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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.

Braves promote Alex Anthopoulos, extend Brian Snitker

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The Atlanta Braves announced this morning that they have promoted general manager Alex Anthopoulos to President, Baseball Operations and General Manager and have extended his contract through 2024. They have likewise extended the contracts of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff through the 2021 season.

Anthopoulos’ promotion will not likely change his duties very much, as it’s become increasingly common for top baseball operations executives to be given the title of “president” as opposed to “GM.” Part of this is some expansion of the role of said executives. Some of it is simple title inflation. Some of it is to prevent other teams from being able to interview and potentially poach top executives without permission under the guise of promotion.

Anthopoulos was hired following the 2017 season, replacing former GM John Coppolella, who resigned and was subsequently permanently banned from baseball following his involvement in a scandal in which he breached rules in connection with signings of international players and obstructed Major League Baseball’s investigation into it all. Before that Antopoulos served as the Blue Jays’ GM for seven years.

Snitker took over as interim manager when the Braves fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of the 2016 season. He and Coppolella did not get along and there were strong suggestions that he would never lose the interim tag, but he has been on far steadier ground since Anthopoulos took over. Winning helps, of course, and under the leadership of Anthopoulos and Snitker, the Braves have won the last two NL East titles, going 187-137 in the past two seasons.