It was taunt and tense. It was a sweaty, nervous little game.
And ultimately, one extremely frustrating game for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers lost the opener of the National League Championship Series, 3-2 in 13 innings, on Friday night when Carlos Beltran singled off Kenley Jansen to finally drive in the winning run in St. Louis.
The Dodgers had chances all night to win the game but left 11 runners on base, hit into three double plays and had the potential winning run thrown out at the plate in the 10th inning.
Beltran was the Cardinal who threw out Mark Ellis at the plate. And Beltran was the Cardinal who doubled in the St. Louis’ two runs in the third inning to tie the score only minutes after the Dodgers took the lead on Juan Uribe’s two-run single.
It wasn’t the best managerial game for Don Mattingly, who saw most every move he tried backfire, including sacrifice bunts and running for Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth.
Game 2 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday.
Friday’s game took 4 hours 47 minutes and saw the Dodgers waste an excellent start by Zack Greinke.
An inning-by-inning recap of Game 1 of the NLCS:
Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2 (final in 13):
Carlos Beltran, king of St. Louis.
Beltran, who had driven in the Cardinals’ only other two runs, singled in the game winner in the bottom of the 13th inning Friday off Kenley Jansen.
After Daniel Descaiso singled and Matt Carpenter walked off rookie Chris Withrow, the Dodgers called on Jansen.
Beltran singled on a 3-1 pitch and the Cardinals had won the opener of the National League Championship Series.
The game took four hours and 47 minutes.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of 13th):
Three up, three down for the Dodgers.
My kingdom for a run. It’s after midnight in St. Louis
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of 12th):
At this rate, they have have to delay the start of Game 2.
The Dodgers went to rookie reliever Chris Withrow in the bottom of the 12th, and he retired the side in order. The Cardinals have only five hits through 12 innings.
Withrow will likely be the first Dodgers reliever asked to throw more than one inning.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of 12th):
How many opportunities can the Dodgers waste?
Lance Lynn became the sixth St. Louis reliever, and immediately got into trouble by giving up a leadoff single to Carl Crawford.
It was time for Don Mattingly’s favorite frustrating move -- he had Mark Ellis sacifice bunt Crawford to second.
Which naturally, immediately took the bat out of the hands of their best hitter. Hanley Ramirez was walked intentionally.
That brought up Michael Young, who promptely bounced into a double play.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of 11th):
Neither team may ever score again.
After both scored a pair of runs in the third, it’s been all zeros.
J.P. Howell took over for the Dodgers in the bottom of the 11th and gave up a leadoff single to Matt Carpenter. But then, as this game is going, retired the next three Cardinals.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of 11th):
The Cardinals went into the series with a nine-man bullpen, and they may need the all.
John Axford became the fifth Cardinals reliever in the 11th, but he pitched just like all the rest, almost teasing the Dodgers.
The Dodgers got a two-out walk to Andre Etheir and single from A.J. Ellis, but Axford struck out pinch-hitter, and ex-Cardinal, Nick Punto.
The Dodgers are living dangeriously. They’ve now left 10 men on base and are 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of 10):
Relax, Ronald Belisario took over to start the inning, and lo and behold, it was the good Belisario.
Belisario retired the side in order on just seven pitches.
The last time the Dodgers were in extra innings in the postseason was in the 1996 division series against the Braves.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of 10th):
First Carlos Beltran strikes with the bat, then with the glove.
The Dodgers got a one-out triple from Mark Ellis, which brought up Michael Young, who had replaced Adrian Gonzalez after he left for a pinch runner in the eighth.
Young lifted a fly ball, but only to medium right-center. Center-fielder Jon Jay backed off the ball so Beltran could make the catch and fire home. And fire he did.
Ellis broke on the catch and sprinted for home, but Beltran’s throw was a bullet right on line to catcher Yadier Molina, who tagged out Ellis and held onto the ball after a solid collision at the plate.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of nine):
The first game of the NLCS will be decided in extra innings after the Cardinals missed out on a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth.
Brian Wilson took over for Zack Greinke to start the ninth. He retired Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday, but then walked Matt Adams and Yadier Molina.
Jon Jay worked the count full, but then got the biggest out of the night thus far, when Jay flied out to center. It took Wilson 28 pitches to get out of the inning.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of ninth):
St. Louis went to their fourth reliever to start the inning, so at least the Dodgers have a big edge in arms used if this game drags into extra innings.
Hard-throwing Trevor Rosenthal retired the Dodgers in order, including striking out Skip Schumaker, who hit for Greinke.
Greinke allowed only four hits in his eight innings, walking one to go with his season-high 10 strikeouts. If Andre Ethier is able to make that catch, he had a four-hit shutout through eight innings.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of eight):
Zack Greinke has completed eight innings and struck out 10, a season-high. And it may not be enough.
That was probably Greinke’s last inning. He’s thrown 104 pitches and -- don’t get nervous now -- Ronald Belisario is warming up in the bullpen.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of eighth):
The Dodgers are going to have to try and win this one without Adrian Gonzalez the rest of the way.
Reliever Carlos Martinez started the inning for St. Louis and immediately walked Gonzalez. Manager Don Mattingly elected to use Dee Gordon as a pinch-runner.
But Gordon was erased at second on a Yasiel Puig bouncer, and then Juan Uribe hit into a double play.
Now the Dodgers are without Gonzalez in the tie game, and have lost Gordon for later use as a pinch runner. Michael Young took over for Gonzalez at first.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of seven):
Yasiel Puig has struggled at the plate so far (0 for 3, six runners left on base), but the series got its first glimpse of the talent he posses in the seventh.
With Jon Jay on first with one out, David Freese hit a sinking liner. Unfortunately for Freese, it was to Puig in right.
Puig sprinted in to make the catch at his knees, then while on the run, quickly fired to first to double up Jay, who had gone too far to second and could not return to first in time to beat the throw.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of seventh):
The Cardinals have gone to their bullpen, and through one inning it was must more of the same. Ex-Dodger left-hander Randy Choate got Carl Crawford to pop up, and then right-hander Seth Maness got Mark Ellis to ground out and struck out Hanley Ramirez.
St. Louis starter Joe Kelly settled down after a rough start. He gave up two runs in his six innings on six hits and two walks. He struck out five.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of sixth):
The Cardinals again went in order. Zack Greinke has now retired the last eight consecutive Cardinals.
This is starting to look like a game for the bullpens, which will quickly test the Dodgers plan to shake it up this round.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of sixth):
The Dodgers got a leadoff single from Juan Uribe, who has two of the Dodgers’ six hits and has driven in both runs.
Uribe advanced to second on a two-out groundout, but Manager Don Mattingly elected to let right-hander Zack Greinke bat. He flied out to center.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of fifth):
Zack Greinke appears firmly back in control. He struck out the side in the fifth. He has eight strikeouts through five innings.
Greinke has thrown 73 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of fifth):
Offense has become rumor.
Both teams are failing to mount anything really resembling a rally. Adrian Gonzalez singled with out out, but otherwise is was all quiet.
Joe Kelly has thrown 76 pitches through five innings, and the Cardinals have Lance Lynn up in the bullpen.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of fourth):
The Cardinals got a one-out single from Yadier Molina, but otherwise went quietly. Zack Greinke looked back in control.
Manager Don Mattingly told TV between innings that shortstop Hanley Ramirez was OK after being hit in the ribs by a pitch in the first. He’s remained in the game.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (middle of fourth):
Maybe seeing his team rally to tie the game back up relaxed right-hander Joe Kelly.
The Cardinals’ starter got is first 1-2-3 inning, quickly retiring the Dodgers in order.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 2 (end of third):
The Cardinals finally managed their first hit off Zack Greinke, and it came from the least likely source -- right-hander Joe Kelly. It hardly looked like anything was about to change, given Zack Greinke had struck out the first two Cardinals.
Only that was followed by a walk to leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter, and Greinke suddenly was struggling. He got a 3-1 changeup too far over the plate and Carlos Beltran hit a drive off the center-field wall.
Andre Ethier, making his first start since Sept. 13, sprinted over and appeared to have a play on the Beltran drive, but missed it as he lept at the wall. Both runners scored to tie it.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 0 (middle of third):
It’s Juan Uribe, the Dodgers’ sudden Superman.
The Dodgers threatened in each of the first two innings and looked in danger of coming away empty again in the third after loading the bases with one out on a Carl Crawford double and a pair of walks.
Yasiel Puig hit a comebacker that Joe Kelly bobbled momentarily and then went to the plate with, but Uribe -- who managed something of a big hit in his last game -- banged the first pitch he saw up the middle for a two-run single.
Dodgers 0, Cardinals 0 (end of second):
Hanley Ramirez came back on the field in the bottom of the second. He was hit by the Joe Kelly pitch in the left ribs, so it’s not his throwing side. In the first, though, he did have to go high to snare a Matt Holliday soft liner.
Zack Greinke, meanwhile, continued to look sharp, retiring the Cardinals in order for a second time.
Dodgers 0, Cardinals 0 (middle of second):
Hanley Ramirez, hit in the ribs by a Joe Kelly pitch in the first, was receiving treatment in the dugout and in obvious pain while the Dodgers batted.
Andre Ethier returned to the lineup with a one-out single to center. He was forced at second on an A.J. Ellis bouncer, and got up slowly after sliding into second.
Kelly got Zack Greinke on a comebacker for the third out.
Dodgers 0, Cardinals 0 (end of first):
Zack Greinke looked sharp to start it off in the bottom of the first. All his pitches seemed on the edges of the plate.
He dispatched the Cardinals in order, needing only eight pitches (six strikes).
Dodgers 0, Cardinals 0 (middle of first):
And they’re under way.
The Dodgers threatened with one out when Mark Ellis singled and Hanley Ramirez was hit by a Joe Kelly pitch. Both runners advanced on a Kelly wild pitch.
But Kelly, the 25-year-old right-hander from Corona High School, struck out Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig. He actually struck out the side, having got Carl Crawford to start off the game. All were swinging.
That new Dodgers playoff roster -- the improved part still waiting to be determined -- is set with two new members of the bullpen.
Manager Don Mattingly and staff elected to leave left-handers Chris Capuano and Paco Rodriguez off the roster for the National League Championship Series, in favor of Edinson Volquez and Carlos Marmol.
Detalied explanations were not offered.
“I don’t know if I really want to go into all the reasons why, but obviously, we feel like this is the best club with St. Louis, for where we’re at right now,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly did announce before the Friday’s game that Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco will be the starting pitchers for Games 3 and 4, respectively.
If Mattingly keeps Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on normal rest, that means they would come back for Games 5 and 6. Which also means if there is a Game 7, Ryu is lined up for it. Ryu who was very shaky in his division-series start againt Atlanta. Nolasco was so shaky at the end of the season, he never did get a division series.
This is the first time the Dodgers and Cardinals have met since the 1985 NLCS, when Manager Tommy Lasorda infamously chose to pitch to Jack Clark. Maybe you remember how that turned out.
The series also features Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire in the opposite dugout from when he served in the same capacity for the Cardinals and they won thge 2011 World Series. Clearly, he knows most of their hitters, which can’t hurt the L.A. cause.