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Dodgers stun Braves in Game 4, advance to NLCS: Quick hits

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

These two guys helped make Game 4 an instant classic. (USATSI)
These two guys helped make Game 4 an instant classic. (USATSI)

What a game, eh? The Dodgers on Monday prevailed over the Braves by a score of 4-3 and in doing so secured a berth in the NLCS against either the Cardinals or Pirates.

Now let's break down a white-knuckled Game 4 ...

Hero: How about we go with Juan Uribe?

Uribe on the night went 2-for-4, but he's in this exalted spot because of his insanely clutch homer off David Carpenter in the eighth inning. After not one but two failed bunt attempts, Uribe yanked the 2-2 offering from Carpenter down the left field line. It darted over the fence and turned one-run Dodger deficit into a one-run Dodger lead.

And now let's take a moment to devote some of Uribe's well-earned bandwidth to Clayton Kershaw and Freddy Garcia. Kershaw of course was pitching on three days' rest for the first time in his career, and Garcia, the 37-year-old retread, was making a postseason start that almost no one outside of the Atlanta clubhouse thought he merited.

In spite of those circumstances, Kershaw and Garcia combined to work 12 innings and give up just two earned runs. Of their 192 pitches, 128 went for strikes. That's yeoman's work by each hurler.

Let's say this again for ample emphasis: Three days' rest -- three, not four -- on one end and Freddy Garcia -- the 2013 model, no less -- on the other.

But most of all: Juan! Uribe!

Goat: There's no getting around Carpenter's goat-hood. When he took the ball to start the eighth, the Braves had almost a 75 percent chance of winning the game. After the inning was over, the Dodgers had better than an 85 percent chance of winning.

Turning point: Yasiel Puig's lead-off double in the eighth was huge. Not only did he put himself in scoring position as the potential tying run, but Puig's double also meant that the Dodgers would get a three cracks at tying it up or taking the lead without having to face Atlanta's elite shutdown closer (that would be Craig Kimbrel, of course).

It was over when: It was over when Kenley Jansen took the ball for the final three outs. He brought with him elite numbers (1.78 ERA, no unearned runs, 111 whiffs in 76 2/3 innings) and an 88 percent success rate in save opportunities. He wasn't blowing this one.

Next: The Braves are done for 2013, and the Dodgers advance to the NLCS. If the Cardinals win the other NLDS, then the Dodgers will open in St. Louis on Friday. Otherwise, they'll host the Pirates for Game 1.

 
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