When Jason Heyward lined a bases-loaded two-out single up the middle in the seventh inning to put the Braves ahead 4-1 the Turner Field pressbox shook from clapping foot-stomping fans who got what they came to see though not without some late-innings consternation.

Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer off David Carpenter in the eighth inning but the Braves brought in closer Craig Kimbrel for a four-out save and a 4-3 win against the Dodgers Friday night which evened their best-of-five division series at a game apiece before it shifts to Los Angeles.

The Dodgers put the potential tying run on base twice in the ninth on walks issued by Kimbrel. After A.J. Ellis walked with one out catcher Gerald Laird threw out pinch-runner Dee Gordon trying to steal second base. And after pinch-hitter Andre Ethier walked with two out Kimbrel struck out Carl Crawford to end the game.

Mike Minor won a pitcher’s duel with Dodgers starter Zack Greinke and the Braves got all their runs on two-out hits by Andrelton Simmons in the second inning Chris Johnson in the fourth and Heyward in the seventh. Heyward stroked a single past left-hander Paco Rodriguez after Reed Johnson was walked intentionally with first base open.

Chris Johnson has become known for wearing emotions on his sleeve and when he pumped his fist while running to first base on a two-out go-ahead single in the fourth inning the third baseman also conveyed the emotion of a crowd of 48966 at Turner Field and many more Braves fans watching on TV.


And when Braves left-hander Luis Avilan fielded a comebacker with runners on the corners in the seventh inning spun and threw to shortstop Simmons to start a splendid inning-ending double play Avilan’s scream to the heavens and the crowd’s thunderous ovation conveyed joy and something else.


There would be more stress before the night was through but in the end the Braves rinsed out the bad taste of Thursday’s series-opening dud by coming through with a performance impressive in every aspect.

After a travel and workout day Saturday the teams will play Game 3 on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium and Game 4 if necessary on Monday. If the series goes the distance Game 5 would be Wednesday (8:37 p.m.) at Turner Field.

Minor limited the Dodgers to eight hits and one run in 6-1/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts. He gave up a run in the first inning and needed 40 pitches to get through the first two then settled in and worked through the next 4-1/3 innings in 57 pitches before leaving with a runner on second and in the seventh.

He was replaced by Luis Ayala who missed first base with his foot while covering on Michael Young’s groundball to Freddie Freeman which was ruled a hit.

Ayala gave way to Avilan who fielded a grounder back to the mound by the next batter Crawford. Avilan didn’t hesitate in turning and firing to Simmons and the gifted shortstop got rid of it quickly and threw to Freeman at first base for the double play to end the inning as the would-be tying run was crossing the plate.