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Thursday July 18th, 2019 2:58AM

Baby Braves blanked in Atlanta's 1st playoff game since 2013

By The Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES — Rather than pop, Ronald Acuna Jr. started the game with a popup. The big-hitting rookie never got into the swing at Dodger Stadium, and neither did the rest of the Atlanta Braves.

Hoping to break loose in their first postseason appearance since 2013, the Braves instead were blanked on six singles Thursday night, losing 6-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers to begin the NL Division Series.

Acuna and fellow rookie Ozzie Albies were held in check, as were veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. Atlanta never got a runner past second base against Hyun-Jin Ryu and trio of Los Angeles relievers.

Two hallmarks that propelled the Baby Braves to 90 wins and the NL East title were non-existent in Game 1 — solid starting pitching and timely hitter.

All-Star Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta's best pitcher all season, allowed four runs on three hits in two innings. The right-hander, who had not allowed a home run in four of his last five starts, allowed two longballs, including a leadoff drive by Joc Pederson on his third pitch.

Foltynewicz got into more trouble in the second inning, allowing a three-run shot to Max Muncy after hitting Pederson with a pitch and walking Justin Turner.

The 20-year-old Acuna went 0 for 4 and struck out twice. The 21-year-old Albies was 1 for 4 and 24-year-old Johan Camargo was hitless in four tries.

Sean Newcomb, mentioned by manager Brian Snitker before Thursday's game as a possibility to start Game 3 on Sunday, was the first pitcher out of the bullpen and went two innings. That would leave Kevin Gausman and Julio Teheran as the likely starters.

The Braves' task of evening up the series on Friday could be one of their more difficult games of the season as they face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Anibal Sanchez, who will start for the Braves, didn't seem that fazed about the matchup.

"I don't think too much about the pitchers that I'm going to face. I just try to keep my mind on the hitters that I'm going to face against Dodgers," Sanchez said before Thursday's game. "I think they got a pretty good lineup. It's no doubt how good Kershaw is and what he's been doing for his whole career. But at the end, I don't want to put that impression in my mind."

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