Pearly king Pederson blasts Braves to brink over Brewers

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Joc Pederson blasted a three-run homer as the Atlanta Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five National League division series on Monday.

Pederson's fifth-inning shot deep into right field off Brewers' reliever Adrian Houser means Atlanta can now wrap up the series on Tuesday with a home victory in game four at Truist Park.

Braves pitcher Ian Anderson laid the foundation for the win, restricting the Brewers to three hits through five scoreless innings with six strikeouts.

The Braves bullpen then finished the job, shutting down the Brewers bats over the final four innings to seal victory.

It was another clutch home run for Pederson, who was traded to the Braves from the Chicago Cubs in July.

Pederson, who has taken to wearing a string of pearls around his neck during this season's playoffs, also hit a home run in Friday's game one loss.

The 29-year-old outfielder, a key member of the Los Angeles Dodgers World Series-winning line-up last season, has hit 11 postseason career home runs, a knack of delivering in the playoffs that has earned the nickname "Joctober".

"He's been in these situations a lot," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That guy's got no heartbeat at all -- it's like he's on the playground.

"Playing against him in the postseason these last few years you could tell that. He's a very focused and talented young man.

"He's been in the big moments and been on the big stage and performed and other guys respect that. We've enjoyed having him here."

Elsewhere in the playoffs on Monday, the Houston Astros' bid to wrap up their American League division series against the Chicago White Sox was delayed by 24 hours after poor weather in Chicago.

The Astros lead the series 2-1 and could have completed victory on Monday with a win at the Sox's Guaranteed Rate Field.

Game four will now take place on Tuesday, with a game five, if needed, returning to Houston on Wednesday.

"I really appreciate the swiftness that the league office made this decision," Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

"That gives us time to do whatever you got to do. It gives both sides another chance at resting their bullpen, but we'll see the effects of it tomorrow."

Elsewhere on Monday, the Boston Red Sox can punch their ticket to the AL Championship Series if they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. The Red Sox lead the series 2-1.

In Los Angeles, the defending champion Dodgers will be bidding to take a 2-1 lead in their NL division series against the San Francisco Giants in game three.