It was not on the same level as Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series, but Juan Uribe’s two-run, go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of Monday night’s Game 4 will be a story told to generations of Los Angeles Dodgers fans to come.
After Yasiel Puig stretched a hard hit ball down the line into a double, Uribe came up with the Dodgers trailing by a run late in the game. Uribe smashed a ball into left field that not only sent the ball over the fence, but he also sent Dodger Stadium into an uproar. With over 54,000 fans packed into Chavez Ravine, Uribe provided the emotional fireworks of a lifetime for younger Dodger fans.
Despite all of the controversy of the day with manager Don Mattingly making a questionable choice in starting Clayton Kershaw on three days’ rest instead of the expected starter Ricky Nolasco, the Dodgers’ coach did not stop his debatable decisions there. It would be easy to question Mattingly’s choice to pitch Ronald Belisario where he did, to be baffled that the struggling Mark Ellis continued to hit in the two spot and to ponder why on earth he would ask Uribe to bunt with Puig on second and no outs. Much to Mattingly’s good fortune, Uribe fouled off two bunt attempts and was forced to swing away. You already know what happened after that.
No Dodger fans under the age of 30 will be able to tell their kids and grandkids about the night they watched Gibson’s home run in the World Series or about watching Orel Hershiser pitch 59 scoreless innings consecutively. They will, however, be able to recount the legendary night on October 7, 2013 when Juan Uribe blasted the Dodgers’ way into the NLCS.
Baseball is a game with great history and Uribe added a fantastic story to that enchanted tale. From the pitching controversy between Kershaw and Nolasco to the home runs of Carl Crawford, from the early-game defensive errors to Kenley Jansen striking out the side to end the game, the Dodgers win over the Atlanta Braves is an instant classic. Whether the Dodgers go on to win the NLCS and the World Series or not, the Dodgers’ magical win will be remembered for a long, long time, with little thanks due to Mattingly’s choices.