NLCS Game 4 at a glance: Big nights from Rosario, Smyly and others

Braves center fielder Adam Duvall celebrates his solo home run with teammates in the dugout during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)
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Braves center fielder Adam Duvall celebrates his solo home run with teammates in the dugout during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

What you need to know about the Braves’ 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium:

Big win, big lead

The Braves are within one win of their first World Series since 1999. They blasted four home runs, including two by Eddie Rosario, and got a splendid performance all night from their bullpen. They have a three-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series and could clinch the pennant as soon as Thursday night. The Dodgers are faced with trying to overcome the same daunting deficit they did in last year’s NLCS.

Rosario’s special night

Rosario started the scoring with a solo homer in the second inning and ended it with a three-run homer in the ninth. In between, he had a triple and a single, finishing the game 4-for-5 and a double short of hitting for the cycle. For the series, he is an incredible 10-for-17.

Power surge

The Braves took command of the game with three solo homers in the first three innings off Dodgers starter Julio Urias, MLB’s only 20-game winner this season: back-to-back blasts by Rosario and Adam Duvall in the second inning and another by Freddie Freeman in the third. Rosario and Duvall also figured in the Braves’ fourth and fifth runs -- Rosario tripling and scoring in the third inning, Duvall driving home a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth for a 5-0 lead.

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Braves relief pitcher Drew Smyly delivers a pitch during the second inning of Game 4 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday Oct. 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Braves relief pitcher Drew Smyly delivers a pitch during the second inning of Game 4 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday Oct. 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)
Caption
Braves relief pitcher Drew Smyly delivers a pitch during the second inning of Game 4 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday Oct. 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Smyly re-emerges

After Braves “opener” Jesse Chavez pitched a hitless first inning, Drew Smyly followed him to the mound and proved crucial to the win. Smyly, who lost his spot in the starting rotation in late August, recorded 10 outs. He held the Dodgers hitless in the second through fourth innings before allowing back-to-back singles with one out in the fifth. Chris Martin then relieved Smyly and allowed a two-run single to AJ Pollock to score both inherited runners, cutting the Braves’ lead to 5-2. That remained the score until the ninth as A.J. Minter and Tyler Matzek combined for three scoreless innings out of the Braves’ bullpen.

Notable

- The win was the Braves’ first in Dodger Stadium since June 9, 2018, breaking their 10-game losing streak there.

- After going 0-for-8 in the first two games of the series, Freeman is 5-for-8 in the past two.

- Defensive gems: Ozzie Albies made a superb play on a ground ball up the middle in the first inning; Duvall made a leaping catch of a Gavin Lux drive at the center-field wall in the second.

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Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario hits a three-run home run in the ninth inning of 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

Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario hits a three-run home run in the ninth inning of Game 4 at the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday Oct. 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com)
Caption
Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario hits a three-run home run in the ninth inning of 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

Credit: Curtis Compton

- The home runs by Rosario and Duvall marked the Braves’ third set of back-to-back postseason homers. The others: Brian Jordan/Ryan Klesko in Game 4 of the 1999 NLCS and Javy Lopez/Vinny Castilla in Game 2 of the 2002 NLDS.

- Chavez got the “opener” nod after Huascar Ynoa was scratched from the assignment with a sore shoulder, which will sideline him for the rest of the postseason.

- Urias, pitching on two days’ rest after a relief appearance in Game 2, struggled through five innings, allowing eight hits and five runs.

- Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left the game with a hamstring injury after the seventh inning.

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