LOS ANGELES -- Juan Uribe, who never complained when he was a forgotten man on the Dodgers' bench in years past, was a hero on Tuesday night. So was Andre Ethier, who hasn't complained while being the club's current forgotten man on the bench.
Uribe slugged a three-run homer early, scored the winning run late and escaped from the clubhouse afterward without talking to reporters. In Juan's World, that's a perfect night.
Ethier put the ball in play that scored Uribe with the run that edged the Angels, 5-4, on a walk-off throwing error by third baseman David Freese with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Ethier talked about the play. And about not playing.
"[Not playing] is not an ideal situation, not where you want to be, but it's what we need right now and what we're doing," said Ethier. "We're a first-place team right now, we're playing good baseball, and I don't think anybody is going to be griping right now."
Uribe got the winning rally started with a one-out single to right field off Kevin Jepsen. With Uribe running on a 3-2 pitch, A.J. Ellis singled him to third base. Ellis was 1-for-25 at the time and had cut short a second-inning rally by getting picked off at second base.
Now with the Angels using a five-man infield and loading the right side, Ethier, batting for reliever Kenley Jansen, hit a tapper to the left side that Freese barehanded, but his throw home went off the glove of catcher Chris Iannetta as he tried to tag Uribe. It was scored Freese's second throwing error of the game.
"It was a curveball breaking down, and he filets it to third," said Jepsen. "I don't think he could have placed it any better."
Ethier wasn't apologizing for the way the Dodgers won it. He was just happy to get in the game, something that hasn't happened much since Carl Crawford returned from a sprained ankle.
"Put the ball in play. Don't strike out," said Ethier, who has only three RBIs since the All-Star break. "It was not the prettiest way to win, but it counts all the same. It's been a long time since I've done that right there."
Jansen, who struck out the side in the ninth inning, picked up the win after Brian Wilson blew a lead that had Clayton Kershaw in position for his 14th win, despite one of Kershaw's stranger starts. Wilson allowed a tying eighth-inning home run to Albert Pujols.
Kershaw fell behind early, then lost a lead, then had a lead, then wound up with a no-decision. During an eight-batter stretch over the second and third innings, Kershaw allowed hits to six batters, four of them doubles, all of them hit hard. But Kershaw didn't allow a base hit after the third inning, striking out five in a nine-batter stretch while battling through seven innings and finishing with seven strikeouts.
"I struggled at first and don't know why," said Kershaw. "I was just missing and they were putting good swings on it. It was almost like Zack [Greinke] last night. They're a great team with quality hitters. Give credit to them."
In a Freeway Series featuring five-tool stars Yasiel Puig and Mike Trout, it was the Dodgers' "former" superstar outfielder that put Kershaw in line to become the Majors' first 14-game winner in the sixth inning.
Matt Kemp reached first when Freese's throw pulled Pujols off the bag. Kemp stole second with a head-first slide as catcher Iannetta's throw bounced into center field. Trout, backing up the play, charged the ball, but Kemp tested Trout's arm and beat his throw to third base. Kemp then scored on Scott Van Slyke's sacrifice fly to Trout.
"Got my swag back," said Kemp.
The first Dodgers runs came in the second inning on a three-run homer by Uribe off Angels starter Hector Santiago, erasing the Angels' 2-0 lead.
In the Trout vs. Kershaw subplot, Trout doubled, singled, scored a run and struck out.
Trout's first-inning at-bat was so close, high technology was needed to resolve it. Trout pulled a one-hopper intercepted by diving third baseman Uribe, whose throw arrived in Adrian Gonzalez's glove as Trout hit the first-base bag. Don Mattingly spent his only review, but the original safe call by Jim Reynolds was allowed to stand.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.