Matt Kemp congratulated on first inning home run
In a game that might have been directed by Cecile B. DeMille, with the cast of thousands replaced by nearly that many left on base, the Dodgers tagged Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals with a 5-3 loss and took an early lead in the best of five National League Division Series.
The game set a record for post-season play -- NLDS, NLCS and World Series -- for runners left on base (30). The Dodgers left 16 on and the Cardinals stranded 14 in the three-hour and fifty-four minute marathon, another record.
The two starting pitchers, Randy Wolf and Carpenter, didn't bring their "A" game to the opener but both dug in and fought off base runners in 16 of the 17 half-innings.
Carpenter was tagged for nine hits and four runs and took the loss.
The NL’s ERA leader while going 17-4 overall and 2-0 against the Dodgers this season, gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings. The right-hander walked four and struck out three.
Carpenter went 12-1 after the All-Star break, losing once since June 30. He allowed four runs just twice in the 13 decisions.
Wolf allowed six hits and two runs, as well as five walks and a hit-batsman, in four innings.
Although Wolf allowed eight hits, he only surrendered a pair of runs and the Dodgers superb bullpen took over with two out in the fourth inning and stopped the St. Louis offense in their tracks.
St. Louis ran out six pitchers in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the Dodgers off the bases. Joe Torre's Dodgers used Wolf, Ron Belisario, Hong-Chih Kuo, George Sherrill and then Jonathan Broxton nailed the win down with a four-out save but not before allowing a single and a run-scoring double in the ninth that brought the tying run to the plate.
St. Louis threatened to put the game away in the first inning, loading the bases with none out. Wolf might have escaped any damage after recording a strikeout but a pop fly off the bat of Ryan Ludwick fell between Ron Belliard and Matt Kemp in center field to drive in the first run of the game.
Belliard then made up for things when he roamed behind second base to glove a ground ball that had glanced off Wolf, backhanded it to Furcal and he fired to Loney for an inning-ending double play.
The slim lead disappeared in the bottom of the first when Rafael Furcal singled and Matt Kemp slugged the first pitch he saw into the center field seats for a 2-1 L.A. margin.
Each inning featured the same frantic scrambling by each team to somehow drive in the runners who were on base all night long.
St. Louis rapped out a pair of singles in the second; Furcal tripled in the bottom of the inning but none of them scored.
The Cardinals had a hit and a walk in the third. Andre Ether was hit by a pitch, Manny Ramirez walked and Casey Blake drove in the Dodgers third run with an infield hit. Russ Martin walked but L.A, left the bases jammed.
A walk and a Skip Schumaker double in the fourth cut the lead to 3-2 and a walk and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases before Torre called on Jeff Weaver, who snatched a come-backer and retired the side. Ethier singled and Ramirez double in the bottom of the inning but it was the Dodgers' turn to leave the sacks jammed.
The two teams had left 19 runners on base between them at the end of four.
Weaver got out of the fifth, pitching around yet another double and eventually earned the win. Then Ron Belliard, who started in place of Orlando Hudson, singled, Martin walked and Furcal's sacrifice fly made it 4-2.
Ron Belisario pitched the only 1-2-3 inning of the entire game in the sixth and the Dodgers made it 5-2 in the bottom of the inning when Ethier led off with a double, James Loney singled with one out and with two out, Belliard walked and Martin was hit by a pitch.
Hong-Chih Kuo worked around a pair of two-out singles in the seventh and Furcal banged out his third hit of the game and Ethier walked but Ramirez hit into an inning-ending double play.
George Sherrill took over in the eighth and retired the first Cardinal, hit Schumaker with a pitch and retired Brandon Ryan on the fly ball to right field, brining up Albert Pujols who had walked twice and twice had bounced out to shortstop.
Torre didn't hesitate and called on Broxton immediately. Blake and Belliard walked in the bottom of the eighth but the Dodgers found themselves with two out and Broxton coming up. He was allowed to hit and struck out.
Broxton hit 99 with his fastball and 91 with his slider in the ninth but after retiring Matt Holliday, Ludwig singled and was allowed to take second base uncontested. Yadier Molina fanned for the second out but Mark DeRosa lined a shot to center field that Kemp attempted a shoestring catch -- but missed.
Ludwick scored and DeRosa was curiously given a double and no error charged. That brought up pinch-hitter Troy Ankiel who represented the tying run but Broxton disposed of him on three pitches to nail down the win.
Along with Furcal's three hits, Ethier, Loney and Blake had a pair each.
The Dodgers won their fourth straight National League Division Series game, having swept the Cubs in 2008, and prepared to face the second Cardinal Cy Young candidate, 19-game winner Adam Wainright in the second game this afternoon in Dodger Stadium. Carpenter and Wainright have lost back-to-back games only once this season.
Los Angeles will counter with twenty-one year old Clayton Kershaw who finished the season 8-8 and will be making his first post-season appearance. Kershaw will be the 11th youngest pitcher to start a game in the playoffs when he takes the mound at Dodger Stadium.
Despite the long, pressure-packed game the two teams will be back in action some 16 hours after Game 1 ended. The Dodgers would be odds-on to take the series if they can capture the second game. After two games in St. Louis, Game 5, if needed, will be back in Dodger Stadium.
“It was a little sinker down the middle,” Kemp said of the pitch he hit for the home run. “We haven’t done too well against him, but we came tonight with the confidence. We were trying to make him battle and got him out pretty early and got to the bullpen.”
When asked about today's game he said, "Tomorrow another Cy Young winner and another win."
Score by innings
St. Louis 100 100 001-3
Los Angeles 201 011 00x-5
Los Angeles ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss 4 1 3 1 .750
Kemp cf 5 1 1 2 .200
Ethier rf 3 2 2 0 .667
Ramirez lf 4 0 1 0 .250
Loney 1b 4 0 2 0 .500
Blake 3b 4 0 2 1 .500
Belliard 2b 3 1 1 0 .333
Hudson pr-1b 0 0 0 0 .000
Martin c 2 0 0 1 .000
Wolf p 2 0 0 0 .000
Weaver p 0 0 0 0 .000
Pierre ph 0 0 0 0 .000
Belisario p 0 0 0 0 .000
Thome ph 1 0 0 0 .000
Kuo p 0 0 0 0 .000
Sherrill p 0 0 0 0 .000
Broxton p 1 0 0 0 .000
Totals 33 5 12 5
St. Louis 36 3 11 3
Two-base hits- Ramirez (1), Ethier (1).
Three-base hits- Furcal (1). HR- Kemp (1)
RBI Kemp 2 (2), Blake (1), Furcal (1),
Martin (1). SF- Furcal. S- Pierre. LOB-
Los Angeles 16, St. Louis 14. DP- Wolf,
Belliard, Furcal and Loney.
Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era
Wolf 3.2 8 2-2 5 2 4.91
Weaver (1-0) 1.1 1 0-0 0 1 0.00
Belisario 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 0.00
Kuo 1.0 2 0-0 0 2 0.00
Sherrill 0.2 0 0-0 0 0 0.00
Broxton (sv 1) 1.1 2 1-1 0 2 6.75
HBP- Ethier, Martin; by Wolf, by Sherrill.
T: 3:54. Att- 56,000.