Freddie Freeman singled home the winning run in the 13th inning, finally ending the longest scoreless duel in postseason history as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the opener of their NL wild-card series on Wednesday.
The East champion Braves won the first game of a postseason series for the first time since the 2001 NL Division Series and can wrap up the best-of-three series on Thursday. If they do, it will snap a record-tying streak of 10 straight playoff round losses.
What began as a pitching showdown between between Cy Young contenders Trevor Bauer of the Reds and Atlanta’s Max Fried devolved into a strikeout contest.
The teams combined for a postseason record 37 Ks – 21 by the Braves. After a couple of hits in the 13th against Archie Bradley, Freeman drove one into centre field off Amir Garrett against a five-man infield with one out to end a game that dragged on for more than 4 1/2 hours.
The clubs combined to use 14 pitchers and it lasted so long that the lights came on at Truist Park in the 13th – for a game that began just after noon on a sunny day.
It was historic as the first postseason game to be scoreless after 11 innings, but hardly a masterpiece.
With the designated runner at second base no longer in play for postseason games, two teams that rely heavily on the long ball took turns just flailing away at the plate.
Mostly, all they stirred up was a stiff breeze.
Dickerson homers as Marlins beat Cubs 5-1 in playoff opener
CHICAGO — Corey Dickerson hit a three-run homer off a fading Kyle Hendricks in the seventh inning, and the Miami Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 5-1 on Wednesday in Game 1 of their NL wild-card series.
Jesus Aguilar also homered and Sandy Alcantara pitched three-hit ball into the seventh as Miami conjured up memories of past playoff magic in the franchise’s first postseason game since it won the World Series in 2003. The Marlins, who rallied past the Cubs in a memorable NLCS that year, have never lost a playoff series.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Thursday. Yu Darvish starts for the Central champion Cubs, while rookie right-hander Sixto Sanchez pitches for upstart Miami.
The last time the Marlins scored five or more runs in an inning during a playoff game was Oct. 14, 2003, at Wrigley Field, when the club scored eight times in the eighth during Game 6 of the NLCS. That outburst included fan Steve Bartman deflecting Luis Castillo’s foul ball as Cubs left fielder Moises Alou tried to make a leaping catch.
Goldschmidt, Cardinals win 7-4 in Padres' return to playoffs
SAN DIEGO — Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run during a four-run first inning, St. Louis’s bullpen held strong after starter Kwang Hyun Kim stumbled in his playoff debut and the Cardinals ruined the San Diego Padres' long-awaited return to the playoffs with a 7-4 victory Wednesday in the opener of their NL wild-card series.
The Cardinals need one more win to eliminate the Padres from the post-season for the fourth time since 1996. They swept the Padres in the NL Division Series in 1996 and 2005, and won 3-1 in 2006, which was the last time San Diego made the postseason. Game 2 is Thursday.
The Cardinals got a chance to catch their breath with two days off before this series began. That came after a season-closing grind that saw them play 53 games in 44 days, including 11 doubleheaders, with only two days off.
Seager homers, Dodgers edge Brewers 4-2 in wild-card opener
LOS ANGELES — Mookie Betts had two hits and an RBI, Corey Seager homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 in the opener of their NL wild-card series on Wednesday night.
The eight-time West champion Dodgers capitalized early in a bullpen game for the Brewers and can wrap up the best-of-three series on Thursday. Milwaukee – a playoff entrant despite a losing record – limped into the post-season as the No. 8 seed without its best starter and reliever, who are hurt.
The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead on a leadoff double by Betts and four walks by left-hander Brent Suter in the first, tying for the most walks by a pitcher in a single inning in post-season history. Betts scored when Will Smith drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded. Seager walked and scored on AJ Pollock’s bases-loaded walk.
Suter needed 32 pitches to get out of the inning. The left-hander gave up three runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings. His five walks were a career high, and he didn’t record a strikeout.