Freeman, Albies HR again, Braves hang on for 2-0 NLCS lead

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Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. celebrates after scoring on a walk by Travis d'Arnaud during the fifth inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Ozzie Albies homered into the Braves bullpen in the ninth inning for the second straight night, and Mark Melancon once again caught the ball on the fly.

Atlanta had a five-run lead at the time. By the time the reliever was summoned to the mound, the lead was down to two. Melancon held on once again.

Freddie Freeman also homered for the second night in a row, and the streaking Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-7 on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.

Atlanta became the fourth team in major league history to begin a postseason 7-0 on a night made more remarkable by Melancon's bullpen grab.

“That’s more home runs than I’ve caught my entire life, let alone one season,” Melancon said. “Hopefully tomorrow night is three in a row.”

Atlanta led 7-0 in the seventh but the lead had dwindled to 8-6 when Melancon replaced Josh Tomlin with two outs in the bottom of the ninth after Corey Seager’s RBI double and Max Muncy’s two-run homer.

Albies extended the game with a fielding error on Will Smith’s grounder to second, and reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger hit an RBI triple. Melancon retired AJ Pollock on a grounder to third, ending the 4-hour, 12-minute game.

“I didn’t feel good with a big lead because these guys are too powerful, and that’s a good ballgame to win. They all are now,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot there at the end. Melancon did a great job coming in.”