7 defeat.
Braves’ starting pitcher Kyle Wright, who retired just two batters on Wednesday, was done after walking Chris Taylor, the No. 9 hitter in the Dodgers’ lineup. Grant Dayton then gave up a walk to Mookie Betts and an RBI single by Corey Seager — his second RBI hit of the inning. Seager went 3-for-4 in the game.
The Dodgers appeared to score again on a wild pitch, although the Braves won a challenge when the replay showed that the ball had struck Justin Turner on the foot.
It was a short-lived victory for Atlanta, however: Six pitches later, Max Muncy crushed a grand-slam home run to right center field — his second homer in as many games and just the 20th grand slam in LCS history.
The Texas native said it was “pretty cool” to hit a slam in his home state.
“Not too many things are cooler than that,” he said. “Biggest thing to me is our team got a W and got us back on track.
Muncy added, “Toward the end of the game last night, we started to find our stride. Big thing tonight was to continue that to today’s game, and we were able to do that.”
The Dodgers’ 18 total bases were the most in any inning in postseason history. Ten of their 11 runs were scored with two outs. Their three homers and five extra-base hits tied records for a postseason inning.
Cody Bellinger and Seager added solo homers in the second and third innings, respectively, to increase the lead to 13-0 and eclipse the franchise record for home runs in a postseason game, while also tying the LCS record.
By the third inning, the Dodgers had tied an NLCS record with 15 runs scored.
— Mark Patton