The National League kicked off their respective divisional series matchups, and we got one exciting finish and another pitchers’ duel that fell apart late. The St. Louis Cardinals edged the Atlanta Braves in a wild finish to the opener, while the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals in a pitchers’ duel that saw the Nationals bullpen fall apart late.
Cardinals 7, Braves 6 recap
The Cardinals pulled off a much-needed Game 1 win to swing home field advantage in their favor. And they certainly had to work for it. The Braves led for six of the first seven innings, taking a 3-1 lead into the 8th inning. A tough error cost the Cardinals two runs in the sixth and it was not looking pretty.
However, the Cardinals rallied in a big way, putting up six runs over the final two innings — including four in the ninth. It was a disappointing appearance by Braves closer Mark Melancon. He came into the game with two outs in the eighth and a 3-2 lead with runners at first and second. Matt Carpenter hit a pinch-hit single to tie the game up, and while Kolten Wong was thrown out at the plate to get the Braves out of the inning, the flood gates were just opening. Melancon gave up a walk, two singles, and two doubles in the ninth to turn a 3-3 game into a 7-3 Cardinals lead.
The Braves did not go quietly in the bottom of the ninth. Ronald Acuna and Freddie Freeman hit a pair of home runs to cut the lead to 7-6, but Josh Donaldson grounded out and Nick Markakis struck out looking to end it and give the Cardinals a 1-0 series lead. Mike Foltynewicz will take the mound for the Braves in Game 2, while the Cardinals will send out Jack Flaherty.
Dodgers 6, Nationals 0 recap
In the late game, the Dodgers dominated the Nationals in a 6-0 victory. The game was looking like a classic pitchers’ duel between Walker Buehler and Patrick Corbin. Buehler went six innings and gave up one hit and three walks. Corbin went six innings and while he was shaky with five walks, he only gave up two runs with one of them earned.
Things went south for the Nationals in the seventh inning. Tanner Rainey struck out A.J. Pollock, but then walked Joc Pederson and gave up a single to Justin Turner. He was pulled for Fernando Rodney, who got off to a good start by striking out Cody Bellinger. He then walked Cody Taylor and gave up a two-run single to Max Muncy. Hunter Strickland gave up two more runs in the eighth and Washington couldn’t get anything going on offense to close out the game. The Dodgers take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Dodgers will send out Clayton Kershaw in Game 2, while the Nationals will counter with Stephen Strasburg.