And this game really wasn't even that close. The football score from Sunday night's NLDS Game 3 was led by the Dodgers' 13 runs, which was the most the Dodgers had scored in a postseason game since the 1956 World Series. For those of us that were there, as I was, it was an incredibly satisfying game to see.
Not that it didn't start with a bit of a scare. Cognizant that the winners of Game 3 in a five-game series have gone on to win the series 14 out of 15 times, Dodger fans had to feel worried when the Braves came out fast and feasted on Hyun-Jin Ryu early, staking a 2-0 lead in the first. Carl Crawford singled and took second on a WP with none out in the bottom of the first, but couldn't score, deflating the crowd. Ryu had a 1-2-3 top of the second inning to help, but you could still cut the tension with a knife.
And then came the bottom of the second. Leadoff singles to Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe gave cause for hope, and Puig eventually came around to score when Ryu poked a sacrifice fly to right (2-1, Atlanta). But before you could blink an eye, Carl Crawford hit a shot into the right field bullpen to make it 4-2 Dodgers (scoring Uribe and A.J. Ellis, who walked). And the place started going nuts.
The Braves quickly notched two more runs in the third to make things worrisome again (tie game at 4). And then Hanley Ramirez led off with a monster double, scoring on Adrian Gonzalez' RBI single; Puig forced out Gonzalez at second but took second base after the Braves' attempt to turn the DP led to a Elliot Johnson throwing error. Despite the out, Puig's turn from so far up the first base line (almost on the outfield grass) and then hustle and slide into second created even more energy from the crowd. Skip Schumaker knocked Puig in with a single to left, and suddenly it was 6-4 Dodgers. Braves starter Julio Teheran had been chased. Sighs of relief abounded.
The Dodgers added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it 13-4 (all three runs scoring off of small ball play). And the crowd went wild, and kept going wild. It was great.
The Dodgers' offense was a juggernaut. Crawford: 2-for-5 with 3 RBI. Ramirez: 3-for-4 with 2 RBI. Gonzalez: 2-for-5 with 2 RBI. Puig: 3-for-5 with 2 RBI. Uribe: 2-for-5 with 2 RBI. Mark Ellis was the only Dodgers position player in the starting lineup without a hit tonight.
There were some causes for concern, most notably Ryu, who lasted only 3.0 IP (68 pitches), did not look sharp all night (though to be fair, the strike zone was called a little strangely by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck), and Ryu made two bad fielding errors (failing to cover first on a DP; picking up a squibbler that he should have let roll foul which allowed a Braves runner to score). Chris Capuano ended up getting the win with three scoreless innings after Ryu.
But that energy in the Stadium--I will talk about it later in a At-Game Recap, but it was absolutely incredible. What a great evening for the Dodgers and all Dodgers fans. Let's keep it rolling!