Braves Rally With 4-run 8th to Sweep Dodgers
ATLANTA (AP) — Ramiro Pena got a fierce wakeup call with the bases loaded and the scored tied in the eighth inning.
Pena fouled the first pitch off his lower right leg and bent over in anguish. But after he fouled off the next pitch, he hit a sacrifice fly to put the Atlanta Braves ahead to stay.
“I needed to keep the focus,” Pena said. “That’s a big at-bat right there, so I just tried to make contact and put the ball in play.”
Pena had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in a four-run eighth, Jordan Schafer drove in two runs and the Braves rallied against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ beleaguered bullpen for a 5-2 victory on a rain-soaked Sunday.
Kenley Jansen (1-3) was the loser for the second straight game, this time allowing one hit, two runs and a walk while getting just one out in a game twice delayed by rain for a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes.
“With a rain delay and getting tired a little bit later, you have to keep concentrating on the game,” Pena said. “Everybody did a great job from the beginning (of the eighth), and I think everybody put something in that inning.”
Jansen began the eighth by allowing a single to Freddie Freeman and walking Brian McCann. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly brought in closer Brandon League for the first time in the series, but he fared no better than his teammate.
After Atlanta loaded the bases when third baseman Juan Uribe was charged with a fielding error on Andrelton Simmons’ sacrifice bunt attempt, League gave up a tying RBI single to pinch-hitter Gerald Laird to make it 2-all. Pinch-runner B.J. Upton scored on Pena’s sacrifice fly.
The Braves added two more runs off League on Chris Johnson’s RBI single and a sacrifice bunt by Schafer.
Closer Craig Kimbrel earned his third save of the series and 14th in 17 chances as the Braves earned their fourth series sweep this season.
Kimbrel struck out Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez before A.J. Ellis walked. Atlanta had retired 19 straight batters before Ellis’ walk, but Kimbrel ended it with a strikeout of Andre Ethier.
“We were on the road a lot and lost a lot of games we felt we should have won,” Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor said. “Today we came back in another one from behind and got the sweep.”
After watching his hitters struggle from the fourth inning on, Mattingly refused to put all the blame on Los Angeles’ bullpen.
“You add on a run here or there, it takes a lot of pressure off a guy that you can’t give up one hit that changes the whole game,” Mattingly said. “I think we have to take this all as a group.”
Luis Avilan (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out one.
The Dodgers went up 1-0 in the first when Carl Crawford led off with a double, moved to third on Mark Ellis’ groundout and scored on Gonzalez’s RBI single.
In the third, Crawford walked, moved to third on Kemp’s double and crossed the plate on Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly to give Los Angeles a 2-0 lead.
Los Angeles rookie Matt Magill didn’t allow a runner to reach scoring position until the fifth when Pena reached on fielder’s choice, advanced to second on Minor’s single and scored on Schafer’s RBI single to make it 2-1.
Magill was chased on Justin Upton’s leadoff single in the sixth. J.P. Howell made just two pitches, a pair of strikes to Freeman, when the game was stopped by a second rain delay. This one lasted 33 minutes.
Magill, who could lose his spot in the rotation with Ted Lilly likely to come off the disabled list on Monday, gave up four hits, one unearned run and three walks in five-plus innings. Magill has a 5.00 ERA in four starts.
Minor allowed three hits and two runs with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts in six innings.
In Atlanta’s seventh, Mattingly used three pitchers — Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez and Jansen — to face five batters. Jansen, who took the loss Saturday by giving up homers to Gattis and Simmons, struck out Justin Upton to end a threat with runners on first and second.
The Braves, whose 55 homers rank second in the National League, won without hitting a ball over the fence. They beat the Dodgers Friday on Justin Upton’s grand slam off Rodriguez and Saturday with Gattis and Simmons going deep.
“We’ve been slow out of the gate as an offense (over the last three games), and (the pitching staff has) been able to keep us in the ballgame and keep runs off the board,” Justin Upton said. “That’s important in giving us a shot to win.”
NOTES: The Braves earned their first three-game sweep of the Dodgers since April 18-20, 2008. … Before Kemp doubled in the third, he had just three hits in 42 career at-bats at Turner Field. … Mattingly said X-rays on RF Scott Van Slyke’s left lower leg were negative. Van Slyke hit balls off nearly the same spot on his leg on two consecutive pitches, but finished the at-bat. … Mark Ellis, out since April 27 with a strained right quadriceps, returned to the lineup and went 0 for 4 with one strikeout. C Tim Federowicz was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room on the roster.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.