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.
Yasiel Puig doubled down the right-field line leading off the eighth against losing Braves pitcher David Carpenter. The rookie charged into second base and pumped his right fist in the air in celebration.
Fans were on their feet chanting “Let’s go Dodgers!” when Uribe fouled off two bunt attempts, then sent a 2-2 pitch into the Dodgers’ bullpen in left field to put them in front for the second time.
Brian Wilson pitched the eighth to get the victory. Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth to earn the save.
Carl Crawford homered his first two times up for the Dodgers, who lost in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies four years ago in the NLCS.
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 NL Division 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 inning, Atlanta’s 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, who started his major league career with the Seattle Mariners from 1999-2004, 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’s RBI single scored Freddie Freeman, who hit a lead-off single, went to second on first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’s throwing error and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Kershaw.
Andrelton Simmons grounded into a fielder’s choice to third in what should have been an inning-ending double play, but second baseman Mark Ellis’ throw to Gonzalez went wide and Evan Gattis scored from third.
Crawford’s second homer of the game came in the third, landing deep in the lower right-field seats for a 2-0 lead.
Crawford led off the first with a towering home run to the right-field pavilion, smiling broadly as the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead.
Crawford’s leadoff homer was the second in Dodgers postseason history. Davey Lopes homered leading off Game 6 of the 1978 World Series. Lopes is the Dodgers’ current first base coach.
Crawford’s three-run shot on Sunday was a big part of the Dodgers’ 13-6 victory.
Kershaw allowed seven unearned runs during the regular season, all of them at Dodger Stadium.
The sellout crowd of 54,438 grew rowdy with Kershaw’s first pitch, quickly getting on its feet to urge him on after Gonzalez’s fielding error led to the left-hander’s first baserunner. Kershaw responded by retiring the next three batters in a row to end the first.