12:29 AM ET
ARLINGTON, Texas — The moment of truth came early, in the top of the second. The Los Angeles Dodgers scored three first-inning runs, but the Atlanta Braves followed by loading the bases with nobody out. Sports history is littered with moments like this — when the desperate team comes out hot, gets deflated when the opponent responds and never fully recovers. The man striving to prevent that on this Saturday afternoon was Walker Buehler. Early on, he knew his off-speed pitches were not sharp. With the game already in the balance, threatening to unravel, Buehler knew what he needed do:
He needed to attack baseball’s best fastball-hitting team with fastballs.
Of the 13 pitches that followed, 11 were four-seam fastballs. All were thrown 98 mph or above. Four touched 99. Another reached 100. The result: strikeout, strikeout, groundout. Threat neutralized. Season protected.
“At the end of the day,” Buehler said, “that is my best pitch.”
The Dodgers, tested like they hadn’t been all year, prevailed again with everything on the line, defeating the Braves by a 3-1 score in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. There will be a Game 7.