Atlanta's incredible pitching continued as starter Max Fried dominated over six innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out nine over 96 pitches. Los Angeles starter Walker Buehler pitched five plus innings, his outing highlighted by seven strikeouts and five walks.
Fried, offensive explosion late carry Atlanta
The Braves were ahead two batters into the game as Freddie Freeman launched a 1-2 fastball from Buehler over the right-field fence for a solo home run to put Atlanta on top 1-0. Fried seemed to be cruising through the bottom of the inning until he ran into trouble.
A two-out walk to Justin Turner followed by a single from Max Muncy put two men on, but the lefty struck out Will Smith to end the threat. In the top of the second, Adam Duvall had to leave the game with a lower back injury and it was later revealed he will miss the rest of the postseason.
Fried again allowed two men to reach in the bottom of the second, but escaped trouble for a second consecutive inning. The top of the fourth represented a chance for Atlanta to extend the lead as Dansby Swanson and Christian Pache, replacing Duvall, drew walks.
Buehler buckled down and retired Nick Markakis and Austin Riley and an inning and a half later, the Dodgers tied the game as Kike Hernandez homered off of Fried, Los Angeles' first hit off of the Atlanta starter and despite allowing a single to Corey Seager, the game remained tied.
Consecutive singles in the top of the sixth by Travis d'Arnaud and Ozzie Albies chased Buehler, who was relieved by Brusdar Graterol and he got the next three Atlanta hitters to escape the danger.
The next chance in the game came in the top of the eighth when Marcell Ozuna led off with a double against Dodgers reliever Dustin May and after two failed attempts to get him over, Swanson was intentionally walked and may hit pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval.
Charlie Culberson was the next pinch-hitter to take a crack at driving home the go-ahead run, but May struck him out. Atlanta turned to Will Smith and he easily retired Los Angeles in order in the bottom of the eighth, setting the stage for the Braves in the top of the ninth.
Riley homered to make it 2-1, Ronald Acuna Jr. doubled, Freeman moved him to third and Ozuna singled him home to make it 3-1. Jake McGee came in to strike out d'Arnaud, but Albies blasted a two-run homer and in the bottom of the ninth, Mark Melancon got three ground outs to secure Atlanta's victory.
Game 2 is Tuesday at 6:40pm. Atlanta will send Ian Anderson, who sported a 1.95 ERA during the regular season, to the mound while Los Angeles will turn to Tony Gonsolin after announcing that the original starter, Clayton Kershaw was scratched due to back spasms.