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Minor leads Braves past Dodgers 4-3, series tied

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 5, 2013 at 1:00 am •  Published: October 5, 2013

But there was still work to do, especially after reliever Luis Ayala failed to touch the bag while covering first, giving Michael Young a gift single and leaving runners at first and third. It was the only defensive slip-up for the Braves, and Avilan quickly bailed them out.

Crawford skipped one up the middle and Avilan went to a knee, made the backhanded stab and quickly popped up for the throw to second. Simmons took it from there, firing to first to complete the double play. Avilan whirled his arm wildly on the way to the dugout. Minor popped up off his seat with a big smile, waiting to greet the reliever who protected the one-run lead.

"I was hoping he'd go home," Simmons said of Avilan. "He kind of caught it a little weird and I was scared he was going to make a bad throw. He made a good throw. It was a good play."

Heyward pounced after Mattingly made the curious decision to walk pinch-hitter Reed Johnson to get to one of the Braves' most dangerous hitters.

While the Dodgers got a lefty-on-lefty matchup — Paco Rodriguez vs. Heyward — they passed on the chance to face Johnson, a part-timer who batted .244 with one homer and 11 RBIs during the season. The strategy backfired when Heyward lined a bases-loaded single back up the middle to bring home two runs, extending the Braves' lead.

Just enough, it turned out.

"We're trusting Paco to do what he had to do," Mattingly said. "Paco has been that guy all year long."

For the second night in a row, the Dodgers jumped ahead. Minor walked the second hitter of the game, Mark Ellis, and then gave up Ramirez's liner into the right-field corner. Ellis hustled all the way around to score, and just like that Los Angeles was ahead.

This time, Minor limited the damage. He retired Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig on grounders to keep the Dodgers from stretching the margin as they did in the series opener, when it was 5-0 by the fourth.

But, with a raucous crowd of 48,966 — about 5,000 more than Game 1 — cheering them on, the Braves rebounded with a bunch of two-out hits.

Simmons tied it with one in the second, a run-scoring single off Zack Greinke. Chris Johnson came through with two outs in the fourth, putting the Braves ahead for the first time in the series with an RBI hit. Finally, it was Heyward with yet another two-out hit.

It ruined a strong performance by Greinke, who allowed four hits and two runs in six innings.

NOTES: Rookie Julio Teheran (14-8) will start for the Braves in Game 3 against Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8) of the Dodgers. ... Los Angeles used four pitchers in the seventh. Chris Withrow got two outs, Rodriguez and Ronald Belisario failed to get an out, before J.P. Howell retired Freeman with the bases loaded to end the inning. ... Atlanta snapped the Dodgers' seven-game winning streak in NLDS games dating to 2008.


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