Dodgers' 3 first-inning runs force NLCS Game 7 vs. Braves

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Corey Seager and Justin Turner homered, and Dodgers starter Walker Buehler and three relievers shut down the Atlanta Braves in a 3-1 win in Game 6.
Walker Buehler, the young ace the Dodgers once again needed when the stakes were highest, was in a messy predicament in the second inning of the Dodgers' 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday.

Three Atlanta Braves had delivered consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. The bottom third of Atlanta's lineup was next. The Dodgers' early three-run lead was hanging by a thread. In response, Buehler vaulted to another level.

The right-hander fired three fastballs past Austin Riley for a strikeout. Then he fired six more to Nick Markakis. The sixth traveled 100 mph. Markakis kept his bat on his shoulder for strike three. Cristian Pache, a 21-year-old rookie, stood between Buehler and a clean escape.

Before the duel, catcher Austin Barnes walked to Buehler to solidify a plan. It was time to mix the pattern up. Buehler peppered the zone with a 99-mph for strike one, but he then went with a 94-mph cutter that Pache fouled off. Then Pache fouled back a 98-mph fastball. Finally, Buehler let off the gas. He spun a slider. Pache hit a ground ball to shortstop Corey Seager, who made a backhanded stop for the third out.

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Buehler pounded his blue glove. "Let's go!" he yelled on his walk back to the dugout. It was the Braves' best chance to derail Buehler and they failed. They ended up scoring just one run — against Blake Treinen in the seventh inning.

Kenley Jansen, pitching for the second straight day, earned the save with a one-…
Jorge Castillo
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