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Braves 4, Dodgers 3

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Having survived the gauntlet of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Atlanta Braves are headed to Los Angeles tied with the Dodgers in their National League Division Series.

Mike Minor turned in a quality start, Jason Heyward supplied a key two-out hit and Craig Kimbrel recorded a four-out save as the Braves held on for a 4-3 victory on Friday night before a crowd of 48,966 at Turner Field.

Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers off David Carpenter in the eighth inning, but Kimbrel -- the major league leader with 50 saves during the regular season -- closed it out in the ninth despite two walks.

The victory snapped a four-game postseason losing streak for the Braves and evened the best-of-five NLDS at 1-1 with the next two games in Los Angeles on Sunday and Monday.

If needed, Game 5 would be next Wednesday in Atlanta, where the Braves led the majors with a 55-26 record during the regular season.

Ramirez had two doubles in addition to his homer as the Dodgers, who won 6-1 in the opener behind Kershaw's 12 strikeouts, outhit the Braves 10-6.

Minor, who lost his last four regular-season decisions, allowed eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked just one to go with five strikeouts, though, and made his best pitches when needed the most.

Minor struck out Juan Uribe on a 3-2 curveball with runners on the corners to get out of a sixth-inning jam and Luis Avilan induced a double play to keep the Braves ahead in the seventh.

Minor was lifted after Skip Schumaker reached on an infield hit off the pitcher's glove and was sacrificed to second. Pinch-hitter Michael Young was credited with an infield hit when reliever Luis Ayala missed first base on a throw from first baseman Freddie Freeman, but Avilan got Carl Crawford to hit back to him to start a double play.

Greinke, who was 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA during the regular season, gave up four hits and two runs in six innings, walking none and striking out three.

The Dodgers' bullpen, though, couldn't hold it there. After Chris Withrow was pulled with runners at second and third and two outs in the seventh, left-hander Paco Rodriguez was ordered to intentionally walk Reed Johnson, who had replaced Jose Constanza as the pinch hitter, to load the bases.

Heyward came through with a single up the middle on a 2-1 slider to give the Braves a three-run lead and a cushion they ended up needing.

Carpenter walked Mark Ellis leading off the eighth and Ramirez pulled a 0-1 slider just over the fence near the foul pole in left field.

The Dodgers got on the board in the first inning. Minor walked Ellis after getting ahead in the count 0-2 and Ramirez gave Los Angeles the lead with a double into the right field corner on a 2-2 fastball.

In the second, a double play helped Minor work around two singles before the Braves scored with two outs in the bottom of the the inning when Andrelton Simmons doubled to drive in Evan Gattis, who had opened the inning with a single.

In the fourth, the Braves took a 2-1 lead when Chris Johnson bounced a two-out single to left field to score Freeman, who had doubled to start the inning.

Johnson hit .390 and had 39 of his 68 RBIs in similar situations during the regular season.

NOTES: Braves RHP Julio Teheran (14-8, 3.20 ERA) will face Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00 ERA) on Sunday at 8:07 p.m. ET when the NLDS moves to Los Angeles after a travel day on Saturday. ... Teheran and Ryu tied for the second-most victories among major league rookies behind St. Louis RHP Shelby Miller, who was 15-9. ... Neither team made any lineup changes from Game 1. ... Bobby Cox, who managed the Braves to 14 consecutive division titles, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and got a thunderous ovation. ... Former Braves 3B Chipper Jones, who retired after the 2012 season, did the honors for Game 1. ... The Braves won the regular-season series 5-2 over the Dodgers, sweeping three games in Atlanta during mid-May.
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