Dodgers 3, Cardinals 2 (final)
The Dodgers erased the stink of Friday’s loss with a win against the Cardinals to tie the best-of-five series at 1-1. The final inning started with the Dodgers bringing in closer Kenley Jansen. Yadier Molina led off the inning by grounding out to third. Kolten Wong, battling through a nine-pitch plate appearance, struck out on a 96 mph fastball. Randal Grichuk then struck out to give the Dodgers the win.
Dodgers 3, Cardinals 2 (end of eighth inning)
Can Matt Carpenter do anything more to punish the Dodgers? He tied the score with a two-run home run to right-center field. Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly let Zack Greinke walk out to start the eighth inning but then replaced him with J.P. Howell. Greinke left to a standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd.
Oscar Tavares came in to pinch hit and hit a ball down the first-base line but decided against going to second. But it didn’t matter when Carpenter hit his home run. Jon Jay then beat a hit to deep short for a single. Brandon League was now the Dodgers pitcher, facing Matt Holliday, who grounded back to League for an easy out at first. League intentionally walked Matt Adams to get to Jhonny Peralta, who grounded into a double play.
It’s down to three outs. Pat Neshek was the new Cardinals pitcher and Matt Kemp greeted him with home run and what could be the winning margin. Miguel Rojas then reached first on a throwing error by Neshek. Carl Crawford then struck out swinging. Juan Uribe then grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Rojas at second. A.J. Ellis ended the inning by grounding out to second.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 0 (end of seventh inning)
Yadier Molina opened the inning by flying to Matt Kemp in right field. Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk each grounded out to Hanley Ramirez at shortstop to end the inning.
Marco Gonzalez is the new Cardinals pitcher and he gets Dee Gordon looking on a third strike. Yasiel Puig then struck out on three pitches, his fourth of the night. And, Adrian Gonzalez flied out to left to end the inning.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 0 (end of sixth inning)
Matt Carpenter, a serious thorn in the Dodgers' side, opened the inning with a double. But Zack Greinke got John Jay to ground out sharply to shortstop. Matt Holliday then struck out for the third time. Matt Adams walked to put runners at first and second, but Jhonny Peralta struck out, Greinke’s seventh of the night, to end the inning.
Matt Kemp opened the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single to left field and Hanley Ramirez walked, giving the Dodgers runners at first and second with no outs. But Carl Crawford struck out and Juan Uribe ran the count to full before he hit a short hopper to first for the second out. A.J. Ellis was then intentionally walked to load the bases so that Greinke could come to the plate. He grounded out to third to end the inning.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 0 (end of fifth inning)
Zack Greinke opened up the inning by getting Yadier Molina to ground out back to the mound. Kolten Wong then got the Cardinals' first hit with a double down the right-field line, also giving the Cardinals their first realistic scoring opportunity. But Greinke got Randal Grichuk to strike out and then Lance Lynn, the pitcher, to strike out on three pitches. Greinke has thrown 68 pitches.
The bottom of the order breathed some life, although short, back into the Dodgers. After A.J. Ellis grounded out to second, Greinke singled to center, his second of the game, and then dee Gordon singled through the middle putting runners at the corners. Yasiel Puig, who had struck out twice, made it a trifecta by striking out again. It was Lynn’s seventh strikeout. Adrian Gonzalez ended the inning by popping up to center.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 0 (end of fourth inning)
Zack Greinke continued to look strong as he struck out Matt Holliday on three pitches. Matt Adams then flew out to left-center field that was gathered in by Carl Crawford. Greinke then got Jhonny Peralta to fly out to center. So far Greinke has thrown 51 pitches and, guess what, hasn’t given up a hit.
Hanley Ramirez opened the bottom of the fourth with a hard shot to shortstop and was thrown out at first. Crawford then grounded to first on the next pitch. And Juan Uribe struck out on a ball well outside the strike zone.
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 0 (end of third inning)
Randal Gricheck opened the inning by flying to Kemp in shallow right field. Lance Lynn then batted like a pitcher and struck out in three pitches. Carpenter then drew a walk. But, Jay lined out on the first pitch to Gordon at second.
The Dodgers were the first to get on the board in the game. A.J. Ellis sent a 3-1 pitch to the right-field wall for a double, giving the Dodgers their first real scoring chance with no outs. Kershaw was asked to lay down two sacrifice bunts on Friday, which he did easily, and everyone thought the same was in store for Zack Greinke. But on a 1-1 count he fooled everyone and dropped a looping single over first base into shallow right to put runners at the corners. Dee Gordon then appeared to ground into a double play, allowing Ellis to score and give the Dodgers the first lead of the game, but on replay it showed that Greinke was tagged with a glove without a ball and Greinke was reinstated at second. Yasiel Puig then struck out for the second time. But Adrian Gonzalez, the RBI leader in the National League, came through with a single to right to score Greinke. Kemp ended the inning by flying out to right field.
Dodgers 0, Cardinals 0 (end of second inning)
Jhonny Peralta opened the second by lining out to Matt Kemp in right field. Yadier Molina then drove an 0-2 pitch deep into left field that was caught by Carl Crawford. Kolten Wong ended the inning by grounding to Adrian Gonzalez at first.
Kemp led off for the Dodgers by grounding out to shortstop. Hanley Ramirez then beat out a slow roller to third base giving the Dodgers their first runner of the game. Crawford, who has been hot lately, wasn’t in his first at-bat and struck out. Juan Uribe finished the inning by striking out on a 3-2 pitch outside the strike zone.
Dodgers 0, Cardinals 0 (end of first inning)
Unlike Friday, the Dodgers did not give up a run in the first inning. Matt Carpenter led off by grounding out to Dee Gordon at second. Then Zack Greinke hit Jon Jay in the foot in a clearly unintentional way. Matt Holliday was at the plate when Jay successfully went to second on a wild, 1-1 pitch. But Holliday struck out on the eighth pitch of his at-bat. Matt Adams ended the inning by grounding to Gordon at second.
Gordon duplicated his first at-bat from Friday by striking out and not looking good doing it. Yasiel Puig became the second strikeout victim chasing a pitch out of the strike zone. Adrian Gonzalez closed out the inning by flying out to center field.
The problem for the Dodgers in their division series opening loss to the Cardinals wasn’t the offense, so Manager Don Mattingly will send out the same lineup for Game 2 on Saturday.
The Dodgers had 16 hits and scored nine runs Friday.
“I feel like if we score nine runs today, we’ll be all right,” Mattingly said. “I like the way we swung the bats.”
So out for Game 2 on Saturday will be the same group: 1. Dee Gordon 2B; 2. Yasiel Puig CF; 3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B; 4. Matt Kemp RF; 5. Hanley Ramirez SS; 6. Carl Crawford LF; 7. Juan Uribe 3B; 8. A.J. Ellis C; 9. Zack Greinke P.
The Cardinals have changed their lineup slightly to face the right-handed Greinke: 1. Matt Carpenter 3B; 2. Jon Jay CF (moves up to the second spot); 3. Matt Holliday LF; 4. Matt Adams 1B (moves up two spots against the right-hander); 5. Jhonny Peralta, SS; 6. Yadier Molina C; 7. Kolten Wong 2B (starts in place of Pete Kozma), 8. Randal Grichuk RF; 9. Lance Lynn P.
A look at St. Louis' reaction
They were, as you just might expect, a tad happy back under the Gateway Arch after the Cardinals’ 10-9 comeback victory over the Dodgers Friday.
Here’s a sampling of what writers were saying post-opener.
Joe Strauss, St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist, was left wondering why Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly kept Clayton Kershaw out there in the decisive seventh inning when he was clearly struggling:
Conspiracy zealots have officially postponed further investigation of the single-bullet theory to scrutinize what actually happened to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly during Friday’s seventh inning in Chavez Ravine.
Did Mattingly get locked in the third-base dugout rest room?
Mesmerized by ace Clayton Kershaw’s six-inning dominance against the overmatched Cardinals, did Donnie Baseball merely doze off, awakening to the explosive sound of the visitors' bats crashing three ... Four ... FIVE ... SIX!!! hits against his presumptive Cy Young Award winner?
Was he in the clubhouse watching the ninth race from Del Mar on TVG?
If patience is a virtue, Mattingly emerged from Friday’s reversal nominated for sainthood.
And after Kershaw gave up that three-run triple to Matt Carpenter:
Only then did Mattingly emerge from the dugout carrying a hook.
Funny, he walked pretty well for a dude who had popped a hamstring running away from his bullpen.
Bernie Miklasz, columnist St. Louis Sports Dispatch, compared the Cardinals' comeback against Kershaw to Kirk Gibson’s Hollywood moment:
This shocking comeback didn’t really happen, did it? There’s a colony of creative screenwriters all over L.A., gifted talents who have won Oscars and Emmys and all of the industry awards. But you couldn’t find one to come up with a story as preposterous as this. Not for Friday night in Game 1 of the National League division series, not with Dodger Stadium as the setting, and not in our lifetimes.
From Tracy Ringolsby, of MLB.com:
Matt Carpenter embodies what the St. Louis Cardinals are all about.
He's an old-school ballplayer. He's not one of those guys that catches your attention when he walks in the room. By the time he leaves, however, he's made his presence felt.
And does he ever make his presence felt.
Nobody knows that better than Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw.
Scott Wuerz, of the Bellville News-Democrat, believes since the Cardinals have beaten Kershaw badly in his last two postseason starts, they have to be messing with his psyche:
Regardless of the outcome, the Cardinals bloodied the nose of Kershaw with eight hits and eight earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. At some point, it must get into a guy's head when the same team always seems to find a way to beat him. Especially in the post season.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Derrick Goold thinks Friday ranks with the Cardinals’ all-time greatest comebacks:
Though it lacked the gravity of elimination, Friday’s Game 1 reversal joins the storybook that already includes the 2011 World Series comeback against the Texas Rangers and the 2012 NLDS stunner at Washington. It could prove just as important. The Cardinals take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series and wrest home-field advantage away from the NL West champ Dodgers. They also reinforce their hex over Kershaw, who has lost three consecutive playoff games to Cardinals.
Goold also thinks St. Louis starting pitcher Lance Lynn views tonight’s start as a possible career-defining moment:
The next phase to becoming the starting pitcher Lance Lynn intends to be can only happen in the postseason, where after a breakthrough season he intends to do things he hasn’t before, things he believes “great pitchers” do.
“You look at some of the great pitchers in the game, they do that,” said Lynn, who had 15 quality starts in his final 16 games in the regular season.
“That’s what I want to be. So that’s the next step to becoming what I want to be.”
Keys to the game
The key for the Dodgers in Game 2 of their division series – win the game.
By a mere run, by double digits, in extra innings, by fluke or error, by luck or larceny. They just absolutely have to win. By any means possible.
That was a painful 10-9 loss the Dodgers were handed Friday in the series opener, but they need to brush it off and bounce back in a big way. History says they can. They lost the opener in their last two series against the Giants and came back to win the next two.
“This time of year, any time you lose one, it feels like a kick in the gut,” said Manager Don Mattingly.
Mattingly said the Dodgers showed their determination when they fell behind 10-6 and then battled back to within a run.
“It would have been easy for our guys to go away,” he said. “Our guys kept battling. We let everyone know, we’re not going away, we’re going to keep playing.”
Falling behind 0-2 in a division series is not a wise idea. Only five out of 44 teams to ever lose the first two games in a division series have ever come back to win it and advance to the league championship series.
“They will be ready to play (Saturday),” Mattingly said. “I’m confident about that. It’s a tough loss. It’s got to be put behind us quick.”
Zack Greinke’s been here before: the Dodgers in a bad spot in the postseason against the Cardinals and very much needing him to come through.
Good news for the Dodgers, he delivered in the past.
He faced the Cardinals twice last season in the National League Championship Series and pitched well each time. His second start was in Game 5 and his victory kept the Dodgers alive for another game.
He may have actually pitched better in the first game, the series opener the Dodgers eventually lost, 3-2 in 13 innings. He gave up two runs in eight innings on four hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.
In winning Game 5, he went seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Now Greinke takes to the mound in Game 2 of the division series against the Cardinals, the Dodgers down 1-0 after Friday’s heartbreaking loss and needing him come up big again against St. Louis.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Greinke said. “Wasn’t like I pitched bad, but I think I got a little lucky.”
In his regular-season career in 14 games against the Cardinals (12 starts), Greinke is 9-4 with a 3.17 ERA.
Saturday he’ll be opposed by the pitcher who won last year’s opener in relief, Lance Lynn. The St. Louis right-hander went 15-10 for the second consecutive season by posting a 2.74 ERA.
He started twice against the Dodgers this season. He was blown out in two innings (seven runs on nine hits) in his first start, but earned the victory in holding them to two runs on four hits in his second start.