After watching Juan Uribe foul off two pitches while attempting to bunt Yasiel Puig over to third base in the bottom of the eighth inning, it was a given that he would be swinging for the rest of the at-bat. What happened when he actually swung the bat could not have been predicted, but was a game and potentially a playoff-changer.
With the count at 2-2, Uribe took a karate chop at a chest-high fastball from the Atlanta Braves’ David Carpenter and deposited it into the left field stands, instantly giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 4-3 lead and sending Dodger Stadium into a craze.
When the home run was hit, the game and consequently the series swung in the Dodgers’ favor, and Uribe instantaneously cemented himself a place in the realm of baseball lore that has been reserved for the likes of Kirk Gibson, Derek Jeter and Bill Mazeroski.
While it may be somewhat early to determine whether a home run in the NLDS will go on to define a postseason, there is no doubting that the Dodgers appear to be a team of divine intervention. After all, they went 69-40 over their last 109 games of the regular season, climbing back from a sub-.500 record right when the implosion of the team’s $200 million roster seemed imminent.
When Uribe hit the series-clinching home run on Tuesday night with the Dodgers on the brink of being sent back to Atlanta to play a pivotal Game 5, it again seemed as if the baseball gods were again making an appearance in Los Angeles.
This fairytale-esque season has led to a belief within both the team’s locker room and their fan base that the Dodgers will win games no matter what, which made the atmosphere surrounding Tuesday night’s game a sight to be behold. From innings one through nine, Dodger Stadium was rocking and it only seemed as if it was a matter of time before the crowd would be sent into a frenzy.
When looking back at the 2013 season, that moment when the ball left Uribe’s bat will be defined as the type of cataclysmic moment that defined the playoffs — much in the same way a Kirk Gibson home run in 1988 did for the organization.