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Dodgers, Cardinals go to extras in NLCS opener

AP - Sports
Dodgers, Cardinals go to extras in NLCS opener
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Carlos Beltran hit a two-run double and later threw out a runner at the plate as the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers were tied at 2 after 12 innings Friday night in the NL championship series opener.

It was the first extra-inning game in this postseason. It was past midnight when the Cardinals and Dodgers moved into the 13th at Busch Stadium.

Dodgers starter Zack Greinke struck out 10 in eight innings, allowing just four hits. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly left after the sixth with the score 2-all.

Mark Ellis tripled with one out in the Dodgers 10th. After Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked, Michael Young followed with a fly ball to shallow right field that Beltran caught.

Beltran made a strong, one-hop throw home and Ellis crashed into Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina.

Molina held the ball, but it was hard to tell whether he actually tagged Ellis. On such plays, however, umpires almost always give the benefit to the catcher and call the runner out.

The Dodgers put runners at first and second with two outs in the 11th against John Axford. Pinch-hitter Nick Punto, who played for the Cardinals on their 2011 World Series championship team, struck to end the inning.

Young, in the game after cleanup man Adrian Gonzalez was pulled for a pinch-runner in the eighth, got another chance in 12th. With runners on first and second, he grounded into an inning-ending double play against Lance Lynn.

Beltran hit a tying, two-run double in the third that barely eluded Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier.

Slowed by a sore ankle, Ethier made his first start in this postseason. He appeared to mistime his jump just a bit as he banged into the padded wall.

Beltran's two-run double in the third was the only damage against Greinke. He fanned Carpenter, Matt Adams and Pete Kozma twice each and struck out the side in the fifth.

The teams are postseason foes for the first time since a Dodgers sweep in their 2009 division series. It's their first NLCS matchup since 1985, when the Cardinals won in six games behind game-breaking homers from Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark off Tom Niedenfuer.

Game 2 on Saturday features a marquee pitching matchup, with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw opposing rookie Michael Wacha, who has taken no-hit bids deep into his last two starts. Kershaw was the major league ERA leader for the third straight year, but two of his losses came against St. Louis and his 4.15 ERA was his highest against any team he faced at least twice.

Kelly left on his own terms after six innings in a 2-all tie, hurt only by Juan Uribe's two-run single in the third. Counting multiple efforts, the Cardinals had five relievers warm but the Dodgers were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Beltran has 33 postseason RBIs in 40 games after his two-run double off the wall in center tied it in the third.

Kelly got all three outs on strikeouts in the first. The Dodgers left runners on second and third when Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig fanned.

Kershaw started the division series clincher against Atlanta on three days' rest Monday and will be on regular rest in Game 2. The left-hander said the media made a big deal of short rest, but not he nor manager Don Mattingly.

The pregame festivities began with a nod to tradition, with eight Clydesdales pulling a Budweiser beer wagon that made two laps around the warning track at Busch Stadium. For a long time, the Cardinals were owned by Anheuser-Busch. The ceremony ended with Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright and injured closer Jason Motte throwing simultaneous first pitches.

Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire got a nice hand when he lined up along the third base line during introductions. So did two other former Cardinals, utility men Skip Schumaker and Punto. There was some booing for Greinke, who referred to Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter as a ''phony'' when Greinke was with the Brewers.

NOTES: Miss Missouri, Shelby Ringdahl, sang the national anthem. ... Carpenter, who entered in a 1-for-29 slump, walked and scored on Beltran's double. ... Greinke's career best is 15 strikeouts for the Royals on Aug. 25, 2009, against Cleveland.

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