Cards rally to beat Braves in Game 1:
By Sam Bush
The Washington Nationals are the bright, new toy in the National League playoffs, having rallied into a Wild Card win over the Brewers the other night.
But last night the toy met the machine known as the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it wasn’t good for the toy
The Dodgers offense took a while the crank up, but once it did pitcher Walker Buehler shut the Nats lights out.
Juan Soto, Washington’s hero in the wild-card game, singled to lead off the second inning to record the Nationals only hit against Buehler. Buehler dominated for six innings while Adam Kolarek and Kenta Maeda combined for two hitless innings — Maeda did the heavy lifting recording five of the six outs.
Washington didn’t get another hit until Trea Turner doubled off Joe Kelly in the ninth inning.
A potential postseason matchup against the heavily left-handed hitting Dodgers was talked about when the Nationals signed Patrick Corbin in December. For the most part, Corbin did indeed shut down the Dodgers, who had just three singles against the southpaw. But Corbin couldn’t get out of his own way as he was betrayed by his five free passes, including four in the first inning, before eventually taking the loss.
Max Muncy (above), batting lower in the order against the left-handed Corbin, was in the right place at the right time all night for the Dodgers. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the opening inning and hit a 96.1 mph grounder through Howie Kendrick’s legs to plate the second Los Angeles run with two outs in the fifth inning.
Batting with the bases loaded against Fernando Rodney in the seventh, Muncy clubbed his second base hit into right field to plate two more runs.
Joc Pederson didn’t start against the left-hander but entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh. He drew a walk to get the rally started, and Justin Turner amplified the threat with a base hit. Both came around to score on Muncy’s single. Pederson later banged a no-doubt solo homer off the right-field foul pole in the eighth inning.
The Dodgers probably won’t have to play with a platoon again in this series, but they’ve already proven that it won’t stop their winning ways.