The Braves still had an opportunity to take three of four against the MLB’s best Los Angeles Dodgers. Although, the task was now much harder against Clayton Kershaw, who was boasting a 15-2 record with an ERA just above two coming into Sunday afternoon.
That all changed when Kershaw was surprisingly pinch hit for in the bottom half of the second inning, indicating an injury. The Dodgers placed Kershaw on the 10-day DL later in the day citing back stiffness.
Sean Newcomb was on the mound for the Braves looking for his first quality start in his last four outings. The rookie has struggled mightily with his control of late and that would be the case again Sunday. Despite giving up only three hits, Newcomb allowed three earned runs over six innings in large part due to his five walks. His one mistake came to Austin Barnes whose three-run homer gave the Dodgers an early 3-1 lead.
Newcomb was impressive outside of his control, posting a career high nine strikeouts. The Braves bats would give him very little run support, but they were able to get him off the hook in miraculous fashion. After collecting just two hits through eight innings, Freddie Freeman and Matt kemp would single back-to-back in the ninth. Tyler Flowers was retired, bringing Matt Adams to the plate with two down and a chance to tie the game against Kenley Jansen. And boy, did he deliver. Adams hit a long shot down the line that went just far enough to send the game to extras. It was Jansen’s first blown save of the season.
John Heyman called it the most impressive hit of the season.
that matt adams game-tying 3-run HR with 2 out in 9th off kenley jansen was the most impressive hit of year (even counting judge's HRs)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 23, 2017
The thrilling comeback feeling would not last long, however. The Braves would go down 1-2-3 in the top half of the tenth, giving the top of the Dodgers lineup a chance to win the game. Jim Johnson’s poor form continued too, allowing two singles to put runners at first and third. Atlanta would end up loading the bases by intentionally by walking Cody Bellinger. That brought Logan Forsythe to the plate with the bases loaded and just one out. His single walked the Dodgers off, and sent the Braves home perhaps a little disappointed that they only split the series.
The Braves will continue out west tomorrow against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They recently faced a week ago, with Atlanta taking all three in their first series after the All-Star break.
Atlanta is filling in the final pieces to their roster and added another player over the weekend.
The Hawks have claimed Nicolas Brussino off waivers.
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) July 22, 2017
Brussino played sparingly last season as a rookie for the Mavericks. At 24 years old, this combo forward does not have an extremely high ceiling, but is one of those players who clearly fits what Coach Budenholzer’s system. Do not expect to hear much from Brussino this season, but perhaps he can become a nice role player for Atlanta in the future.