And before this, the Braves hadn’t won a four-game series at this ballpark since 2009.
The Braves, the first team in the majors to 90 victories, have won six straight games and eight of nine on this road trip.
1. With two outs in the top of the 10th, whether intentional or not, Dodgers reliever Alex Vesia pitched around Sean Murphy, with Orlando Arcia due up next.
This didn’t surprise Arcia.
“No, I was kind of hoping for that,” Arcia said later through interpreter Franco García. “Even if Murph got a hit, I still wanted to face him.”
See, Arcia seems to live for these moments. He possesses a calmness that allows him to excel in them. He isn’t close to the best hitter on this club, but he undoubtedly has some of the biggest hits.
Arcia blasted a go-ahead, three-run home run, which quieted the Dodger Stadium crowd. Los Angeles was an out away from sending it to the bottom half, and needing only a run to win, but Arcia crushed those hopes with one swing.
“He’s another one that’s got a slow heartbeat,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He doesn’t get caught up in the situation. I look up there ever night and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, he’s had one heck of a year.’”
This season, Arcia has exceeded expectations offensively. He has 17 home runs and 55 RBIs. The homers are a career high, and he needs to drive in four more runs to match his career high in RBIs.
No one outside of the Braves’ clubhouse expected this.
“Super happy for him, super happy for the success he’s had this season,” Ronald Acuña Jr. said through García. “I feel like he’s made for big moments, and we all saw that tonight.”
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Braves summoned reliever Michael Tonkin in a tie game. He set down the order in a quiet frame, ending it by striking out superstar Mookie Betts looking.
The Braves took full advantage of this. With two outs, Murphy walked, which brought up Arcia.
He sent a 427-foot shot into the night to give the Braves a gratifying victory.
“It’s good,” Snitker said of his team’s heart. “I think it does them well that they’ve been through these wars before, and the big stadiums, the big moments. And they don’t panic. They don’t panic. They just keep playing the game. They’ve experienced every situation you can in our game. And it’s somebody different all the time.”
2. In the bottom of the third inning, with his team up a run, Bryce Elder loaded the bases. The Dodgers strung together a few good at-bats. The crowd began getting louder. This seemed like the moment when this game could’ve gotten away from a 24-year-old pitcher.
Instead, Elder rolled a double-play ball. Yes, a run scored. But then he retired the next batter to avoid further damage.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Dodgers loaded the bases on Elder again. Facing Betts, a contender for National League MVP, Elder held strong and struck out Betts looking to throw up a zero.
These situations were representative of Elder’s poise, which might be his best quality. Nothing seems to rattle him.
“I think it helps,” Elder said of his ability to remain poised in any spot. “I think there’s for sure times where things do speed up on me, but just trying to realize that sooner than everybody else. That’s kind of all I try to do. Just try to keep going and go get the next guy out once I get the guy before him out.”
He allowed five hits and walked four batters.
Still, he held the Dodgers to that one run over six innings in his first start at Dodger Stadium. He felt his stuff was better than it had been over the last couple weeks.
Elder allowed at least one batter to reach base in the first five of his six innings. He loaded the bases twice.
Against one of baseball’s best offenses, it didn’t matter.
“I think it’s always good to put together some good innings against a team as good as they are,” Elder said. “But I think regardless of who the team is, everybody’s pretty good at this level. I think I gotta keep executing pitches and I think there’s some stuff I can tighten up, but I was pleased with it overall.”
3. Sometimes in baseball, we utilize certain verbs to describe how hard someone hit a home run: Pulverized, demolished, detonated, launched.
You can feel comfortable that no verb you use to describe Acuña Jr.’s latest homer would be hyperbole. In fact, you might accidentally understate it.
In the top of the third inning, Acuña destroyed a solo home run off Emmet Sheehan that became the hardest-hit ball in the majors this season, according to Baseball Savant. It left the Braves star’s bat at 121.2 mph.
Acuña’s homer was the third-hardest homer since tracking began in 2015. It was also the sixth-hardest hit ball in that span.
“Pretty happy,” Acuña said. “It’s always good to hit the ball well.”
4. Saturday marked the 11th time Elder has pitched at least six innings while giving up one or no runs this season.
He’s tied with Zack Wheeler for the second most such games in the sport this season. Arizona’s Zac Gallen has 12 of them.
This stat illustrates how often Elder has been dominant this season. He has a 3.42 ERA.
A lot of the damage against him came in one stretch: From July 9 through Aug. 10, Elder allowed at least five runs in four of his six starts. Otherwise, he’s been terrific this season.
5. On Sunday, the Braves will send Charlie Morton to the mound.
Over his last four starts, Morton surrendered only one run over 24 innings. He had 33 strikeouts and 11 walks in that span.
In the finale, he’ll look to help the Braves sweep the Dodgers.
Snitker is proud of this group, even if its biggest goals remain.
“Just how we’ve continued to play really good baseball all year,” Snitker said. “It’s been a solid year. The mission is not over yet, but I’m proud of the guys for how they come and play every day, and how they prepare and the consistency in the work, and the energy.”
Stat to know
6 - The Braves have six winning streaks of at least five games this season, most in the majors. For context, there are four teams who haven’t even had a single five-game winning streak.
“You come in here and hope to win the first game. You don’t ever come in here thinking you’re gonna win three, win four. You just take it a game at a time. (The Dodgers are) relentless. They’re so good, they’re so professional. And it’s really tough to do that. And we knew coming in it’d be a big series – two hyped up teams and they’ve had a great month, and they’ve been three really hard-fought games by both sides.” - Snitker on winning the series here
The Braves will face right-hander Bobby Miller in Sunday’s road trip finale, which begins at 4:10 p.m. ET.