(BaseballStL) -- After tying Game 1 of the NLCS with a two-run double in the third inning and nabbing the go-ahead run at home plate in the tenth inning, Carlos Beltran delivered the final blow with an RBI single to beat the Dodgers 3-2 in 13 innings Friday.
With runners on first and second after Daniel Descalso blooped a one-out single and Matt Carpenter walked, Beltran delivered the crushing blow to give his team the early series lead with the walk-off RBI-single almost five hours after it started.
Seven innings after initially tying the game with a two-run double, Beltran kept the game tied in the tenth with a strike to the plate from right field to nab the would-be go-ahead run for the Dodgers out.
With runners on the corners and one out, Michael Young flew out to Beltran in right as he called off Jon Jay to make the catch. He then made a perfect throw to Molina at home as Mark Ellis tried tagging from third to score the go-ahead run. It was the first outfield assist in LCS history to complete a double play in extra innings, according to Elias.
“As well as Michael Young hit the baseball, I felt that I was going to have the better angle than Jon Jay,” Beltran said. “So I called the ball five or six times, and Jon Jay was able to hear me and leave it up to me.”
It was also the second key play of the game for the 36-year-old and part of a series of plays that left his teammates amazed.
“As good of a game as you could possibly play -- throw a guy out at the plate that ends up being the game saver and then all of the runs,” Matt Carpenter said. “You can’t play a much better game than that. He was outstanding.”
One half inning after the Dodgers scored two runs for an early lead in the third, the Cardinals struck back with a two-out rally started with a single from starter Joe Kelly.
Kelly’s two-out single was followed by a walk to Matt Carpenter, who was 1-for-20 this postseason, and then a two-run double off the right field wall by Carlos Beltran to tie the game 2-2 after three innings of play. It was his seventh and eighth runs batted in this postseason.
Beltran’s double was nearly caught by center fielder Andre Ethier as he lunged against the wall, but it fell to his feet as right fielder Yasiel Puig backed up the play.
After the Cardinals tied the game, Kelly allowed only one hit over the next two innings to get through the fifth. Gonzalez’s two-out single in the fifth inning got the Cardinals bullpen active as Lance Lynn and Seth Maness began to warm up before Puig popped out to end the inning.
Due up second in the bottom half and with only 76 pitches thrown, Kelly remained in the game despite the bullpen stirring the inning prior. He struck out for the second out of the fifth.
Juan Uribe singled to left field to lead off the sixth inning which stirred the Cardinals bullpen again as Maness began to warm up for the second consecutive inning. Ethier struck out looking for the first out as Kelly faced the eighth-placed hitter A.J. Ellis. Meanwhile, lefty Randy Choate began to warm as Ellis grounded out to third on a slowly hit ball. Uribe advanced to second base as Zack Greinke stepped to the plate with two outs.
Kelly quickly fell 2-0 in the count before a visit from Yadier Molina. Greinke flew out to center field on the next pitch to end the sixth inning. Kelly was at 95 pitches thrown through six innings after he allowed six hits, walked two batters and struck out five.
Choate entered the game in the seventh to face Carl Crawford for the favorable lefty-versus-lefty matchup and got the lone batter he faced out. Maness got Mark Ellis to ground out on a full count and struck out Ramirez after an eight-pitch at-bat to end the top of the seventh inning.
Molina led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left, but was thrown out at second base on a fielder’s choice bunt back to the mound by Jon Jay. With one out, David Freese lined out to Puig in right field who then threw to first base to double off Jay for the final out of the seventh.
Another rookie reliever, Carlos Martinez, entered the game for St. Louis in the eighth inning and allowed a leadoff walk to Adrian Gonzalez, who was lifted in favor of pinch runner and speedster Dee Gordon. A backhanded play by Pete Kozma to Matt Carpenter at second base erased Gordon for the first out. Juan Uribe grounded into an inning ending double play in the next at-bat.
“It's one of those that you've got to shoot your bullet when you get a chance,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said about removing Gonzalez early. “If we don't use him there and the next guy hits a ball in the gap and he doesn't score and we don't score there, we're going to say why didn't you use Dee? So it was our opportunity to run him.
“Obviously, Yasiel swung early, and it didn't work out for us. But it's still a situation that I don't think we would -- you get a guy on in that inning, and you have to take a shot at scoring a run.”
Carpenter struck out looking on Greinke's 104th pitch thrown of the game to end the scoreless eighth inning, the Cardinals brought in their third rookie reliever, Trevor Rosenthal, for the ninth. Rosenthal got the first two outs as Skip Schumaker batted for Greinke, who allowed two runs on four hits and struck out 10 batters over eight innings. Rosenthal hurled a 99-mph fastball to strike out the former Cardinal utility man to end the Dodgers’ ninth.
Former Giants closer Brian Wilson relieved Greinke to start the bottom of the ninth of a 2-2 game with the Cardinals’ two-three-four batters due up. Carlos Beltran flew out to center field and Matt Holliday struck out swinging for the first two outs. Matt Adams and Molina, who hit a solo home run in the NLDS for his only run batted in of the postseason, each walked with two outs. With a full count and runners on first and second, Jon Jay flew out to center field to send the game into the tenth.
In the tenth, Mark Ellis hit a one-out triple past the outreached glove of Jay in right-center field off Rosenthal, who was in his second inning of work. The Cardinals chose to intentionally walk Ramirez as John Axford started to get loose in the bullpen.
With runners on the corners and one out, Rosenthal stayed in to face Michael Young, who entered the game to play first base for Gonzalez in the eighth. Young flied out to Beltran who then threw a strike to home plate to get Ellis out and keep the score tied.
The Cardinals went down in order in the bottom of the tenth.
John Axford entered the eleventh inning for St. Louis to face the fifth-through-seventh hitters for Los Angeles. He allowed back-to-back batters to reach base with two outs and finished the inning with a strikeout of Nick Punto.
J.P. Howell, who hadn’t allowed a run in 2 1/3 innings pitched this postseason, was brought in to face the top of the Cardinals lineup in the eleventh.
Carpenter singled to right to lead off as Puig’s diving effort wasn’t enough to make the catch. The hit snapped an 0-for-20 skid, but it went for nothing as Beltran, Holliday and Adams registered outs.
The Cardinals called upon Lance Lynn, starter of Game 2 of NLDS, to pitch the 12th inning. Crawford led with a single and advanced to second on Ellis’ sacrifice bunt. For the second time, the Cardinals intentionally walked Ramirez with first base open and one out. Young followed with an inning-ending double play.
Lynn, who was the game winner, hurled a scoreless 13th inning and was lifted for Daniel Descalso to pinch hit.
The early portion of Game 1 was an up-and-down roller coaster for Kelly. After a shaky first and an okay second inning, Kelly found himself knees deep in trouble with the heart of the Dodgers lineup in the third.
The Dodgers began the third inning with a leadoff double by Carl Crawford before Mark Ellis grounded out. An in-between pop fly hit by Hanley Ramirez to left field fell between shortstop Pete Kozma and outfielder Matt Holliday giving chase, but just foul. Whew.
Ramirez eventually walked on six pitches. Adrian Gonzalez immediately followed by walking on four pitches to load the bases for Yasiel Puig.
Kelly looked poised to get out of the third inning unscathed as Puig grounded the ball back to him as he threw to home plate for the second out and, more importantly, no runs allowed...yet.
Kelly couldn’t avoid danger as Juan Uribe, the sixth batter of the inning, smacked a two-run single to centerfield on the first pitch seen, a 96-mph fastball, for a 2-0 lead. No further damage was done at Andre Ethier flew out to end the inning.
As Kelly was too adventurous for the weak-stomached fans, Zack Greinke was as good as advertised.
Greinke didn’t allow hit until Kelly poked a two-out single to left field in the third inning. Before that he threw only 31 pitches to get the first eight outs of the game, including four strikeouts.
Back to the early part of Kelly’s wild start to Game 1...
The unflappable Kelly had to make an early appearance in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers.
After a 30-minute pre-game ceremony, which included Hall of Famers Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and the Budweiser Clydesdales, Kelly struck out the side in the first inning but not without encountering trouble.
Kelly struck out Crawford on three pitches to start the game before Ellis singled to center to quiet the raucous Busch Stadium quickly.
The base hit didn’t seem to rattle the 25-year-old righthander as the count went 1-2 to Hanley Ramirez, who is batting .500 in his 16 postseason at-bats, but a 95-mph fastball caught the Dodgers shortstop in the ribcage.
Ramirez remained in the game as runners were quickly standing on first and second base with one out and Gonzalez stepping to the dish.
Kelly quickly got Gonzalez to a 0-2 count, but threw a 96-mph fastball in the dirt which landed up against the backstop to advance both runners into scoring position. The count went full after Yadier Molina blocked a curveball in the dirt before Gonzalez swung through a changeup for the second out.
In stepped the dangerous rookie phenom Puig, who went 8-for-17 at the plate in the NLDS. For the third time in the inning, Kelly got a Dodgers hitter to a 0-2 count before he missed on two sliders. Kelly threw a fourth slider in a row which Puig whiffed on to end the inning and strand runners on second and third base.
An early crisis was averted.
While shaky at times, Kelly registered six swings-and-misses on 20 of his pitches thrown in the inning. He also showed a lot of faith in Molina to block several in the dirt.
The Cardinals went down in order in the bottom of the first, but had near hits from Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday. Carpenter narrowly missed scooting a ground ball through the right side of the infield, but second baseman Ellis was able to make the play. Holliday hit a line drive but right at Ramirez at shortstop.
Greinke threw only eight pitches in the scoreless first inning.
Kelly worked around a one-out single by Andre Ethier in a 16-pitch second inning to hold the Dodgers to no runs through two. Kelly was at 36 pitches through two innings.
The Cardinals weren’t able to muster any hits in the bottom of the second inning, but made Greinke work more than he did in first.
Matt Adams started the second inning with a seven-pitch at-bat before striking out. Molina grounded out to third base in the next at-bat, which Gonzalez had to stretch to make the grab, and Jon Jay flew out to center to end the third.
Despite the seven-pitch at-bat to Adams, Greinke threw only 15 total in the second. He was at 23 pitches, including 16 strikes, through the opening two innings