Dodgers advance to title series

Kershaw pitches on short rest, Uribe hits homer in 4-3 victory

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. 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 straight playoff series and the 2012 NL wild-card game.

Manager Don Mattingly and the NL West champion Dodgers will open the NLCS on Friday against St. Louis or Pittsburgh. The Cardinals host the wild-card Pirates in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday.

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 2-2 breaking ball into the Dodgers' bullpen in left field to put them in front for the second time.

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 started 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.

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 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.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 1

At Pittsburgh, rookie Michael Wacha took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning and St. Louis showed off its October poise, edging Pittsburgh, setting up a winner-take-all Game 5 in the NL division series.

The Cardinals tied this playoff matchup and improved to 7-1 over the last three years when facing elimination in the postseason.

Pedro Alvarez hit his third home run of the series, connecting with one out in the eighth for Pittsburgh's only hit in Game 4.

Wacha, who came within an out of a no-hitter in his final start of the regular season, and the St. Louis bullpen made Matt Holliday's two-run homer in the sixth stand up.

Trevor Rosenthal worked around a two-out walk in the ninth, retiring Andrew McCutchen on a popup for his first postseason save.

Game 5 will be Wednesday in St. Louis, with ace Adam Wainwright starting for the NL Central champion Cardinals and rookie Gerrit Cole going for the wild-card Pirates. Both pitchers won last week in the NLDS.

AL Division Series

Rays 5, Red Sox 4

At St. Petersburg, Fla., the Tampa Bay Rays are still afloat in the AL division series.

Jose Lobaton hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning into the giant fish tank beyond center field, and Tampa Bay staved off elimination once again by beating Boston.

Evan Longoria had a three-run homer and the Rays averted a playoff sweep, cutting Boston's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-five series. Game 4 is Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, with Jake Peavy starting for the Red Sox against Jeremy Hellickson.

"Look at this whole week working up to today, and then this game is even more dramatic than the other games we had already won," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's really an incredible day for the Rays."

Tampa Bay took a win-or-go-home game for the fourth time in nine days. The Rays did it with an unlikely stroke as Lobaton, who came off the bench to catch in the top of the ninth, connected against Red Sox closer Koji Uehara.

"It's unbelievable. It's something you can't explain," Lobaton said. "We never give up. We're going to keep fighting."

Back home after two weeks on the road, the Rays gave a sellout crowd of 33,675 little to cheer until Longoria homered on his 28th birthday. His three-run shot off Clay Buchholz with two outs in the fifth rallied Tampa Bay to a 3-all tie.

Pinch-hitter Delmon Young, who has a penchant for driving home key runs in October, put the Rays ahead 4-3 with an RBI grounder in the eighth.

The Red Sox tied it in the ninth after closer Fernando Rodney issued a leadoff walk to Will Middlebrooks. Dustin Pedroia's RBI grounder made it 4-all.


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