ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves finally have a victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it certainly wasn't easy.
Craig Kimbrel induced a double play to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, and the Braves ended a seven-game losing streak to the Dodgers with a 3-2 win Wednesday night at Turner Field.
"You would have thought we won Game 7 (of the World Series)," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the reaction by his team on the field and in the dugout after the escape.
The head-to-head skid against the Dodges dated back to last year's National League Division Series, and the Braves had lost 11 of their previous 13 games overall.
Ervin Santana struck out nine in six innings, first baseman Freddie Freeman went 2-for-3, and the Braves (61-59) finally ended up with something to celebrate.
Kimbrel walked pinch hitter Andre Ethier to start the ninth, and second baseman Dee Gordon beat out a bunt. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez then singled with one out just in front of charging left fielder Justin Upton to load the bases.
"I had to come up with it or the ball would have gone to the fence," Upton said. "Fortunately, I stopped it."
With the Braves still ahead, Kimbrel got his 35th save in 39 chances when right fielder Matt Kemp hit a grounder to second baseman Phil Gosselin to start a double play.
"The moment doesn't get away from him," Gonzalez said of Kimbrel. "He's been in that situation closing big games and he doesn't get rattled a lot."
Santana (12-6) allowed eight hits and two runs while winning his fifth consecutive decision. The right-hander walked two as the Braves remained five games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East.
"Santana was very, very good," Gonzalez said.
"It's been tough for a while, but we have to stay positive," Santana said. "This was a big win for us."
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-6) left the game with two outs in the sixth inning when he strained his right gluteus muscle delivering a pitch that was ball four to center fielder B.J. Upton.
Ryu, who had been 9-2 on the road and 4-0 with extra rest this season, gave up six hits and three runs. The left-hander struck out seven, walked two and hit a batter as his four-game winning streak ended.
Ryu is listed as day-to-day and will be evaluated further.
"The biggest heartache for us isn't losing the game, but the potential of him being missed for a little bit of time," catcher A.J. Ellis said.
Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford went 2-for-4 with an RBI, making him 8-for-12 in the series. Gordon and Ellis each added two hits for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers (69-53) saw their lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West trimmed to five games.
Santana struck out the side in the first inning, but Dodgers banged out five hits, including a single by Ryu, to score twice in the second. Crawford singled in Kemp, who had doubled, and scored on an RBI hit by shortstop Miguel Rojas.
The Braves got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Catcher Evan Gattis doubled, was sacrificed to third and scored on a groundout by shortstop Andrelton Simmons, back in the lineup after missing six games with a sprained left ankle.
Simmons drove in the tying run in the fourth inning after a walk to left fielder Justin Upton and a single by third baseman Chris Johnson with a two-out flare single to the opposite field.
The Braves took the lead in the fifth inning. Left fielder Justin Upton had a two-out hit to score right fielder Jason Heyward, who had singled and moved up when Ryu nicked first baseman Freddie Freeman with a pitch.
"We don't take them lightly at all," Ellis said of the Braves. "We've just been fortunate against them. That's a playoff team."
NOTES: The four-game series concludes with Thursday afternoon. RHP Roberto Hernandez, acquired from Philadelphia last week, will make his second start for the Dodgers. He is 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA overall. RHP Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.31 ERA) will start for the Braves. ... SS Andrelton Simmons returned to the Braves' lineup Wednesday after missing six games with a sprained left ankle. ... Braves RF Jason Heyward batted leadoff for the first time since June 17. ... The Dodgers unconditionally released veteran INF/OF Chone Figgins, who was designated for assignment Aug. 6. ... Dodgers minor league LHP Colt Hynes was claimed off waivers by Toronto. ... RHP Stephen Fife, who had been with the Dodgers' Triple-A team in Albuquerque, underwent Tommy John elbow surgery. ... Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez, born in Venezuela, became an U.S. citizen Wednesday.