Atlanta (AP):- After missing the most of last season with an injury, Marcell Ozuna thinks he is starting to reap the fruits of his labor in regaining his timing at the plate. The outfielder for the Braves proved his statement with the best hit of his season.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 26, 2022
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After blowing a three-run lead, the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Saturday night, thanks to a game-winning home run in the eighth inning. In the seventh inning, Travis d’Arnaud hit a double to left field against Brusdar Graterol (2-3). Next, Ozuna hit his 14th career home run to center field. Ozuna, who is batting just.227 but has hits in 29 of his last 37 games, exclaimed, “It felt amazing.” When you miss an entire season like I did last year, it’s tough to get back into rhythm.
Ozuna was arrested on May 29, 2021, for aggravated assault by strangulation and battery, limiting him to only 48 games that season. Ozuna, who is now 31 years old, was given a 20-game retroactive suspension in November for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. According to Braves manager Brian Snitker, Ozuna has been on a tear recently, collecting several base knocks. He’s still working hard to get where he wants to be, but he’s scored some huge goals for us in the meantime.
With Daniel Hudson’s season-ending knee injury confirmed before the game, Graterol had his first chance to prove he can take on a more significant role in the Dodgers’ bullpen, but he failed to do so. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t identify who he expects to fill in for Hudson, but Graterol was considered a top candidate. In his words, “the guys that are here are obviously going to have an opportunity.” Roberts. I won’t reveal any names, but I can assure you that they will be successful.
Dodgers Designated Hitter Will Smith
WILL SMITH, OF LA. pic.twitter.com/eJtzp1FpnC
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 26, 2022
Homered to left field to start the eighth inning off A.J. Minter (4-1), tying the game at 3. In the second game of his highly anticipated return to Atlanta, Freddie Freeman managed just one hit and three strikeouts, including a bases-loaded whiff to end the seventh. A day after receiving his 2021 World Series championship ring in a pregame ceremony, the Braves’ 2020 NL MVP seemed more at ease.
Max Fried, a left-handed pitcher for the Braves, went 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits while striking out nine and walking one. Kenley Jansen, a former closer for the Dodgers, recorded his 19th save by striking out the side in the ninth inning. Both of the Dodgers’ seventh-inning runs came home thanks to a single by Cody Bellinger off Fried. Reliever for the Braves Will Smith allowed Austin Barnes to pull Atlanta within 3-2 with an RBI single to right field, then walked Turner to load the bases.
Smith retired Freeman swinging to end the inning in the rubber match of the last two NLCS. Mitch White, who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in four and a half innings. Singles by Ronald Acuna Jr. and Swanson in the top of the fourth inning led to White’s removal. This is Austin Riley’s
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 26, 2022
Acuna scored after hitting a double to center field off Alex Vesia. After lefty Andrew Heaney went on the 10-day injured list on Friday with left shoulder inflammation, White was inserted into the rotation.
Michael Harris II, a rookie for the Braves, doubled to start the third inning, and Dodgers right fielder Trayce Thompson made a throwing error and allowed a run to score. When the ocean liner passed over Thompson’s head, he took a step in but then stopped. After one out, Swanson drove a slider off the first pitch he saw 413 feet to the center field fence, giving his team a 2-0 lead. It was Swanson’s seventh homer of June and 13th overall. Swanson has hits in 18 of his last 19 games.
Wairing For The Fourth Referee
The game began with a three-man crew of umpires before fourth-inning replacement Alex MacKay took the field. When Cory Blaser became ill and could not manage the game, they called in MacKay.
Hudson’s season with the Dodgers has ended due to a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. It is estimated that it will take between six and nine months for Hudson to fully recover. Alberto was activated from the paternity list and OF Stefen Romero was designated for assignment as a roster space was cleared for White.
The Braves will check on Acuna after he fouled a ball off his left foot in the third inning. Guillermo Heredia came in for Acura in the final minutes of the game to shore up the defense. According to Snitker, Acua’s foot was “Extremely painful. What happens next is up in the air”. OF In his first game back with Triple-A Gwinnett after eye surgery, Eddie Rosario (vision loss, swelling in the right retina) went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
What Comes Next
In the series finale on Sunday night, Dodgers RHP Tony Gonsolin (9-0, 1.58) will take the mound against Braves rookie RHP Spencer Strider (3-2, 3.40).