Atlanta Braves

Braves survive Dodgers scare, Rays roll over Astros to take 3-0 lead

Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman belted a two-run home run in the fourth inning as the Braves built a big lead then held off the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 in baseball's National League Championship Series.

In the NLCS contest, Joey Wendle and Hunter Renfroe each drove in two runs in the sixth inning as the Rays moved within one win of their second World Series appearance with a 5-2 victory over Houston.

The Braves, trying to return to the World Series for the first time since 1999, took charge early against a Dodgers team that endured a big blow with the late scratch of expected starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw with back spasms.

It still looked like Ozzie Albies 's home run in the top of the ninth was just window dressing for the Braves, giving them an 8-3 lead.

Cody Bellinger then delivered a run-scoring triple off Dodgers closing pitcher Mark Melancon , who was able to induce a ground out from Justin Turner to seal the win.

In San Diego, Renfroe and Kevin Kiermaier each made a pair of sterling defensive plays for the Rays, who seized a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

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