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NLDS Recap: Uribe’s Long Ball Lifts Dodgers Into NLCS

Evan Budrovich |
October 7, 2013 | 11:13 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Uribe was originally looking to bunt Puig to third, but homered instead. (Wikimedia Commons)
Uribe was originally looking to bunt Puig to third, but homered instead. (Wikimedia Commons)

Trailing by one in the bottom of the 8th inning, desperate to live up to expectations much like the entire season, the Dodgers needed something to go their way on a night where things were not at all going according to plan. 

The Braves quickly silenced the deafening crowd at Chavez Ravine once ace Clayton Kershaw left the game after pitching six innings. Thanks in large part to contributions from relatively unknown pieces like Elliot Johnson, who ripped a triple towards the right field corner and pitch-hitter Jose Constanza, the Braves pulled off what seemingly looked like the dagger on a 7th inning RBI-single up the middle off reliever Ronald Belisario. 

But then Juan Uribe, the former rival and hated postseason contributor for the San Francisco Giants, stepped into the batter's box, told to execute a bunt call by manager Don Mattingly. Leading off the inning with a sharp double down the right-field line, Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig stood on second base as the game's tying run.

SEE MORE: Dodgers Need Hyun-Jin Ryu More Than Ever Before

After failing to get the job done for two strikes, Uribe dropped the cute stuff and let it fly. He capitalized on a hanging breaking ball from David Carpenter and sent the pitch into the Los Angeles twilight, giving the Dodgers a lead they would not relinquish.

“I think I do this for me, the family and the fans,” Uribe said, speaking on TBS shortly after celebrating the final strikeout sealing the Dodgers one-run victory, thanks in large part to his second postseason game-winning HR (2010 NLCS Game 6).

Kenley Jansen entered for the final frame, striking out the side for a perfect 1-2-3 clip, powerfully sending the Dodgers to their first NLCS since 2009.

With champagne flowing and a sellout crowd screaming from the top of its lungs since seemingly the first pitch, the rather grandiose and romanticized Hollywood ending unfolded much less smoothly than what was originally predicted hours before the game's first pitch.

“So proud of those guys in that room,” said Mattingly, referring to his upstart ball club which overcame a double-digit deficit in the NL West standings in early June. “I feel like its another step, getting in is the first thing and now we have to talk about 8 (games until winning the World Series).”

Kershaw, pitching on three days rest, left in the sixth inning. (SD Dirk/Creative Commons)
Kershaw, pitching on three days rest, left in the sixth inning. (SD Dirk/Creative Commons)
SEE MORE: 2013 NLDS Preview: Dodgers vs. Braves

Just as Dodger fans had little time to catch a breath following Sunday night’s Game 3 win, skipper Don Mattingly decided to go with Clayton Kershaw off just three days looking to repeat his 12-strikeout display.

Kershaw, who threw 124 pitches and struck out 12 batters on Thursday, struck out six batters through six innings on the hill, giving up a pair of unearned runs off 91 pitches. Both runs came through a clutch piece of hitting from Braves 3B Chris Johnson, who finished the series hitting .438 with five RBI’s on offense.

Thanks to a strong outing from 37-year-old starter Freddy Garcia, who matched Kershaw with six innings on the bump allowing two runs, the Braves weaved their way in and out of jams all evening long only allowing two runs on the night while sprinkling nine hits across the board.  

The scoring erupted from the start as Carl Crawford blasted a leadoff homerun, the second such shot in Dodgers postseaon history, giving the Dodgers an early one-run lead. Crawford continued his torrid power streak during is next at bat in the 3rd, sending his third homerun in two games majestically slicing past the right-field foul pole.

The night began in dramatic yet predictable Los Angeles fashion, with famed trio Steve Garvey, Eric Karros and Steve Yeager relaying the first pitch to the plate, invigorating the sellout crowd. Despite some early fielding struggles from Adrian Gonzalez, who recorded two errors, the big money Dodgers found ways to cash in when it mattered most.

Heading to the NLCS, the Dodgers will now await the winner of Wednesday's Game 5 between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals to determine the next destination for an already wild postseason run. 


Reach Staff Writer Evan Budrovich here



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