Dreams stay with you

Hyun-Jin Ryu was knocked out of his last start – and pitched seven shutout innings in this one.

Yasiel Puig was striking out too much – and hit a funky cold triple in this one.

Hanley Ramirez was hurt – and then he had the big hit.

Meet the new Dodgers – same as the good ol’ Dodgers.

Ready to be buzzed out of the playoffs like a game of Operation, the Dodgers turned the tables on the St. Louis Cardinals and ground out a 3-0 victory in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, closing to within a game of evening things.

The night amounted to one sudden, giant reversal of the series’ narrative, as proud St. Louis wasted its ace, Adam Wainwright, and played alternatively sloppy and careless on defense and the basepaths, while the Dodgers got the key hits, the key hustle and the key “game of inches” moments.

That includes Puig’s fourth-inning RBI triple, which looked like a home run to me when it left the bat – and just the same to Puig, who paused to admire the shot for a moment before launching the rockets. He still made it into third, standing up, leading some to wonder whether he might have had an inside-the-park home run had he run from the outset. Me, I thought he was trying to hit for the cycle in one at-bat.

Puig’s RBI was actually the second of the inning, following doubles by Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez that ended the Dodgers’ longest postseason scoreless streak since the 1966 World Series at 22 innings. (Puig’s hit ended his own 0-for-11 slump in the NLCS.) For all we knew, that first run would be the only one the Dodgers would get, and it came as a huge combination of relief and hope,. Puig’s triple, however, was the blow that really seemed to announce the Dodgers might be back.

Hardly independent of this was the adventures in center field by St. Louis’ John Jay, who had a hat trick of misplays that made Andre Ethier’s Game 1 outfield whiff on Carlos Beltran look relatively tame. Then came a combination of calamity in the top of the fifth for the Cardinals: Third baseman David Freese had to leave the game with a calf injury, and moments later, pinch-runner Daniel Descalso made a bad read on a fly ball to Carl Crawford and was doubled off second base.

That ended the biggest threat of the night against Ryu, who otherwise was in control from start to finish during his seven innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits and a walk. The Dodger bullpen didn’t even throw a warmup toss until a bloop single by Yadier Molina with one out in the seventh, but after Descalso grounded out, Ryu struck out Matt Adams to end his night with a flourish. Ryu became the first Dodger lefty since Jerry Reuss in 1981 to throw at least seven shutout innings in the playoffs.

Following a shutout frame by Brian Wilson, Los Angeles added one more insurance run in exciting fashion in the bottom of the eighth, with Ramirez, damaged rib and all, hitting a blooper to center field with two on and one out, and Carl Crawford hauling around third base to narrowly beat the throw home by backup infielder Kolten Wong.

Kenley Jansen put out the side in order in the ninth, and the Dodgers had their victory.

Coming up next … who starts Game 4 for the Dodgers?

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Win 3 of 4, that’s all!

    • WinnipegDave

      With Greinke and Kershaw pitching in at least 2 of those, if it does go another 4 games.

  • ASW1

    Gnats were down 3-1 to these same Cardinals last season and ended up winning the series.
    Being down 2-1 is nothin’.

    • WinnipegDave

      Not that we are encouraging the Dodgers to go down 3-1 tomorrow.

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

        Perish the thought!

  • Adam Luther

    Puig now out- slugging Beltran/Holliday.

  • WBBsAs

    I will cut Don some slack on tomorrow’s starting pitcher, since it’s a tough decision, unless he decides it’s Vólquez.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    This post has been updated.

  • WinnipegDave

    “Like a game of Operation…”

    Too good Jon. Too good.

  • WinnipegDave

    Game scores for Dodger pitching: Greinke 75, Kershaw 70, Ryu 74.
    Game scores for Cardinal pitching: Kelly 55, Wacha 71, Wainwright 62

  • GoDodgersFromWisconsin

    I think it has to be Nolasco at this point. It’s been two weeks since he pitched already. Throw him in game 4, and you can go Greinke, Kershaw and Ryu on regular rest in games 5 and, if necessary, 6 and 7. If you short-rest Greinke, maybe you even the series, but now you either have to short-rest Kershaw in Game 5, or trust Nolasco so you can save Kershaw for St. Louis. If you short-rest Kershaw, then you have to either short-rest Ryu in St. Louis, or trust Nolasco in either a clinching or an elimination game.

    Basically, the longer you wait, the higher the stakes will be for Nolasco if and when he finally does make his first postseason start.

    Or you can use Volquez at some point instead, and THAT won’t end poorly at all. No chance.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • foul tip

    Cards’ team BA still in the .130s? Or did it drop? .

  • XJill

    Wonderful game, the crowd was definitely nervous and subdued during starting lineups, etc. but once Ryu got his groove it was so impressive. I saw the start against the Braves and this time you could see he really wanted it and wow! AJ on that triple – I was afraid he was going to pass out!

    Over at espn there is (yawn) yet another story about Puig rather than one on Hanley playing injured, the Ellis’, Ramirez or any other storyline. Let Puig Be Puig, jeez louise. He does bad things and he does good things but no one can say he doesn’t care.

    I love him but they have to take Ethier out of the lineup tomorrow, right?