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Braves avoid elimination, defeat Dodgers 6-5 in NLDS Game 3

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Unlike the Rockies, the Braves were able to stave off the opposition to avoid being swept in the NLDS, hanging on to defeat the Dodgers 6-5 in Game 3 at SunTrust Park on Sunday night.

Ronald Acuña gave the Braves an early jolt, swatting a grand slam to left field in the second inning against Walker Buehler, who had been living up to his first name. That put the Braves up 5-0 early.

The Dodgers chipped away at their five-run deficit, scoring a pair of runs in the third inning that was aided in part by a misplay by Acuña in left field when Justin Turner grounded a single. In the fifth, Chris Taylor drilled a two-run homer to left field off of Kevin Gausman to cut the deficit to 5-4. Later in the inning, in a battle of Maxes, pinch-hitter Muncy bested reliever Fried as Muncy lifted a game-tying solo homer to center field to knot the game at five each.

In the bottom of the sixth, Freddie Freeman took matters into his own hands. Alex Wood took the mound to start the frame, tossing a first-pitch, 83 MPH change-up that Freeman promptly deposited into the stands in right field for a solo homer.

Chad Sobotka tossed a scoreless seventh and A.J. Minter did the same in the eighth. The Braves handed the ball to Arodys Vizcaíno in the top of the ninth to preserve the 6-5 lead. He got into a sticky situation, giving up a leadoff single to Joc Pederson, then walking Turner. Vizcaíno rebounded in a big way, striking out Muncy, Manny Machado, and Brian Dozier consecutively to end the game.

The Braves won their first postseason game since Game 2 of the 2013 NLDS when they beat the Dodgers 4-3. They are hoping to win two more games in a row to advance out of the Division Series for the first time since 2001.

The Dodgers will get another opportunity to eliminate the Braves on Monday. Game 4 will start at 4:30 PM ET and will be broadcast on FS1. If the Dodgers advance, they will return to the LCS for a third consecutive year.

The Dodgers lineup looks funny

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Lineups come out every day and I look at them every day and I give very little thought to them as long as they include the sorts of players who are appropriate to the game.

On Opening Day everyone important should be playing. Between then and the last day of the season it can be almost anyone depending on health and how much rest they need. In the playoffs it should be the best possible players once again, adjusted for platoon stuff. Usually it all washes by. Managers, our criticisms of them notwithstanding, tend to be pretty good at their jobs.

The Dodgers lineup for Game 6 of the NLCS caught my eye, though, because I can’t remember ever seeing a lineup in which the players were listed, basically, in defensive order. Really, with the exception of the catcher not batting first, have you ever seen a lineup with the defensive positions arranged like this? I haven’t. It’s fun, though!

1. David Freese (R) 1B
2. Max Muncy (L) 2B
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Manny Machado (R) SS
5. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
6. Chris Taylor (R) LF
7. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
8. Austin Barnes (R) C
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P

For the Brewers, things are a bit more conventional. Kudos to Craig Counsell for not putting an askterisk or a question mark next to Wade Miley, though, which I presume means he’ll last for more than one batter:

1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
2. Christian Yelich (L) RF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 2B
5. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
6. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
7. Erik Kratz (R) C
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Wade Miley (L) P

Is it the last Brewers lineup of the season? Tune in tonight to find out.