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Braves, Dodgers pushed to brink

NEW YORK (AFP) — Defending champion Atlanta and the Los Angeles Dodgers were pushed to the brink of elimination from the Major League Baseball playoffs after road losses on Friday.

Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper blasted home runs to power the Phillies over Atlanta, 9-1 while Trent Grisham’s solo homer for San Diego was the difference in a 2-1 triumph over the Dodgers.

“It was a big turning point,” Grisham said of his fourth-inning blast.

“You feel how important it is to the city and your teammates and to be able to do it is really important to me.”

The Padres and Phillies each seized a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five National League division series matchup and can advance with another home triumph Saturday.

“We’re excited about that opportunity,” Harper said.

“We can’t wait. Excited to be back home. We want to be able to do this for the next two weeks.”

San Diego has not reached the National League championship series since 1998 while the Phillies, in their first postseason appearance since 2011, haven’t gone that far since 2010.

In an American League game postponed from Thursday by rain, Oscar Gonzalez drove in one 10th-inning run and scored another to lift visiting Cleveland over the New York Yankees 4-2 and level their series 1-1 with games the next two days in Cleveland.

“We’re excited to go back home to our fans,” Guardians slugger Josh Naylor said.

“We’re going to bring the same energy we bring every day.”

At San Diego, Juan Soto doubled in the first inning and scored on Jake Cronenworth’s single up the middle to put the Padres ahead and Grisham’s homer made it 2-0.

The Dodgers, chasing their second World Series crown in three seasons, answered in the fifth when Trayce Thompson singled, took third on an Austin Barnes double and scored on a Mookie Betts sacrifice fly.

But the Dodgers couldn’t push across an equalizer, as winning pitcher Blake Snell struck out six and four Padres relievers struck out six more LA batters over 3 2/3 innings.

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