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Andy Pages caps four-hit night with a walk-off single in Dodgers’ win over Braves

Dodgers rookie Andy Pages celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk-off single.
Dodgers rookie Andy Pages celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk-off single in the 11th inning of a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Two of the best teams in baseball convened at Chavez Ravine on Friday night, the National League West-leading Dodgers and NL East-leading Atlanta Braves opening a three-game series that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts promised would be “a good matchup, exciting for our fans and players.”

The clubs did not disappoint, entertaining a crowd of 50,859 with superb starting pitching, three home runs, clutch hits, a great defensive play, a key pickoff and a walk-off bloop hit in a game that was so good it could not be contained to nine innings.

Dodgers rookie outfielder Andy Pages delivered the decisive blow in the bottom of the 11th inning, fouling off two full-count pitches from reliever Jesse Chavez before blooping a one-out RBI single to shallow right-center field for a 4-3 victory, the Dodgers’ ninth win in 11 games.

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“Yeah, absolutely,” Roberts said when asked if the game was a reminder of how evenly matched these teams are, “and I don’t think that we needed tonight to validate that. On paper, they’re a very good ballclub, sort of put together to handle us with all those lefties in the bullpen. … There were a lot of good things today. It was a fun baseball game.”

The teams traded runs in the 10th inning, Braves pinch-runner Luke Williams scoring on Orlando Arcia’s sacrifice fly to left field to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead in the top half, and Shohei Ohtani poking a one-out single to center off Braves closer Raisel Iglesias to tie the score 3-3 in the bottom half.

Reliever Michael Grove gave the Dodgers a chance to win with a scoreless 11th in which he retired leadoff man Ronald Acu?a Jr. on a popup to shortstop, Ozzie Albies on a grounder to second and Austin Riley on a grounder to third.

With automatic runner Will Smith at second, Max Muncy was intentionally walked to open the bottom half of the 11th. Teoscar Hernández grounded into a fielder’s choice, putting runners on first and third with one out for Pages, who looked a little wobbly when he swung at three Chavez pitches that were well off the plate, fouling two off.

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But Pages fought off an inside cut fastball and fisted his fourth single of the night, his game-winner traveling all of 205 feet with an exit velocity of 63.4 mph but perfectly placed to spark a wild celebration with teammates in the infield.

“Every time he gets up there, it seems like he takes a good at-bat,” Roberts said of Pages. “The moment certainly doesn’t get too big for him. Shohei got that big hit in the 10th inning to tie the game, you saw the emotion, Braves-Dodgers, packed house, and Andy didn’t let that moment get too big.”

Teoscar Hernández gets a face full of sunflower seeds while celebrating with teammates after hitting a solo home run.
Teoscar Hernández gets a face full of sunflower seeds while celebrating with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Braves in the fourth inning Friday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Pages said his game plan in that final at-bat was to keep things simple.

“Just hit the ball forward,” he said through an interpreter. “It’s happened to me in the past where I get anxious and I don’t get the job done. This time I was just trying to stay calm, and things worked out.”

Pages, a 23-year-old from Cuba, has played only 15 games since his April 16 promotion to the big leagues, but he has impressed the Dodgers with his poise and production, batting .333 (20 for 60) with a .921 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, three homers, five doubles and 11 RBIs, and his defense in three outfield spots.

“We believed in the player, the person, but you have to come up here and perform,” Roberts said. “With a young player, you don’t know what you have. Right now, he’s checking a lot of boxes and he’s performing. He’s creating his own opportunities.

“A lot of young guys, the game starts to speed up, and you can see them start to expand. The moments start to get big, and the game starts to get quick. But Andy has been able to slow the game down, stay within himself, each night.”

Another Dodgers rookie, right-hander Gavin Stone, threw six stout innings in which he gave up one earned run and five hits, struck out six, walked one and leaned heavily on an 87-mph changeup that induced nine swinging strikes. He departed with a 2-1 lead.

Dodgers pitcher Gavin Stone delivers against the Braves in the first inning Friday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Braves starter Charlie Morton was almost as good, giving up two earned runs and five hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two.

Riley pulverized a 94-mph Stone fastball in the first, sending a 449-foot homer to left-center for a 1-0 lead that would have been 2-0 had Stone not picked off Acu?a at second base before Riley’s bomb.

The Dodgers threatened in the second when Pages, who extended his hitting streak to nine games, reached on a fielder’s-choice grounder and James Outman was hit by a pitch to put two on with two outs.

Gavin Lux stroked a single to left, and Pages was waved home by third base coach Dino Ebel. Atlanta left fielder Jarred Kelenic fired a 95-mph throw — accurate and on the fly — to catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who applied the tag on Pages to end the inning.

The Dodgers tied the score 1-1 in the third when Ohtani walked, stole second and scored on Smith’s two-out single to left-center, giving the Dodgers catcher 25 RBIs and tying Mookie Betts for the team lead.

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Hernández put the Dodgers in front in the fourth when he capped an eight-pitch at-bat by driving an up-and-away, 95-mph fastball over the right-center-field wall for a solo homer, his seventh, and a 2-1 lead.

Reliever Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless seventh for the Dodgers, but Acu?a clobbered a full-count, up-and-away fastball from Daniel Hudson over the left-field wall for a solo homer that tied the score 2-2 in the eighth.

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It was only the second homer and eighth RBI of the season for Acu?a, who hit .337 with a 1.012 OPS, 41 homers, 106 RBIs and 73 stolen bases during his MVP season last year. But his slow start didn’t make Acu?a any less dangerous in the eyes of the Dodgers.

“He’s one of the best players in baseball,” Roberts said. “He can beat you with the glove, the arm, certainly the foot speed, the bat, there’s slugging there. He’s just dangerous. … Yeah, seeing him [seven] times in the regular season is plenty.”

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Rehab report

Blake Treinen, sidelined since early March because of fractured ribs, threw scoreless innings in back-to-back games for triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday and Thursday, and Roberts said the veteran right-hander could be activated on this homestand. “My hope,” Roberts said, “is that that was the last [minor league game] that he needed.”

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Right fielder Jason Heyward, who has sat out a month because of lower-back tightness, took swings in the batting cage, ran at full speed and shagged balls in the outfield Friday but is at least a week away from beginning a minor league rehabilitation of three or four games.

“He’s taking a couple of big steps as far as being pain-free and how his body is moving,” Roberts said. “He’s in a good spot.”

Veteran left-hander Clayton Kershaw, six months removed from shoulder surgery, threw 15 pitches off a bullpen mound Friday, his first such workout in his recovery. Right-hander Bobby Miller, sidelined by shoulder inflammation on April 13, also threw off a bullpen mound and is expected to face hitters next week.

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Short hop

Betts was named N L player of the month after hitting .368 with a 1.101 OPS, six homers and 23 RBIs in March and April. It was the Dodgers shortstop’s second such recognition after earning the honor in August 2023.

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