Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman reacts after striking out in the ninth inning of Sunday’s loss to the Dodgers. (Reuters)
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers last played a postseason game at Dodger Stadium, so forgive the sellout crowd Sunday for mocking Atlanta Braves fans by doing their own version of the Tomahawk Chop a number of times during Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
The fans had good reason to be in a playful mood, watching the Dodgers explode for 10 runs in the first four innings while cruising to a 13-6 win and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. The Dodgers would move on to the NL Championship Series with a win in Game 4 on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Carl Crawford struck the big blow, a three-run home run in a four-run second inning that set the tone of the game. Juan Uribe hit a two-run homer, Hanley Ramirez finished a home run short of hitting for the cycle, and Yasiel Puig collected three hits, three runs and two RBIs for the Dodgers, who totaled 14 hits.
“That’s definitely a big one to take the lead right there and get the team some momentum going into the rest of the game,” Crawford said of his home run off Braves starter Julio Teheran. “It was huge for us. It was at a point in the game where we could have fell back and got into a big hole.”
Instead, the 13 runs tied a franchise record for runs in a postseason game, matching the total the Brooklyn Dodgers put up against the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series.
Though the Dodgers’ offense was widespread Sunday, nobody is swinging the bat better than Ramirez, who went 3-for-4 with a single, a double, a triple, two runs and two RBIs. He is 7-for-13 with six extra-base hits in the series.
“I don’t know how he got out six times,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “He’s a pretty amazing hitter, easily the most talented hitter I’ve ever played with. He’s really locked in right now, he’s got a great approach. He hits all pitches, all speeds, all different types of pitchers. I’m really happy he’s my teammate.”
All the offense rendered meaningless a poor performance by Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in his first career postseason start. Ryu, who went 14-8 during the regular season, lasted just three innings, giving up four runs and six hits.
Chris Capuano, regularly a starter but on the postseason roster as a long reliever, got the victory with three scoreless innings in relief of Ryu. He didn’t allow a hit, though he walked the first batter in each of his three innings. Capuano struck out three.
“Obviously, Cappy was really good for us, right on time,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “A lot of stuff happened early, and by the time we got to him, it felt like it was a long game already. By the time we get to him, we just need to settle the game down. He gave us three innings to get to the back of the bullpen, and just put the game in order.”
Teheran, who like Ryu went 14-8 during his rookie season this year, was knocked out after 2 2/3 innings and took the loss. He allowed six runs on eight hits and one walk.
“He just left some balls out over the plate and made some mistakes,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “And with this (Dodgers) club, if you do that, you’re going to look down at a gas tank with a lighted match.”
Evan Gattis had three hits, and Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman each had two for the Braves, who also got a two-run homer in the ninth inning from Jason Heyward.
“You know what? It’s one of those games and you forget about it,” Gonzalez said. “I think if you look at the positive, it was a nine-run game in the ninth inning and they had to bring the closer in. We didn’t roll over.”
Dodgers right-hander Kenley Jansen struck out the only batter he faced, Brian McCann, to seal the win.
NOTES: RHP Freddy Garcia spent a large part of the season in Triple-A, but he will start for the Braves on Monday night in Game 4. Atlanta acquired Garcia in late August and he joined the big league club Sept. 1. He went 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA in six regular-season appearances for the Braves, including three starts. … RHP Ricky Nolasco is the Dodgers’ scheduled starter for Game 4 Monday night, but leading up to Game 3, Mattingly said he was not ruling out starting LHP Clayton Kershaw on three days’ rest if the Dodgers were to lose Game 3. That scenario will not come into play. … Mattingly and Gonzalez used the same starting lineups (except for the pitcher’s spot) in each of the series’ first three games.