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. Manager Don Mattingly and the NL West champions will open the NLCS on Friday against St. Louis or Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, 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 consecutive playoff series and the 2012 NL wild-card game.
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 hanging 2-2 breaking ball into the Dodgers’ bullpen in left field to put them in front for the second time.
“I (wanted) to have a good swing and try to win the game,” Uribe said.
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 set off 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.
“This team has a lot of fun. We don’t think about being the team to beat and all that stuff. We just go out there and play and try to have fun,” Crawford said.
The Braves took a 3-2 lead in the seventh on pinch-hitter Jose Constanza’s RBI single off reliever Ronald Belisario.
Needing a win to avoid elimination, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez never got the ball to lights-out closer Craig Kimbrel.
“You don’t want it to ever end the way we ended today. But we had the right guy out there. (Carpenter) has been good for us,” Gonzalez said. “There is nothing to be ashamed of.”
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 NL East champion Braves ahead for the first time.
Garcia, a former ace for the Seattle Mariners, 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 inning on an RBI single by Chris Johnson that scored Freddi Freeman and Andrelton Simmons fielder’s choice scoring Evan Gattis from third base.
“To end the way it did tonight, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be a long way back,” Gonzalez said. “But tip your hat to the Dodgers and congratulate Donnie and his staff.”