Big League Stew

NLDS Game 4: Juan Uribe powers Dodgers to series victory with late two-run homer

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

Postseason hero Juan Uribe struck again, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves with a two-run home run in the eighth inning. The Dodgers have wrapped the series up 3-1, and will move on to the NLCS beginning on Friday.

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(USA Today)

It doesn't get any bigger than a game-winning home run in the postseason, but the heroics are nothing new for Juan Uribe. It's the second go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later in his postseason career. The first came with the San Francisco Giants against the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2010.

Making his first career start on short rest, Clayton Kershaw was only slightly less dominant than usual. In six innings, he allowed two unearned runs on three hits while striking out six. Another inning would have been likely if not for the defensive blunders behind him.

Carl Crawford ignited the Dodgers offense with solo home runs in the first and third innings.

One day after his 37th birthday, Freddy Garcia answered the call for manager Fredi Gonzalez. In six workmanlike innings, the 15-year veteran held the Dodgers powerful offense to two runs (Crawford's two solo homers) on eight hits, while striking out six and walking two (one intentionally). The outing was all, if not more, than the Braves could have reasonably hoped for.

Unfortunately, when someone hits a game-winning home run, it also means someone had to serve it up. That role went to David Carpenter, who had a very rough postseason following an exceptional regular season.

Adrian Gonzalez had a rough night all around. In the field, he committed two errors, including a wild throw on an attempted 3-6-3 double play that opened the door to Atlanta's two-run fourth inning. In the seventh, Gonzalez had an opportunity to make up for it with two runners on and two outs. But after getting ahead in the count 3-0, he hit a harmless fly ball to right field to end the threat. He finished 1 for 4.

Uribe provided the heroics with the go-ahead home run, but it was Yasiel Puig who started the rally with a double into the right field corner. That brought the crowd to its feet in unison, and they remained on their feet for the remainder of the game.

Then again, Uribe's failure to get a bunt down on the first two strikes may be the real key. It allowed him the opportunity to swing the bat.

Since 1995, postseason pitchers are 20-31 on three days rest. Their teams are 30-48.

Carl Crawford had one homer in his final 328 regular season at-bats of the regular season. He had three over the span of six postseason at-bats.

The Braves have lost six straight division series appearances.

Regardless of the outcome, Don Mattingly’s decision to start Clayton Kershaw on short rest was going to be a hot topic coming out of the game. Nothing about that has changed, despite the positive outcome for Los Angeles.

With a day off on Tuesday, would it have been conceivable for Gonzalez to use Craig Kimbrel for a six-out save?

What pieces are the Atlanta Braves missing to take the next step in the postseason?

The Los Angeles Dodgers are moving on to the NLCS where they’ll meet the winner of the St. Louis Cardinals-Pittsburgh Pirates series. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday and would take place in St. Louis if the Cardinals win and Los Angeles if the Pirates advance. Zack Greinke will get the ball for the Dodgers.

The postseason is here and we’ve got you covered.
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