Ozuna mishap costs Braves as World Series wait continues

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Atlanta Braves' Marcell Ozuna watches after getting called out at home after leaving third early during the third inning in Game 5 of a baseball National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Marcell Ozuna and the Atlanta Braves got a little ahead of themselves.

Now they’ll have to wait at least another day for the franchise’s first World Series in 20 years.

Ozuna left early on what would have been a sacrifice fly with his team leading in the third inning, and the game soon turned in Los Angeles’ favor as the Dodgers stayed alive in the NL Championship Series with a 7-3 victory in Game 5 on Friday night.

The Braves still have a 3-2 series lead after a bullpen game that started well but went awry, with their top two starters lined up for the final two games. Left-hander Max Fried pitches for the NL East champions on Saturday.

“Hopefully he can go seven innings tomorrow, eight innings,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Our team right now, this is the guy who we want.”

A night after hitting two homers in a 10-2 win, Ozuna started off the bag at third base when Dansby Swanson hit a liner to right field with Atlanta already off to a 2-0 lead.

Realizing Mookie Betts had a chance to make the catch, Ozuna retreated to the base, but still pulled his foot off too soon as Betts made a running, lunging catch just above his shoe tops.

Betts struggled to get the ball out of his glove as he was running toward the plate, and his off-balance throw was late as Ozuna slid headfirst at home. But third baseman Justin Turner was already standing at third waving his arms, and several Dodgers in the dugout had noticed as well.