When Hanley Ramirez doubled to score a run in the first inning of Game 2 of the NLDS Friday, it felt as if the Dodgers might have the same kind of offensive eruption in as they did in Game 1 against the Braves.
It didn’t happen that way, but Los Angles didn’t need a big hit to tie the game in the seventh with one out and runners on first and third. The Dodgers just needed lead-off man Carl Crawford to hit a ground ball, avoid a double play and allow Skip Schumaker to score from third.
A double play is what happened, however, just like it did two previous times in the game.
Crawford hit sharply to pitcher Luis Avilan, who pivoted and threw to shortstop Andrelton Simmons covering second. Simmons fired to first baseman Freddie Freeman in time to get Crawford.
“We felt like if (Crawford) got it on the ground they’re not going to get two unless it’s just a bullet right at somebody,” Dodgers manger Don Mattingly said. “That’s a big-league play. Many times you’ll see guys not make that play… . Simmons, he makes a nice play and he’s got a cannon (arm).”
All night the Dodgers set the table only to have the Braves clear it with double plays and timely pitches.
The Dodgers led off the second, third and fourth innings with lead-off singles. But double plays helped erase the threats in the second and third and in the fourth Braves starter Mike Minor retired three batters in a row to leave Adrian Gonzalez stranded.
The Dodgers threatened to score in the sixth inning when Ramirez hit another one-out double. After Adrian Gonzalez struck out, Yasiel Puig hit a high bouncer to third baseman Chris Johnson and just beat the throw to first. But Minor got Uribe to swing at a curve ball for strike three.
Ramirez hit a high-arching two-run homer off David Carpenter in the eighth to cut Atlanta’s lead to 4-3 with no outs.
“Hanley hits the homer, we’re within one and we’re going to have six outs to score,” Mattingly said. “The game has changed for us again.”
Carpenter settled down and struck out Gonzalez and Puig, who dug an 0-2 hole by swinging at two pitches far out of the strike zone.
“What do you want me to do, say he swung at a bad ball?” Mattingly said. “That’s what we do. He’s an aggressive guy. He’s going to be on the attack and he’s going to chase sometimes.”
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel came on to retire Juan Uribe to end the inning and finished the Dodgers in the ninth.