"He kind of basically just put the game in order," manager Don Mattingly said.
Making his first career postseason appearance, Capuano walked the first batter he faced in all three innings. But he was able to keep Atlanta from capitalizing.
"That's as nervous as I've been since I first stood on a big league mound 10 years ago," said Capuano, who struck out three and didn't allow a hit. "My heart was pounding the whole time. I had three leadoff walks, but fortunately I was able to pitch around them."
Capuano's biggest escape came in the sixth. The left-hander fell behind Elliot Johnson, 3-0, but battled back and got the second baseman to ground into a double play. Capuano then struck out pinch-hitter B.J. Upton to escape the inning and help preserve the rest of the bullpen.
"That was a big turning point for us," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "He made big pitches all night. Those nine outs he got were difference-makers."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.