ATLANTA — It had been 20 years since Atlanta last hosted a National League Championship Series game, and after what we’ve seen the past 48 hours, the World Series could soon be coming too.
Eddie Rosario became the latest Atlanta hero with a walk-off single, leading Atlanta to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a frenzied crowd of 41,873 at Truist Field.
Just like that, Atlanta has a stunning 2-0 lead over the Dodgers in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers, of course, are too deep, too talented and too experienced to panic, but they’re in trouble.
The Dodgers will remind themselves of a year ago when they also were down 2-0 to Atlanta in the NLCS – and also 3 games to 1 – but stormed back and won three in a row in Arlington, Texas en route to their first World Series title since 1988.
Atlanta hasn't forgotten, either.
“God, we just had to win one game,’’ Atlanta manager Brian Snitker says, “which, as we see, is really hard to do. I mean, we were in a good spot and had to win one game and they went out and I think they took that same approach. They had to win one game for three days in a row and did. …
“You don’t ever take anything for granted in any series or any day in baseball.’’
The Dodgers may have cost themselves by trying to be too cute on Sunday. They were leading 4-2 in the eighth inning when they decided to use 20-game winner Julio Urias.
The move backfired in a hurry. Rosario led off with a single and took second on Freddie Freeman’s fly out. Ozzie Albies drove in Rosario with a single to right, sneaking in ahead of the throw by right fielder Steven Souza.
Austin Riley, the hero in Game 1 with his walk-off single, delivered again, hitting a double over the head of Mookie Betts in center field, tying the game at 4-apiece.
“It’s just really cool to see his growth as a player, to see his experience over the last two or three years really pay off to this point,’’ Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson says. “Obviously to be doing it on a stage like this is special for somebody that's still so young. I love him to death.’’
In the ninth, instead of turning to Kenley Jansen, they turned to middle reliever Brusdar Graterol. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud greeted him with a single, and after a failed bunt attempt and a groundout, Rosario stepped to the plate with two outs.
He smacked a hard liner off the glove of shortstop Corey Seager, squirting into center field, as Swanson danced home.
The NLCS now heads to Los Angeles which has become a house of horrors for Atlanta. Atlanta has lost seven consecutive games and 10 of its last 11 games at Dodger Stadium, and was just swept in a three-game series Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Chavez Ravine.
There’s no reason to take it personal. The Dodgers are beating up everyone at home, winning a franchise-record 15 consecutive home games at the end of the regular season, and two of three in the postseason.
“I don't have to remind them of anything,’’ Snitker says. “I think that they're going to realize, and we all do, last year when we were up 3-1, how hard it is to win a baseball game.
“Just the experiences that these guys get, and got last year in the NLCS, it's going to be good for them going forward.’’
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Braves walk off Dodgers in NLCS Game 2, Eddie Rosario plays hero