Following up on Clayton Kershaw’s up-and-down performance in game 1, Zack Greinke lasted six innings before giving way to the Dodger bullpen.
While Greinke wasn’t dominated by Braves batters, he certainly wasn’t his dominant self.
Questions about the health and fatigue of the Dodgers aces are sure to be revisited in the coming days.
In dire need of a victory, the Braves turned to Mike Minor who pitched a gem in his postseason debut.
Minor allowed eight hits, but was able to escape multiple jams and preserved the one-run lead the Braves held for much of the game.
Despite the anemic offensive performance, the Dodgers were able to keep the game close until the seventh inning, when manager Don Mattingly made one puzzling decision after another.
With Jose Constanza set to pinch hit for the Braves, Mattingly opted to lift hard-throwing Chris Winthrow in favor of Paco Rodriguez. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez then countered by replacing Constanza with Reed Johnson.
In another strange decision, Mattingly had Rodriguez intentionally walk Johnson, loading the bases with two outs and Jason Heyward due up.
Before Mattingly could second-guess himself, the Braves extended their lead to 4-1 on a Heyward base hit.
Just how costly were Mattingly’s decisions? Hanley Ramirez connected on a two-run home run the following inning, but the Dodgers still trailed 4-3.
The loss moved the Dodgers record to 4-53 in games where they trailing after seven innings, which is good for worst in the NL.
The series now shifts to Los Angeles with both teams in position to advance to the NLCS with two wins.
NLDS schedule and probables
Game 3: Sunday, October 6, Dodger Stadium: Hyun-jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00) vs. Julio Teheran (13-8, 3.09), 5:00 p.m. PDT.
Game 4: Monday, October 7, Dodger Stadium: Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70) vs. Freddy Garcia (4-7, 4.37), 6:30 p.m. PDT.
*Game 5: Wednesday, October 9, Turner Field: 5:30 p.m. PDT.