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Rookies lift Dodgers back into NLCS

Updated: 2013-10-16 07:07
By Associated Press in Los Angeles ( China Daily)

Rookies lift Dodgers back into NLCS

Ryu's arm and Puig's bat combine to spark LA to 3-0 win over Cards

Led by a pair of precocious rookies, the Los Angeles Dodgers got themselves right back into the National League Championship Series on Monday night.

Ryu Hyun-jin outpitched Adam Wainwright with seven innings of three-hit ball, and Yasiel Puig tripled home a run to help Los Angeles beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 in Game 3.

Adrian Gonzalez's RBI double ended a 1-for-17 drought for the Dodgers with runners in scoring position, and an ailing Hanley Ramirez added a run-scoring single as Los Angeles handed Wainwright his first postseason loss and trimmed its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Game 4 is on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium with Ricky Nolasco scheduled to start against St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn.

"The playoffs are one-day momentum swings," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Right now I feel like we've kind of grabbed it."

Rookies lift Dodgers back into NLCS

Los Angeles got Ramirez and center fielder Andre Ethier back in the lineup after both proved in batting practice they were healthy enough to play.

Ramirez wore a lightweight flak jacket to protect his broken left rib - having been hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in Game 1 - while Ethier has been bothered by shin splints.

"What can I say? It couldn't be better," Ramirez said. "I'm really happy we got the first win. Now we just have to come back tomorrow and even up the series."

Ramirez singled his first time up off Wainwright and then helped the Dodgers extend their lead to 3-0 in the eighth.

Ramirez hit a soft single off Seth Maness over the head of second baseman Kolten Wong to score Carl Crawford. The speedy Crawford, on second base after a one-out single, rounded third and never stopped running when the throw from the outfield went to second base.

On a close play at the plate, Crawford barely beat the tag by catcher Yadier Molina.

"We just had a lot of balls in the air tonight that hit the ground that normally don't," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We're a better club than this."

During the rally, retired Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, whose 1988 team won the franchise's most recent World Series title, stood up and waved his white rally towel to raucous applause.

Wainwright went into the game with a 4-0 record, a 2.03 ERA and four saves in 15 career postseason games, including six starts.

The right-hander tossed seven strong innings, allowing two runs and six hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Ryu, however, was even better. He retired 12 of his first 13 batters, yielding only a walk.

Ryu, who became the first South Korean pitcher to start a playoff game when he faced Atlanta last week, didn't allow a runner past second base. He struck out four and walked one.

"I was thinking this could be the last game I pitch here this season," the rookie said through a translator. "I just zoned in."

After the first two games in St. Louis were decided by one run, the Dodgers got to Wainwright in the fourth and took a 2-0 lead.

Gonzalez's double down the right-field line scored Mark Ellis, who doubled leading off. With two outs, Puig tripled off the wall in right to snap his 0-for-11 skid in the series.

Puig had struck out seven times before getting his first hit against the Cardinals. The excitable rookie raised his arms and watched the ball sail toward right before starting to charge harder when he realized it wasn't going to be a home run. He ran into third base and clapped his hands before raising them again as the sellout crowd of 53,940 cheered.

"He brings unbelievable energy every day," Ramirez said. "When we spoke before the game, he said 'I got it today,' and he did. He's a great player."

 Rookies lift Dodgers back into NLCS

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig blasts an RBI triple in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium on Monday. The Dodgers won the game 3-0 but still trail the best-of-seven series 2-1. Richard Mackson / USA Today Sports

(China Daily 10/16/2013 page24)