Ryu, Dodgers earn Game 3 win
Cardinals lead NLCS 2-1
Rookie left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu added his name to the list of Los Angeles Dodgers postseason aces in a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday at Dodger Stadium, stepping up when he was needed most.
The Dodgers, who trail two games to one in the series, broke a 22-inning scoring drought to support Ryu, who threw seven scoreless innings. He gave up three singles and a walk while striking out four, and he became the first South Korean-born pitcher to win a postseason game in major league history.
Ryu joined Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser as the only pitchers in franchise history to give up three hits or fewer over seven or more shutout innings in the playoffs.
"All I was thinking about was the fact that we were down 2-0 (in the series), and I told myself this could potentially be the last start I ever pitched here this year," Ryu said. "So I focused from the very first pitch. I just zoned in, and fortunately I was able to get a good result out of the game."
The Dodgers provided the only offense Ryu needed in the fourth inning, a two-run rally that began when St. Louis center fielder Jon Jay failed to catch Mark Ellis' leadoff fly ball to right-center field.
Ellis was credited with a double, and after taking third base on a flyout by Hanley Ramirez, he scored on a double over first base by Adrian Gonzalez. Yasiel Puig hit a two-out triple off the right field fence to put Los Angeles ahead 2-0.
"It wasn't very characteristic of how we played all season," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Our team has done a great job of improving defensively. We just had a lot of balls in the air tonight that hit the ground that normally don't. We're a better club than this."
The Dodgers scored for the first time since Juan Uribe's two-run single in the third inning of Game 1, which the Cardinals won 3-2 in 13 innings Friday. Michael Wacha and four St. Louis relievers shut out the Dodgers 1-0 in Game 2 on Saturday.
Ramirez, who had two hits Monday while playing with a hairline fracture in his left ribcage, singled home Carl Crawford with the final run in the eighth inning.
"This time of the year you cannot lay down," said Ramirez, who wore a protective pad around his ribs and admitted he was in pain throughout. "You just have to keep going, all the way. We're here for the team, for the city. We have to give everything we got every day."
Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson threw a scoreless eighth inning, and Kenley Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
St. Louis had two runners on base in only one inning, the fifth, after David Freese and Matt Adams opened the inning with singles, the Cardinals' first two hits.
Freese came out due to right calf tightness, and pinch runner Daniel Descalso misread Jay's fly ball to short left field and was easily doubled off second by Crawford. Ryu induced a groundout from Pete Kozma to end the inning.
Four times, the Dodgers came from behind to win postseason series after losing the first two games, but the 2004 Boston Red Sox are the only team that overcame a 3-0 deficit.
"Realistically, you feel like it's a must-win," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, they still have the upper hand because they're up 2-1. But you feel like you're back in the series, and it gives your guys a little bit of confidence. Again, I think the playoffs are a one-day momentum swing. Every day changes with momentum. Right now I feel like we've kind of grabbed it."
St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright, who allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings, suffered his first loss in five career postseason decisions. The Cardinals right-hander won Games 1 and 5 of the NL Division Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up two runs in 16 innings.
Puig collected his first two hits of the series.
NOTES: Ramirez started despite the injury that occurred when he was struck by a pitch in Game 1 of the series. He was held out of Game 2. ... Los Angeles CF Andre Ethier, who did not start in the final 15 games of the regular season while nursing an ankle injury, started in Game 3 and went 0-for-4. He struck out as a pinch hitter to end Game 2. Ethier pinch-hit in all four games of the NLDS and made his first start since Sept. 13 in Game 1 of the NLCS, going 1-for-5 with a single and a walk. ... Dodgers RHP Ricky Nolasco and Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn are the scheduled starters for Game 4 on Tuesday, but Mattingly left some wiggle room after Game 3, saying, "As of right now, Ricky is our set pitcher." RHP Zack Greinke would be pitching on three days' rest for the first time this season if he went instead. Nolasco is 2-0 with an 0.75 ERA against St. Louis this season, one win with the Miami Marlins and one with the Dodgers. Lynn went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA against the Dodgers this season, throwing six shutout innings May 24 at Dodger Stadium. He is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three career starts against Los Angeles.