NLCS: Base-running disaster, Justin Turner defense cut short potentially big Braves inning

Jason Owens
·2-min read
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tags Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson in a run down during the fourth inning in Game 7 of a baseball National League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Justin Turner made the Braves pay for a pair of base-running mistakes in Game 7. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Atlanta Braves had everything in place for a huge inning early during Game 7 of the NLCS on Sunday.

Then disaster ensued.

A pair of base-running errors led to a Los Angeles Dodgers double play and ensured that Atlanta would not blow things open in the fourth inning of a game the Dodgers went on to win, 4-3.

Atlanta had runners on second and third base with no outs and a run scored in the inning on an RBI single from Austin Riley.

Nick Markakis came to the plate with first base open after a wild pitch advanced Riley. The top of the Braves order was two batters away.

Swanson makes ill-fated move for home

Markakis hit a scorching grounder off Blake Treinen directly to third baseman Justin Turner.

Dansby Swanson took off from third base at the crack of the bat. This was Atlanta’s first mistake.

Riley makes bad situation worse

Turner anticipated Swanson’s move for home. Instead of going for the force out at first base, he threw home to catch Swanson in a rundown. As Dodgers defenders chased Swanson down and eventually tagged him out, Riley made a move from second to third base.

This was Atlanta’s second mistake of the inning.

After tagging Swanson out with a diving effort, Turner immediately turned to third base and fired a missile to Corey Seager, who tagged Riley out. The Dodgers scored a double play on an at-bat that started with first base empty.

And instead of keeping runners on second and third with one out and Ronald Acuña Jr. on deck, the Braves had Markakis on first with two outs. Cristian Pache grounded out in the next at-bat, and the Dodgers escaped the inning facing a 3-2 deficit.

It could have been a lot worse.

But thanks to a pair of critical base-running errors — and some stellar defense from Turner — the Dodgers kept things close before rallying to win the game and secure their spot in the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

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