Eddie Rosario’s game for the ages puts Braves on cusp of World Series berth

Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario celebrates his ninth inning, three-run home run with teammates in the dugout during Game 4 at the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday Oct. 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario celebrates his ninth inning, three-run home run with teammates in the dugout during Game 4 at the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday Oct. 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

LOS ANGELES – Eddie Rosario will be remembered throughout Braves history.

Rosario delivered his second four-hit game in the National League Championship Series on Wednesday, helping the Braves to a 9-2 win over the Dodgers. They lead the NLCS 3-1, needing one more win to reach the World Series.

They wouldn’t be here without their July trade acquisitions. Rosario, Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson have solidified the lineup. But Rosario has reached another level in the NLCS.

In Game 4, he went 4-for-5, falling a double short of the cycle. In the series, Rosario is 10-for-17 with a triple, two homers, two walks, six RBIs and five runs scored.

“I feel proud of my efforts,” Rosario said via team interpreter Franco Garcia. “I came here and I wanted to show my name, showcase my talents and prove to the people the kind of ballplayer that I am. I feel like I had success in Minnesota, and I struggled a little bit in Cleveland, so when I came over here I definitely wanted to make sure that I showcased my talents appropriately and let people sort of demonstrate that this is the kind of ballplayer that I am, these are the skills that I have and the things that I can bring to a team.”

When asked about the difference between how he fared in Cleveland earlier this year against his time in Atlanta, Rosario noted one factor: “The weather. The first two months is 40 degrees all the time in Cleveland. And June is -- I’m hitting better. When it’s hot I feel better.”

The stats support it: In April and May, Rosario hit .232/.286/.348. From June 1 to the end of the regular season, he hit .283/.322/.515.

The Braves acquired Rosario from the Indians for a declining Pablo Sandoval and cash considerations. Rosario was sidelined with an abdominal injury, but once he returned, he further bolstered the team’s reimagined outfield.

But no one could’ve projected that he would be the leading candidate for NLCS MVP months later. Rosario just became the first player in postseason history with a triple, single and two homers in one game.

“This whole postseason he’s been pretty much unbelievable,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “When we traded for him, he was hurt and took about a month for him to get going. And you knew what kind of player – two years ago he hit 30-plus home runs. So he’s just been looking so good at the plate, seeing everything well, hitting balls hard, and it’s just a huge game and especially this whole series so far.”

Rosario entered his final at-bat needing a double for his second cycle of the season – he already achieved one last month in San Francisco. Instead, he cranked a three-run homer off Tony Gonsolin, extending the Braves’ lead to 9-2 in the eighth.

“Three RBI is better than a double,” Rosario said.

And a 3-1 lead is pretty good, too. The Braves need just one more victory over the Dodgers for their first World Series appearance since 1999.

If they get there, the national attention for Rosario and the Braves’ historically brilliant trade deadline will continue growing.

“I’m still dreaming for bigger things,” Rosario said. “I kind of want more at this point and just dreaming for the next thing and hopefully we can get there.”