When the Dodgers decided to bolster their already powerful lineup with Manny Machado’s bat, here’s what they had in mind: Lots of home runs, allowing them to push through to the final stages of the playoffs again.
Now, they are preparing to play the Championship Series for the third consecutive year.
Machado hit a three-run homer, for a total of four RBIs, and Los Angeles beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Monday night to finalize the NL division series.
“They’ve put a lot of expectations on him,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “We have a lot of good players, but there are no words to speak of the concentration and preparation that he shows.”
The Dodgers won the division series 3-1 against the Young Braves and will meet the Brewers for the Old Circuit title. The first meeting is scheduled for Friday in Milwaukee.
After a tense win avoiding the sweep in Game 3 of the series, the “Baby Braves” took the lead thanks to a two-run single by pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki in the fourth inning.
But David Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP with St. Louis, responded with a pinch single in the sixth off Brad Brach, which pushed Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig to beat Los Angeles 3-2. .
Machado virtually sentenced Atlanta to elimination in the seventh inning when he found a pitch from rookie Chad Sobotka with a 1-2 count and dumped the ball into the Dodgers bullpen. It was Los Angeles’ eighth home run in the series.
The star shortstop, acquired from Baltimore in July, also had an RBI double in the first act.
He hit just three hits in the series, but two were home runs, and he drove in six runs.
“I’m just sitting here enjoying this whole ride,” Machado said.
Ryan Madson (1-0) took the win by getting the last two outs of the fifth inning to escape a jam with the bases loaded. The last real possibility for the Braves was diluted in the eighth, when a long hit from Lucas Duda went to the second floor of the right field stands, but foul, with two men on board against Kenta Maeda.
Duda was removed with a back balloon and Atlanta left empty-handed in the ninth inning.
The Dodgers celebrated briefly and posed for some photos in the center of the SunTrust Park diamond. They have more ambitious goals. They haven’t won the World Series since 1988.
Atlanta’s return to the postseason, which had not played since 2013, produced a well-known result.
The Braves have lost nine consecutive playoff appearances, where their last winning series dates back 17 years, to a team that no longer plays in the National League. They swept the Houston Astros in the 2001 division series.
Since then, October has been a miserable month for Atlanta.
For the Dodgers, Machado 5-2 with one run scored and four produced. The Cubans Yasmani Grandal 5-0, Yasiel Puig 3-2 with a scored. Puerto Rican Kike Hernández 3-1.
For the Braves, Venezuelans Ronald Acuña 5-0, Ender Inciarte 3-1. The Panamanian Johan Camargo 3-0 with a scored.
Machado and Dodgers eliminate young Braves. AP