With a less than star-studded lineup facing off against the potential Cy Young award winner, it was reasonable to expect the Atlanta Braves to have a tough time salvaging the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The outlook was even bleaker after Matt Kemp launched a three-run home run to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. However, the Braves rallied and defeated the Dodgers 4-3 in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon.
Martin Prado hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning after the Braves came back and tied the game in the seventh. Jose Constanza started the rally with a one-out single. After a wild pitch and an intentional walk to Chipper Jones, Michael Bourn hit a deep fly ball in the gap that appeared to be the game-winner. Andre Ethier made a diving catch to extend the game and give Prado an opportunity to be the hero, and he delivered with a sharp single on a 3-2 count to drive in the winning run.
“I’ve been struggling the last couple weeks and to me, this is huge," Prado said. "I’m not worried about me, I’m just worried about helping the team to win. Getting the hit to not get swept by the Dodgers was a pretty good feeling for me.”
Prado's heroics would never have been possible without the comeback against Clayton Kershaw, who demonstrated why he is in the Cy Young discussion with ten strikeouts in seven innings. After consecutive singles by Alex Gonzalez and Jack Wilson, an error by Dodgers third baseman Aaron Miles allowed Gonzalez to score. Brooks Conrad was clutch yet again with a two-run single to tie the game.
“We haven’t been swept in a three-game series all year, and it wasn’t looking good, obviously with Kershaw on the mound," Jones said. "But caught a break, they made a mistake on defense and Brooks Conrad capitalized and we were able to scrape one across in the ninth."
Rookie Randall Delgado had a solid outing outside of the one pitch to Kemp, as he went five innings and recorded four strikeouts. He was making his third major league start of his career.
“I thought he was good," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Delgado. "If you had to be critical about anything, the pitch count got a little high, but other than that, shoot we keep throwing the kid against some pretty tough competition and he keeps holding his own.”
The Braves bullpen rebounded from a tough series to provide four scoreless innings, two of which came from Cristhian Martinez.
Antoan Richardson, making his first appearance with the big league club, hit a single on the first pitch he saw in the majors.
The Braves will travel north to take on the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game series. Derek Lowe (9-12, 4.52 ERA) will take the mound against Cliff Lee (15-7, 2.59 ERA) on Monday night at 7:05 EDT.
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