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    And, no, using Treinen as early as the fourth inning wasn’t in the script.
    “That wasn’t part of the scenarios,” Roberts conceded with a nervous laugh. “I just felt that at that point in time, I didn’t think the ball was coming out right for Tony as far as execution, and I didn’t want the game to get away from us and the best person at that time was Blake. If we were to get through that situation, we’ll figure out a way to piece the game together.”
    And they did. Aided by Justin Turner’s heads-up play to escape that fourth-inning jam, Treinen retired all five batters he faced. Brusdar Graterol pitched around a one-out walk in the sixth with a pair of strikeouts. Enrique Hernández slugged his tying home run in the bottom of the sixth Mike Piazza Dodgers Jersey, and Roberts brought on Urías and stayed with him as he flawlessly mowed through the Atlanta order, nine up and nine down. Roberts insisted that every decision was about winning Game 7, and not using Kershaw and Jansen leaves them rested for Game 1 of the World Series, which opens on Tuesday. Kershaw — who started Game 4 on Thursday after being scratched from Game 2 with back spasms — would be starting on regular rest, but Roberts hasn’t announced any World Series plans.
    Urías, now 4-0 this postseason, is just the sixth pitcher in MLB history to finish a postseason Game 7 victory with at least three scoreless innings of relief; he’s the third pitcher to throw at least three perfect innings and earn a win in a postseason game and just the fourth Dodger to allow zero hits in a postseason appearance of at least three innings.
    “Julio is very talented, very smart and he’s very tough,” said Roberts. “We’ve kind of handled him over the last four years with kid gloves. Put him in different roles, some that he hasn’t really liked and appreciated, which I totally get. But he just wants to pitch, compete and help the Dodgers win. Tonight, it was his moment. I wanted him to finish that game.”Being backed against the wall doesn’t faze the Dodgers, especially the fearless Walker Buehler, who added to his big-game resume on Saturday, when the Dodgers beat the Braves, 3-1, surviving a second consecutive elimination game to set up Sunday’s Game 7 for the National League championship.
    Once trailing in the series, 3-1, the Dodgers are trying to duplicate their comeback against the Astros in the 1981 NL Division Series, when they lost the first two and won the next three elimination games in a best-of-five. Entering 2020, 87 teams had fallen behind 3-1 in any best-of-seven postseason series Sandy Koufax Jersey. Only 17 of those (20 percent) won the next two to force a Game 7. But that’s where the tide has historically turned.
    Of those 17 teams, 13 went on to win Game 7, most recently the 2016 Cubs in the World Series against the Indians. The Dodgers will be playing a winner-take-all postseason game for a sixth straight season, having gone 2-3 in the previous five.
    Starting for the third consecutive year in an October game with high drama, Buehler pitched six scoreless innings, none more pivotal than the second. Having just enjoyed watching Corey Seager and Justin Turner slug back-to-back homers in a three-run first inning, Buehler opened the top of the second by allowing three consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs.
    Seager hits 5th NLCS HR in LA’s big 1st frame
    Somehow, the Braves didn’t score.
    “He doesn’t panic and loves the great moments,” said manager Dave Roberts. “The great ones make great pitches and big pitches in big spots. And he’s done that time and time again.” Buehler is often reminded — as if he’s forgotten — of his first career postseason start as a rookie in the 2018 NLDS, when a similar bases-loaded jam (also against the Braves) led to a Ronald Acu?a Jr. grand slam. But that was then.
    This time, Buehler fired three 98 mph fastballs past Austin Riley Jackie Robinson Jersey, caught Nick Markakis looking at a 99.7 mph fastball (the second-fastest strikeout pitch of Buehler’s career) and got rookie Cristian Pache on a groundout in an escape for the ages.
    “It’s like he loaded the bases, and then he kind of elevated his game there,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker.
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    “Those failures teach you things,” Buehler said when asked about 2018. “At the end of the day, it’s all about your heartbeat. You go through things like that, your heartbeat kind of changes and slows down. I feel like my breathing was good. I know it sounds weird, and I felt calm.
    “I’ve failed in those moments. I can handle those failures, I’ve been good after it, and that failure really doesn’t scare me anymore. Obviously, you don’t want to fail. There’s a different feeling when you’re not scared of that failure.”
    Buehler’s start marked the seventh time a Dodgers pitcher has thrown six-plus innings in a postseason elimination game. It had last happened in Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS, with Jose Lima’s shutout of the Cardinals. At age 26, Buehler also matched teammate Clayton Kershaw with his third career postseason start of at least six scoreless innings. That’s a franchise record.
    “You just watch [Buehler's] demeanor there, calm and collected, and [he] ends up getting out of it, and then you see the emotion after the fact, where I think a lot of guys probably get emotional and ride that roller coaster after the first strikeout and maybe lose focus on the next hitter,” said Turner. “His mound presence is just unbelievable, and [he] pitches big game after big game for us.” Take your pick as to which inning turned this game around, the bottom of the first or the top of the second. The Dodgers wouldn’t score again, as Braves starter Max Fried regrouped and pitched into the seventh inning.
    Buehler went six innings, having “emptied the tank,” said Roberts, who watched Blake Treinen allow a run in the seventh, Pedro Báez go 1-2-3 in the eighth and, yes, Kenley Jansen close it out with an uneventful ninth for the save. After walking five Braves in a Game 1 no-decision, Buehler struck out six without a walk in Game 6. While his teammates were still fired up from their comeback win in Game 5, Buehler remained calm, refusing to panic just because his breaking pitches weren’t sharp. He credited the calm to catcher Austin Barnes, who wasn’t supposed to start. But when Chris Taylor turned his ankle on Friday night, the domino effect slid first-string catcher Will Smith to designated hitter and put Barnes behind the plate. And even though the Braves are statistically one of the best fastball-hitting teams in the game, Buehler’s 99 mph heater was beating them. That’s what he kept throwing, because that’s what Barnes kept calling.
    “You want to use the adrenaline in big games like this Cody Bellinger Jersey, but sometimes that can spin you out a little bit, even when you feel like you’re embracing it,” Buehler said. “So, to be honest with you, I’ve never felt that calm in a baseball game, maybe in my career, especially in a spot like that. Barnes steered me through it, that’s really all there is to it. We made the pitches we needed to to get out of it, but the way he guided me through it was about as good as I’ve ever seen.
    “You have these game plans and things you want to try to do, and at the end of the day, Barnes has the best view of the baseball coming out of my hand of anyone on the field. Him and Will, I’m going to trust what they see and what they want to do more than my guess. I liked where we were at.” And when a catcher calls for a fastball, Buehler rarely argues.
    “It’s my best pitch, I don’t know what else to say,” he said. “Teams do what they do, I do what I do. At the end of the day, that’s my best pitch, and in a spot like that, I was lucky to put them in the right spot.”
    Buehler delivered this season-saving performance while managing finger blisters that have plagued him for six weeks. Former teammate Rich Hill advised him to undergo laser therapy, throw daily with the blisters covered and use Stan’s Rodeo Rub, a concoction developed by Stan Johnston, a former Dodgers trainer who before that was a rodeo bull rider. Johnston invented the rub to help heal blisters he developed from the rope used to tie him to bucking bulls.
    It helped, too, that Atlanta’s three hardest-hit balls off Buehler turned into outs, including Marcell Ozuna’s long fly that ended the fifth inning when four-time Gold Glove Award winner Mookie Betts flagged it at the top of the wall with a typically spectacular leaping catch. Betts was so impressed, he broke into a happy dance leaving the field.
    “An unbelievable play by an unbelievable player,” said Seager.




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