ATLANTA — Bryce Elder's clutch pitching kept Atlanta in the game. Strong situational at-bats in the ninth produced a much-needed win.
Ozzie Albies' sacrifice fly drove in Austin Riley in the bottom of the ninth and the Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Wednesday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
“It was really good after the way the first two went,” Austin Riley said of losses in the first two games in the series matching the teams with the best records in the National League.
Riley doubled to left field off Phil Bickford (1-2) to lead off the ninth. Riley moved to third on Travis d'Arnaud's grounder to first base. Following an intentional walk to Eddie Rosario, Albies' fly to deep right field allowed Riley to score easily, setting off a celebration near first base.
“Great job by Ozzie, but Travis set us up with a very professional at-bat,” Riley said.
Elder gave up seven hits and one walk but had six strikeouts while allowing only one run in six innings. Elder stranded two runners on base in each of the first three innings to continue his season-long success in pitching out of trouble.
Dodgers hitters were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Entering the game, Elder's 3.24 ERA with runners on base was the lowest in the National League. His success against the NL West-leading Dodgers impressed Braves manager Brian Snitker.
“It's probably the most experienced and talented lineup he's faced in his young career,” Snitker said. “The first three innings he faced no less than five guys. He didn't give in, either.”
Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin's 14-inning streak of scoreless innings ended with Matt Olson's 456-foot home run which landed on the roof in right field with one out in the fourth inning for Atlanta's first hit. Olson leads the Braves with 14 homers.
Mookie Betts answered with a line-drive homer, his 11th, which tied the game at 1 to open the fifth inning. Marcell Ozuna's two-run shot to left field in the fifth followed Gonsolin's walk to Albies.
Gonsolin allowed three runs on three hits, including two homers, in 5 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game against Nick Anderson in the eighth. Will Smith singled, moved to third on a double by J.D. Martinez and scored on Jason Heyward's groundout. Miguel Vargas added a ground-rule double to left field to drive in Martinez.
The Dodgers again left two runners on base in the ninth. Freddie Freeman walked before will Smith hit a bloop single off Raisel Iglesias, leaving runners on first and third with two outs. Iglesias (1-1) escaped the jam on Max Muncy's popup caught by shortstop Orlando Arcia in shallow left field.
WINNING WITH YOUTH
Despite the loss, the Dodgers could celebrate winning the first two games of the series behind rookie starters Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller.
“We've talked about the depth we have in our organization,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “To see it play out in real time is exciting.”
Michael Harris II ended an 0-for-24 slump with a single off Victor González to lead off the eighth before Ronald Acuña Jr. hit into a double play. Harris was hitting only .159 before the hit.
“He had some better swings tonight,” Snitker said of the 22-year-old Harris. “He's a young player. He doesn't have a lot to draw on experience-wise.”
Harris hit .297 with 19 homers to win NL rookie of the year in 2022.
Braves: RHP Michael Soroka moved closer to earning his first return to Atlanta since 2020 when he allowed only two hits and one run in six innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday night. Soroka is attempting a comeback from two tears of his right Achilles tendon. Snitker was most impressed Soroka threw 96 pitches, proving he's ready to pitch deep into games. “His stuff is getting better,” Snitker said. “It's all headed in the right direction. ... I think when and if we need him, he'll be ready.”
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw is expected to join the team in Tampa Bay on Friday as he returns from the bereavement list after attending his mother’s funeral. Kershaw is expected to start on Saturday.
Dodgers: RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-3, 5.88) will start when the Dodgers open a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Friday night following an off day on Thursday.
Braves: LHP Dylan Dodd is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to start as Atlanta opens a four-game series against RHP Aaron Nola (4-3, 4.31) and the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night. Dodd is 1-3 with a 6.67 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett and is 2-1 with a 6.46 ERA with Atlanta.