Isn’t it amazing what a couple of runs can do for a team? The Dodgers entered the third game of the NLCS down 2-0 in the series as the NLCS shifted back to Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers were in dire need for a win, and while it wasn’t an elimination game technically, it felt like it as the club needed to avoid falling behind 3-0. The Dodgers were in the midst of a 19 consecutive innings scoreless drought, after two losses in St. Louis by scores of 3-2, and 1-0. Pitching has definitely dominated in this series, and tonight was another low scoring pitcher’s affair.
The Dodgers came into game three hurting though. The CT scans came back on Hanley’s ribs, and the Dodgers learned that Hanley does in fact have a fractured eighth rib. The lovable shortstop suffered when Glasses wearing Joe Kelly plunked him in the first inning of game 1. But Hanley is a warrior and decided to play anyways. The Dodgers gave the ok because there was no way he could injure it any further by playing. The Dodgers had to make a call to the USC Trojans in order to procure a special padded sheath for Hanley to wear underneath his uniform to protect his body. Another injured Dodger played as well, Andre Ethier was in back in the lineup even though he is still battling his ankle injury.
The assignment got even tougher for the Dodgers as they had the unenviable task of having to beat the Cardinal’s longtime ace right hander Adam Wainwright. Opposing him was left hander Hyun-jin Ryu, who was shaky in the NLDS against the Braves. Would Ryu be able to come up big for the Dodgers? The answer would be hell yes! The left hander was dominant, shutting out the Red Birds over seven frames, allowing only two hits, giving the Dodgers another strong starting effort. Wainwright was his usual stingy self, but ran into trouble in the fourth frame, giving up two runs. That was really all the Dodgers needed on this night.
Those two runs scored thanks to help from the Cardinal’s outfield. M.Ellis’s fly ball to the gap in left center falls in between Jay and Beltran for a double. Then after an Ethier grounder moved M.Ellis to third, he scored on a Gonzalez RBI double, giving the Dodgers their first run in 22 innings. They got one more in the frame, when Yasiel Puig tripled off the bullpen gate giving the boys in blue a 2-0 lead. The Dodger crowd exploded as Puig danced into third. The Dodgers tacked on one more run int he bottom of the eighth off of the Cardinal’s bullpen when Crawford and M.Ellis singled, and an RBI bloop single from Hanley scored Crawford. That put the Dodgers up 3-0.
Ryu was just too dominant for the Red Birds. Ryu who had beat the Cardinals in the regular season, held the Red bats to just two measly hits across seven shutout frames. Ryu whiffed four and walked one. Wainwright despite giving the Dodgers a steady diet of breaking balls, takes the loss. The tall ace threw seven frames, allowing two runs on six hits, walking one, and whiffing five Dodgers. The Dodgers also took advantage of a poor base running blunder by Descalso in the fifth. The infielder entered the game to pinch-run for David Freese, who hurt his ankle running the bases. Wilson and Jansen closed the shop in the ninth, and the Dodgers get on the board in the NLCS, cutting the Cardinal’s series lead to 2-1. Here’s how the exciting 3-0 game three victory played out. This series is not over yet!
Ryu gets the first out on Matt Carpenter on a fly out to left. Ryu gets ahead of Carlos Beltran, but loses him, walking him on a full count. Holliday pops out to right for the second out. Ryu freezes Yadier Molina on a called third strike to end the inning. There’s a walk and nothing else for the Cardinals. The Dodgers coming up to bat in the bottom of the first.
In the bottom of the first, Wainwright retires Carl Crawford on a grounder to short, and whiffs Mark Ellis on a 3-2 curveball in the dirt. Hanley Ramirez (All armored up) drops a bloop single to center that falls in front of Jay. Adrian Gonzalez’s broken bat looper ends the inning.
In the top of the second, Ryu gets David Freese to ground out to third, and whiffs Matt Adams on a called strike three. Jon Jay hits a little tapper to first, and the Dodgers come up to bat in the bottom half of the second frame.
Wainwright easily retires the Dodgers in order in the second inning. He whiffs Puig on a 3-2 curveball, and gets Uribe and Ethier to weakly ground out. Ryu gets Kozma to fly out to Ethier, and whiffs Wainwright for the second out. Carpenter taps out to Gonzalez, and we go to the bottom of the third in a scoreless tie. Wainwright induces A.J. Ellis to ground out to lead-off the bottom of the third. Ryu whiffs. Crawford grounds out.
In the top of the fourth, Ryu retires Beltran, and Gonzo makes a great play on Holliday’s sharp grounder. Molina is retired on a fly to center. The Dodgers threaten, and finally break through off of Wainwright in the bottom of the fourth. M.Ellis’s fly to right falls in between Jay and Beltran for a double. Hanley’s fly to right allows M.Ellis to tag up to third. Gonzo’s flare double over Adam’s head and down the right field line scores M.Ellis, and finally ends the drought for the Dodgers at 22 consecutive scoreless innings. Dodgers lead 1-0 on Gonzo’s RBI flare double. Ethier’s grounder moves Gonzo over to third. With two outs, Puig slams a triple off the top of the Cardinal bullpen gate. Gonzo scores, and the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead! Dodgers Stadium is rockin!!!! (Puig had thought he hit a home run at first)
The Dodgers and Ryu were able to squelch out a potential Cardinal’s rally in the top of the fifth to preserve their 2-0 lead. Thanks to some shoddy base running from the Cards. Ryu hadn’t allowed a hit up to that point, but David Freese’s bloop single to right is the first hit for the Red Birds. Puig’s dive is just a tad bit late, as the ball pops out of his glove. Adams follows suit with a single through the infield of his own, and the Cards have runners at first and second with none out. But on the play, Freese hurts hi ankle, and has to come out for a pinch-runner (Daniel Descalso). This becomes important. Jon Jay’s shallow fly to left is caught on the run by Crawford, and he fires to second to double up Descalso who had strayed into no-man’s land on the play. Kozma grounds to third, and the cardinals are denied of runs.
The Dodgers threaten again in the bottom half of the fifth, fueled by their new momentum of runs. A.J.’s long drive to the gap in center goes off of Beltran’s glove and A.J. ends up at third base with a triple! Ryu’s grounder can’t score A.J. with the Cardinal’s infield up, and it’s up to Crawford to get him in. But Crawford whiffs, and M.Ellis grounds out, and the Dodgers waste a lead-off triple. But the boys in blue still lead 2-0 after five frames.
Ryu records a nice easy 123 top of the sixth inning. Wainwright returns the favor, and we head into the seventh with the score still 2-0 Dodgers.
In the top of the seventh, after Holliday grounds out, Molina bloops one into center that Ethier traps, but does not catch. Descalso’s force out is almost a double play, but he barely beats it out, while Molina is erased at second. The Dodgers have a meeting on the mound to discuss how to pitch Adams, and Ryu assures them he is ok to go. Ryu delivers whiffing Adams like a fat rented mule, and the Dodgers escape. 2-0 Dodgers going into the seventh inning stretch. Puig singles leading-off in the bottom of the seventh, but Wainwright gets Uribe to GIDP. With two outs, A.J. grounds out and we head to the eighth. 2-0 Dodgers after seven frames.
Brian Wilson takes the mound in the top of the eighth. Ryu’s night is done after seven dominant frames. Jay leads-off with a single up the middle. Wilson freezes Kolten wong on the outside edge. Adron Chamber’s force out grounder erases Jay at second. Wilson whiffs Carpenter looking for the third strike as the Dodger Stadium crowd goes nuts.
Rookie Kevin Siegrist enters to pitch the bottom of the eighth taking over for Wainwright. He gets Michael Young on a grounder, but Crawford lines a single to center. Jay makes a diving attempt but can’t come up with it. The Cards make a pitching change and bring in right hander Seth Maness. M.Ellis singles Crawford to second. Hanley gets jammed and fists a blooper just over Descalso’s head for a single. Crawford races around third to score just ahead of Molina’s tag. Dodgers now lead 3-0. Mike Matheny argues, but to no avail. Former Dodger and big iguana Randy Choate gets Gonzo on a grounder, but the runners advance to second and third. Ethier whiffs and we move to the top of the ninth.
Here comes Kenley Jansen to close it out. Beltran fouls out for the first out. Holliday grounds out, and Molina grounds out to Hanley. Dodgers win 3-0! The Dodgers badly needed this win. Perhaps being home, and scoring a few runs, and beating the Cardinal’s ace will give the Dodgers the confidence needed to gain some momentum. I hope so. The boys in blue come out again tomorrow looking to even the series in game 4. The scheduled starters are Ricky Nolasco for the Dodgers, and Lance Lynn for the Cardinals. But there is no way Nolasco starts tomorrow. I’m going to take a guess that Zack Greinke comes back on short rest to pitch game 4. Check it out tomorrow night at 5PM on TBS. We’ll have the complete recap for you over here. The Dodger’s season is still alive!!!! You beat our ace, we beat yours St. Louis. Neener, neener, neener! Go Blue!