Carlos Beltran played a starring role for the St Louis Cardinals as the hosts out-lasted the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in a 13-inning marathon to claim the opener of the best-of-seven National League Championship Series on Friday.
After almost five hours of action, Beltran lined a single to right off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to score Daniel Descalso and end the taut contest in the bottom of the fourth extra inning.
The rightfielder, who has made a habit of rising to the occasion in the postseason, also drove in the Cardinals’ first two runs in the third inning and kept the Dodgers from taking the lead in the 10th by throwing out a runner at the plate.
“Today was a good game,” Beltran said after his winning hit as their red-clad fans rejoiced in the stands. “That’s what it’s all about. We didn’t want to lose, they didn’t want to lose.”
St Louis used seven pitchers in the game, with Lance Lynn earning the win. Los Angeles, who will bemoan a number of wasted scoring opportunities in the late innings, used six.
The game evolved into a pitchers’ duel between Zack Greinke of the Dodgers and St Louis starter Joe Kelly, with each team scoring a pair of runs in the third inning and nothing more until the climax.
Game Two is in St Louis on Saturday with rookie Michael Wacha scheduled to start for the Cardinals against 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers.