LOS ANGELES – Juan Uribe hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning after Clayton Kershaw started on short rest for the Dodgers in a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night, sending Los Angeles into the National League championship series for the first time since 2009.
Carl Crawford homered his first two times up for the Dodgers, who won the best-of-five division series 3-1. It was the latest October flop for Atlanta, which hasn’t won a postseason series since 2001.
During that stretch, the Braves have lost seven straight playoff series and the 2012 N.L. wild-card game.
Manager Don Mattingly and the N.L. West champion Dodgers will open the NLCS on Friday against St. Louis or Pittsburgh. The Cardinals host the wild-card Pirates in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday.
Yasiel Puig doubled down the right-field line leading off the eighth against losing pitcher David Carpenter. The rookie charged into second base and pumped his right fist in the air. Fans were on their feet chanting “Let’s go Dodgers!” when Uribe fouled off two bunt attempts, then sent a 2-2 breaking ball into the Dodgers’ bullpen in left field to put them in front for the second time.
Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless eighth to get the victory. Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth to earn the save, striking out Justin Upton to end it.
That started a raucous celebration on the field by the Dodgers, who rushed toward the mound in a mob. They tore jerseys off each other in unbridled excitement and doused Uribe with a bright-colored sports drink.
The Braves took a 3-2 lead in the seventh on pinch-hitter Jose Constanza’s RBI single off reliever Ronald Belisario.
The Dodgers gambled in bringing back Kershaw on three days’ rest for the first time in his career. But with a chance to close out the series, they opted for their ace over scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco. The move paid off when the 2011 Cy Young Award winner tossed six solid innings before turning it over to the bullpen.
Kershaw squandered a 2-0 lead, giving up two unearned runs and three hits. He struck out six and walked one on 91 pitches.
With one out in the seventh, Elliot Johnson tripled into the right-field corner, sending Puig sliding into the dirt chasing the ball as it caromed off the wall. Constanza, batting for starting pitcher Freddy Garcia, singled into center, scoring Johnson to put the Braves ahead for the first time.
Garcia allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two.
The Braves tied it 2-all in the fourth, when the Dodgers’ defense faltered.
Chris Johnson had an RBI single and the tying run scored on a force out.
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