(BaseballStL) -- It seemed the only thing Carlos Beltran didn’t do in the 3-2 victory over the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS was pitch.
Beltran’s three RBI, including the game-winner in the 13th inning, and his run-saving throw to the plate in the tenth inning capped a critical win against the Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw on the bump tomorrow afternoon.
“Now that it's over and we've won, we'll say it is,” manager Mike Matheny said. “But going in you treat them all like it's going to be the most important one we'll ever play. I think the guys have really taken to that approach.
“But, obviously, we knew we were facing a very good pitcher, and we had a lot of faith that Joe (Kelly) was going to get the job done. He fought his way through it, and had a bunch of other guys step in and pitch some big innings for us as well.”
Kelly gave St. Louis what Kelly has given his team since being thrust into the starting rotation: six innings of limiting damage and keeping his team in the game.
It was a shaky start for Kelly who worked in and out of trouble before allowing two runs, the only runs allowed, in the third inning.
“I was definitely excited,” Kelly said. “Yadier came out and told me, ‘hey man, you've got good stuff. Try not to be too amped up right now, and just try to make quality pitches.’ And that's what I tried to do.
“In the beginning, emotions were flying high, and I was just excited to be pitching out there. It was definitely a good time and I had a lot of fun.”
In total, Kelly allowed two runs on six hits and two walk while he struck out five batters over the course of six innings. He threw 95 pitches.
After the game, the buzz in the locker room revolved around Beltran’s monster night and the importance of getting Game 1 in a hard fought manner the night before a showdown with Cy Young candidate Kershaw.
“It's going to be tough,” Beltran said. “Today was tough, and tomorrow's going to be another good game. Today is kind of a preview of how bad they want to win and how bad we want to win. You've got to give credit to them.”
Daniel Descalso, who scored the game winning run after a pinch-hit bloop single in the 13th, thought Friday’s win is a little special considering the closeness of the game.
“That’s a big win especially being game one and going 13 innings like it did.” Descalso said. “That’s one you really want to win. Now we’ve got to focus on game two, but that’s definitely a game you don’t want to lose.”
Pete Kozma, who finished 0-for-5 with three strikeouts but made several key defensive plays behind Kelly, agreed keeping in mind the tough task ahead of the team starting at 3:07 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s huge to start one up on those guys,” Kozma said. “One game like that is huge. But we got a quick turnaround for tomorrow and we got the best pitcher in the game tomorrow. We’ve got to bear down.”