Big League Stew

NLCS Game 1: Carlos Beltran’s single in 13th gives Cardinals 3-2 victory against Dodgers

David Brown
Big League Stew

In a trim 4 hours, 47 minutes, the St. Louis Cardinals won Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in 13 innings at Busch Stadium. It was the third-longest game in NLCS history.

Carlos Beltran, you are ridiculous. In addition to driving in the winning run with a single against Kenley Jansen, he hit a two-run double in the third inning and threw out a runner at home in the 10th. He continues to be the best postseason player most of us have ever seen.

"Carlos, he's always a tough out for us," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

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Beltran said he was able to lay off some cutters by Jansen before getting one "right down the middle" to drive down the right-field line. His teammates charged him on the field and ripped off his jersey.

• Rookie right-hander Joe Kelly did a bang-up job on the mound for the Cardinals, allowing two runs, six hits, two walks and a hit batter over six innings. He struck out five. Kelly might not have allowed any runs if he was able to turn double play the batter before Juan Uribe drove in two runs with a single in the top of the third. Kelly fumbled the ball at first, blowing his chance.

[Related: Don Mattingly's curious strategy costs Dodgers in Game 1]

More good, though: He also turned the tide against Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke, hitting a sharp single to left two start a rally with two outs in the third.

• The Cardinals bullpen tossed seven scoreless innings.

• Jon Jay let Beltran call him off the fly ball that turned into the game-saving 9-2 double play.

• Dodgers manager Don Mattingly used Dee Gordon as a pinch runner in the eighth after Adrian Gonzalez led off with a walk. Gordon didn't even try to steal and was retired on a fielder's choice. One batter later, Uribe grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning with the score still tied 2-all. And the Dodgers second-best slugger was out of the game.

"You've got to shoot your bullet when you get a chance," said Mattingly, who added that Yasiel Puig swung early in the sequence, which hurt Gordon's chances of stealing.

• Puig went 0 for 6.

Michael Young, subbing for Gonzalez, grounded into a double play to kill a scoring chance in the 12th.

The Dodgers went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 batters.

• Mattingly's decision to pinch run for Gonzalez, which also allowed the Cards to pitch around Hanley Ramirez repeatedly.

[Photos: Dodgers vs. Cardinals in NLCS]

• Did Yadier Molina actually get a tag on Mark Ellis at the plate after Beltran's throw? Perhaps not, but there's also not an umpire on the planet who would have called Ellis safe.

• What day is it?

The first pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. ET on Saturday. Left-hander Clayton Kershaw opposes Michael Wacha. Isn't that just the best-sounding pitching matchup?

The postseason marches on!
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