LOS ANGELES -- Juan Uribe produced Monday night like the Dodgers thought he would. He just started a year late.
Uribe tied a career high with four hits, drove in three runs and led the bottom of the Dodgers' order as it lent a hand to Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier (who combined for five hits) in a 7-2 win over the Braves, the 13-4 record matching the best Dodgers' start after 17 games since 1983.
A.J. Ellis added two RBIs and Chris Capuano pitched seven effective innings as the Dodgers opened the homestand against a Braves club that was 10-2 over its previous 12 games. The Dodgers knocked out 15 hits, 14 of them singles, and overcame hitting into four double plays.
With Ellis and James Loney adding a pair of hits to the four from Uribe, spots 6-7-8 in the Dodgers' batting order contributed eight hits, four runs scored and five driven in. Ethier and Dee Gordon drove in the other runs as the Dodgers were 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"It was time to pick up the slack," said Ellis. "Matt and 'Dre have been carrying us. We want to be tough one through eight. It's really big for us to get on base and create offense at the bottom of the lineup."
It was a satisfying performance for Uribe, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract and started it with a dismal 2011 that ended with sports hernia surgery.
"Last year I couldn't play, I was hurt, and it's hard when you want to show people I can play," said Uribe. "The only thing I want to do is help the team win."
Uribe missed four games last week with a sore wrist injured last Sunday sliding into home plate but returned to the lineup Sunday, just in time for the Dodgers' 12-0 blowout loss in Houston. The four hits raised his average from .211 to .286.
"It was good to see him get the hits here in the stadium in front of our fans," said manager Don Mattingly, whose team improved to 7-0 at home.
Uribe punched a single to right field in the second inning to bring home Loney, who had doubled. He reached for an outside pitch on a hit-and-run in the fourth inning to put runners on the corners preceding Ellis' RBI single. He singled to center in the sixth, but was thrown out stealing while Ellis struck out. And he drove another single to right field with bases loaded in the eighth to score two.
Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, an All-Star and 13-game winner in 2011, was tagged for five runs on nine hits in three-plus innings and was sent to Triple-A after the game.
"The bottom of their lineup really stepped up today and did a good job," Braves catcher David Ross said. "They had a good approach. They weren't trying to pull JJ. They were taking him and hitting him the other way. It seemed like a ton of balls got hit to right [field] tonight by right-handed hitters. That's a good approach and you've got to tip your cap sometimes."
Capuano (2-0) had a shaky start, escaping a bases-loaded jam in a 27-pitch first inning by striking out Jason Heyward. He allowed a home run to the former Dodger Ross leading off the second inning, walked four and had only one 1-2-3 inning but stranded five runners in scoring position while striking out five.
"It was frustrating. Every time I looked up there were runners on base," Capuano said. "There are crucial junctures to every game, and this one came up in the first inning. The strikeout really changed the momentum when they didn't score."
By pitching seven innings, Capuano allowed Mattingly to rest the bullpen one day after relievers pitched 4 2/3 innings in Houston.
Gordon singled, stole second, took third on Mark Ellis' fly ball and was singled home by Ethier for the first run. Ross tied the score two pitches into the second inning with a long home run to center field. Ross has four career hits off Capuano, two of them homers.
The Dodgers resumed their attack on Jurrjens in the second, Loney leading off with a double, Uribe and A.J. Ellis following with RBI singles. The same trio each singled in the fourth, with A.J. Ellis' RBI hit chasing Jurrjens. Gordon greeted reliever Livan Hernandez with a sacrifice fly that scored Uribe.
The Dodgers completely ran themselves out of a potential big inning in the fifth. Kemp reached first on a leadoff infield single and was singled to third by Ethier. When left fielder Matt Diaz's throw came into second base, Kemp attempted to score and was thrown out at the plate. Meanwhile, Ethier had thoughts of going to second on the throw home, only for catcher Ross' throw to beat him back to first base for a double play.
"Just the wrong time for that," said Mattingly.
Gordon also short-circuited a rally in the second when he was caught stealing second base to end the inning with Kemp batting.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.