ATLANTA — Tyler Matzek had almost no room for error when he was summoned to pitch in the seventh inning with the Braves holding a two-run lead Saturday night.
The Dodgers had just rallied for a run against ineffective reliever Luke Jackson and had runners on second and third base with nobody out. Soon, the Dodgers would be swinging at air.
In succession, the left-hander struck out Albert Pujols, Steven Souza Jr. and Mookie Betts, killing the Dodgers’ last rally. Matzek returned to the mound in the eighth and retired the side in order. He finished the NLCS with 11 strikeouts in five innings.
“My job is simple: It’s go ahead, get out there and just try to strike guys out,” Matzek said after the Braves advanced to the World Series with a 4-2 victory in Game 6 of the NLCS at Truist Park. “That is what I’m trying to do [in the seventh]. I know we have got no outs, runner on third and runner on second. I can’t let a pop up or a ground ball go through. I am looking to get those guys out and strike them out. It’s a simple job. Just go out there and throw my best stuff and I was lucky that my best stuff worked tonight.”
Tyler Matzek celebrates after striking out the side in the seventh inning of the Braves’ 4-2 NL pennant-clinching win over the Dodgers. USA TODAY Sports…