St. Louis Cardinals (0) at Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
Cardinals lead series 2-1
Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed seven scoreless innings allowing just four baserunners, while Yasiel Puig demonstrated his exuberance, albeit prematurely, flipping his bat in grand style after launching a run-scoring triple as part of a two-run fourth inning.
Adrian Gonzalez had opened the scoring with an RBI-double in the fourth, just the second Dodgers hit with runners in scoring position for in the series at the time. It broke a 21-inning scoreless streak for Los Angeles. After Andre Ethier, who played with a microfracture in his ankle, grounded out, up came the enigmatic Puig with two outs.
Cardinals’ starter Adam Wainwright threw a sinker that did not sink and Puig drove it the opposite way. The 22-year-old Cuban defector tossed his bat and raised his arms in delight, believing he just homered. Instead the ball hit the right field wall and Puig took off around the bases. Even with the grandstanding, Puig made it to third base standing up and the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead. For good measure, Puig celebrated again, encouraging the crowd to cheer.
Cardinals’ outfielder Carlos Beltran spoke about Puig’s antics after the game.
"I think he doesn't know," Beltran said via MLB.com. "He still thinks he's playing somewhere else, I don't know. He has a lot of passion, no doubt about that. Great ability, great talent and I think with time, he will learn that you have to sometimes act a little bit more calm. Not only with trying to show up other teams, [but also], like, umpires. It's going to take him time, but he's going to learn."
While the Dodgers finally pushed across some runs, Ryu was setting down Cardinals batters and did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. The southpaw rookie from Korea looked worlds better than he did in his NLDS performance against the Atlanta Braves and it came at the right time.
The Dodgers tacked on a run in the eighth when Hanley Ramirez, who was playing with a broken rib, blooped a single over Kolten Wong at second base. Wong neglected to see Carl Crawford charging home as he tossed the ball to second base instead. It was one of several miscues by the Cardinals defense that did not show up in the box score as errors, but did so eventually in the run column.
Wainwright pitched a very good game (7 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 2 ER, 5 K) but was also victimized by center fielder Jon Jay’s poor defense in the decisive fourth inning. Mark Ellis lofted a fly ball to right center, which Beltran gave way to seeing it was Jay’s ball. But Jay also held up and in dropped in as Ellis hustled to second base. Ellis scored the first run on Gonzalez’s double. Jay also dropped a ball off the bat of Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis which resulted in a triple, but he was stranded by Wainwright.
After Ryu's fabulous start, Brian Wilson struck out two in the eighth inning and then Kenley Jansen earned the save with a clean ninth inning.
In the end, the eccentric Dodgers got what they needed. They received some inspiration from Ramirez and Ethier, excellent pitching and the lineup finally provided some timely hitting. Puig's celebration was just a bonus.
- Mark Ellis is hitting .385 in the NLCS and .321/.387/500 in 31 postseason plate appearances
- Ramirez sits at .455/.571/.864 in 27 postseason PA
- There have been just nine runs scored (eight earned) in the entire series
- The Dodgers team ERA is 0.92 with a 0.68 WHIP
- The Cardinals have an ERA of 1.50 and a 1.00 WHIP
- The Cardinals bullpen went 11 2/3 innings without allowing a run until the Ramirez’s RBI-single in the eighth
- Cardinals third baseman David Freese left the game in the fifth with tightness in his right calf and is day-to-day
Game 4 Probables
St. Louis – Lance Lynn
Los Angeles – Ricky Nolasco
NLCS logo courtesy of sportslogos.net