L.A. eliminates Atlanta; Rays, Cardinals stay alive

Los Angeles Juan Uribe’s two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth put the Los Angeles Dodgers back in the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2009.

Uribe’s second career postseason go-ahead homer in eighth inning or later lifted the Dodgers over the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, in Game 4 of their National League Division Series.

Holding a 3-2 lead, the Braves sent David Carpenter (0-1) to the mound. Yasiel Puig led off with a double down the right-field line. Uribe then stepped to the plate and smacked a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left.

Kenley Jansen tossed a perfect ninth to put the Dodgers in the NLCS for the third time in the past six years.

Los Angeles will play the winner of Wednesday night’s Game 5 between St. Louis and Pittsburgh. The NLCS opens Friday night.

In an effort to close out the series, the Dodgers sent left-hander Clayton Kershaw to the mound on short rest. Los Angeles had been slated to hand the ball to righty Ricky Nolasco, but opted to go with Kershaw, who was brilliant in Game 1.

Kershaw, the 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner and a favorite again this season, gave up two unearned runs on three hits while striking out six over six innings. The left-hander pitched on three days’ rest for the first time since beginning his major league career in 2008.

Brian Wilson (1-0) picked up the win after stranding runners on first and second in the eighth.

Carl Crawford became the first Dodgers player to hit two homers in a postseason game since Shawn Green in the 2004 NLDS.

Chris Johnson and Andrelton Simmons had an RBI apiece for the Braves, who have lost six straight Division Series appearances.

Freddy Garcia got the start for Atlanta and gave up two runs on eight hits while striking out six over six innings.

With the scored tied at two, the Braves scored once in the seventh. Ronald Belisario gave up a one-out triple to Elliot Johnson. Pinch-hitter Jose Constanza followed with an RBI single up the middle. J.P. Howell retired two of the next three batters to keep it a 3-2 game.

Crawford homered in each of his first two at-bats to give Kershaw some early run support. Crawford started the bottom of the first with a blast to right, becoming the second player in Dodgers history with a leadoff homer in a postseason game (Davey Lopes, 1978 versus the Yankees).

With one out in the third, Crawford smacked a 2-2 pitch down the right-field line. The crowed roared as the ball stayed fair for a 2-0 Los Angeles lead.

Kershaw was in control until the fourth, when his fielders made some key mistakes. Freddie Freeman led off with a single to right-center field. Evan Gattis followed with a grounder to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, whose throw to second was off the mark. The runners moved up to second and third on Kershaw’s wild pitch.

After Brian McCann struck out looking, Chris Johnson hit an RBI single to left-center field. The tying run scored when Simmons grounded into a fielder’s choice.

St. Louis 2, Pittsburgh 1

Pittsburgh, Pa. — The St. Louis Cardinals continued an old habit of staying alive with their backs to the wall, thanks to Michael Wacha coming up huge in the biggest game of his young career.

The rookie took a no-hitter into the eighth in a stellar 7 1/3-inning, nine-strikeout performance that led the Cardinals to a season-saving decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

Wacha (1-0), who came within an out of no-hitting Washington in his final regular-season start on Sept. 24, had his bid broken up by Pedro Alvarez’s solo homer that cut Pittsburgh’s deficit to 2-1.

American League Oakland 6, Detroit 3

Detroit After baby-faced rookie Sonny Gray outdueled Justin Verlander to even the American League Division Series, the Oakland Athletics went back to their bread and butter in Game 3. They used the long ball.

Seth Smith smacked a two-run homer and Brandon Moss added a solo shot in a go-ahead, three-run fifth inning as the A’s downed the Detroit Tigers, 6-3, to take a 2-1 lead in the ALDS.

Josh Reddick cracked a solo blast for Oakland, which can advance to the American League Championship Series with a victory in Game 4 today.

Anibal Sanchez (0-1), the AL’s ERA leader (2.57), allowed just 0.45 homers per nine innings during the season, but gave up all three of the Oakland homers in his 4 1/3 frames of work.

Tampa Bay 5, Boston 4

St. Petersburg, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays may just have the Boston Red Sox right where they want them. Jose Lobaton smacked a game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the die-hard Rays overcame a three-run deficit earlier on to pull out a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Red Sox and force a Game 4 of the American League Division Series.

Lobaton’s pinch-hit blast off Koji Uehara (0-1) enabled Tampa Bay to stave off elimination for the fourth time in the past eight days and bounce back from one-sided defeats in the first two tests of this best-of-five set.

Evan Longoria ignited the Rays’ comeback with a game-tying three-run homer against Clay Buchholz in the fifth inning, and Tampa Bay survived a blown save from closer Fernando Rodney (1-0) in the top of the ninth to live another day.

James Loney went 3-for-3 in the win, with David DeJesus and Yunel Escobar each collecting two hits and a run scored for the Rays.