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Kimbrel to get extra relief work if necessary

Kimbrel to get extra relief work if necessary

Kimbrel to get extra relief work if necessary

LOS ANGELES -- If the right situation arises again during Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on TBS, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he will not be hesitant to once again entrust closer Craig Kimbrel with the task of recording more than three outs.

Kimbrel recorded the final four outs to seal Friday night's 4-3 win over the Dodgers in Game 2 that evened this best-of-five series. In doing so, he became the sixth different Braves pitcher, and first since John Smoltz in Game 1 of the 2001 NLDS, to record a multi-inning save in a postseason game.


Before David Carpenter allowed the Dodgers to cut their deficit to one run in Friday's eighth inning, Gonzalez was already planning to bring Kimbrel in before the ninth inning.

"[Kimbrel] hadn't pitched since last Sunday, and we're going with the off-day [on Saturday]," Gonzalez said. "He felt pretty comfortable that he could handle that. I think tomorrow, he could do it again."

While Kimbrel might be physically capable of handling the task, the opportunity to create a four-out save situation is more difficult in the National League because of the need to find a suitable spot in the lineup to place the closer with the hope his spot would not come up to hit. This also creates the need to remove a position player, who could be needed later if the save is not converted.

"You don't want to take players out or your best defense out to do that," Gonzalez said. "Sometimes, you've just got to bite the bullet and hopefully somebody that you bring in does his job, and you get somebody out."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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