St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran had a night to remember, adding to his already impressive postseason resume. The 36-year-old drove in all three Cardinals’ runs including the decisive score in the 13th inning as the Redbirds took a 1-0 lead in the National League Championship Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night at Busch Stadium.
Beltran has amassed some incredible numbers over the course of four postseasons. In 40 games and 176 plate appearances including last night, Beltran owns a slash line of .345/.449/.750. He’s hit 16 home runs and driven in 34.
While Beltran has one moment he would like back, striking out against current teammate Adam Wainwright to end the 2006 NLCS as a member of the New York Mets, he’s since won a World Series ring in St. Louis and has the ability to carry his team to another this season.
The Cardinals found themselves down 2-0 in the third inning, after Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe knocked in a pair of runs with a two-out single. Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke looked locked in up to the bottom of the same frame.
Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly reached on a two-out single and second baseman Matt Carpenter walked bringing up Beltran, who launched 3-1 fastball off the wall in right center field, evading Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier, scoring both runners to knot the game at two.
Beltran also did it in the field last night as he gunned down Mark Ellis in the 10th inning at the plate to prevent the Dodgers from taking the lead.
The big and decisive blow came with one out in the bottom of the 13th when Beltran ripped a Kenley Jansen delivery into right field scoring Daniel Descalso who had reached on a single.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pinch-ran Dee Gordon for Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth inning and it came back to haunt him twice as Michael Young failed to produce in the spot.
- Greinke allowed just five baserunners in eight innings of two-run ball with 10 strikeouts.
- Kelly turned in a solid six-inning effort, scattering six hits and two walks with 5 Ks.
- Yasiel Puig went 0-for-6 stranding seven runners.
- The Dodgers first four hitters (Carl Crawford, Ellis, Hanley Ramirez and Gonzalez reached base 10 times in 16 plate appearances but scored just two runs.
Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw
Cardinals – Michael Wacha
If the Dodgers expect to take this series, they need to win each time Kershaw is on the hill. It will not be easy as Wacha has been nearly unhittable in his last two starts. The Dodgers may have missed a big opportunity last night with Kelly on the mound for the Cards. Wainwright will be the Cardinals Game 3 starter, so if the Dodgers head home down 2-0, it will put immense pressure on their starter Hyun-Jin Ryu.