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Dodgers top Brewers in nailbiter to tie 1-1 in the NLCS

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The Dodgers clinched their first Championship Series win on Saturday, defeating the Brewers 4-3 in Game 2 to snap their rivals’ 12-game winning streak and even the standings in the NLCS. With the win, they’ll also receive the opportunity to clinch a World Series berth at home, as the next three games are scheduled to play out at Dodger Stadium. Given how close the last two games have been, however, it’s looking less and less likely that either team will completely dominate the series.

Case in point: both left-handed starters Wade Miley and Hyun-Jin Ryu were hot out of the gate, keeping baserunners to a minimum as they coasted through four scoreless innings. In the top of the first inning, David Freese whacked a long line drive out to the center field fence in what would have been a surefire home run had Lorenzo Cain not leapt backward to retrieve it.

Ryu, on the other hand, didn’t see a real threat at the plate until the third inning, when Miley hit a double out to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2013. Nothing came of the hit, though, as Cain struck out on a change-up in the dirt and Christian Yelich grounded out to end the inning.

In the fifth, the Brewers finally caught another break against Ryu. Orlando Arcia took a first-pitch cutter and returned it to center field for a home run. Miley and Cain went back to back with a single and double (clocked at a staggering 113.2 MPH), respectively, prompting Dave Roberts to pull his left-hander with just one out and runners on second and third. Ryan Madson stepped in to replace Ryu and minimized the damage as best he could: first, with an intentional walk to Yelich, then with a run-scoring groundout from Ryan Braun that boosted the Brewers’ lead to 2-0.

By the middle of the sixth, Miley was closing in on 75 pitches, and a two-out single from Chris Taylor signaled the end of his outing. He finished his first Championship Series start with 5 2/3 innings of two-hit, three-strikeout ball, marking the first time since 2000 that a starting pitcher has allowed four (or fewer) baserunners in back-to-back scoreless outings in the postseason (h/t Matthew Stein). Per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, his double and single also marked the first multi-hit game by a pitcher (including at least one extra-base hit) since Chris Carpenter’s two-hit performance in the 2012 NLDS.

With Miley retired to the dugout for the remainder of the afternoon, the Dodgers seized their opportunity against Milwaukee’s ‘pen. Corbin Burnes walked Max Muncy to start the seventh, then gave up the first run of the day after Manny Machado and Cody Bellinger snapped the shutout on a pair of base hits. The freebies didn’t end there: Jeremy Jeffress relieved Burnes and promptly gave up a hit to Joc Pederson to load the bases, then walked Austin Barnes to gift the Dodgers their second run of the game.

In the eighth, things only got worse for Milwaukee. Taylor chopped a base hit out toward third base and came around to score when Justin Turner unleashed a 388-foot, double-deck shot into the left field bleachers for his first home run of the postseason — and the Dodgers’ first lead of Game 2.

Unlike Friday’s last-minute rally attempt, this one actually stuck. In the ninth, Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen subbed in for his first appearance of the NLCS and induced a pop-out from Arcia for the first out of the inning. Hernan Perez clawed his way through a six-pitch at-bat to take a walk, but neither Cain nor Yelich were able to skirt Jansen’s cutter and drive in the winning run. Cain went down swinging on three straight pitches, and Yelich’s game-ending groundout brought the Brewers’ dominant 12-game winning streak to its inevitable end as the Dodgers evened the series with a 4-3 victory.

The teams will take a travel day on Sunday before resuming the series at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. This time, it’ll be a matchup of righties, with Walker Buehler and Jhoulys Chacín scheduled to face off at 7:39 PM EDT.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.