With news that Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier wouldn’t be in the lineup today, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe would be counted on to step up in their place in Game 2 of the NLCS.
Facing Cardinals rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, Carl Crawford started the game with a pop up to third, but Mark Ellis ended any perfect game or no-hitter talk with a single to left. Ellis tried to round first and head to second, but tripped and fell on his way.
Adrian Gonzalez struck out for the second out of the inning, but Ellis got a huge jump off Wacha and Yadier Molina to steal second with Puig at the dish. Unfortunately, the Dodgers’ hitting woes would continue as Puig struck out with Ellis at second and moving to 1-11 with runners in scoring position in the series.
Things couldn’t have started worse for Clayton Kershaw as Matt Carpenter tripled on the first pitch he saw and with a depleted lineup, the Dodgers played the infield in. However, the gamer he is, Kershaw got Carlos Beltran to pop up on one pitch and Matt Holliday to strike out for the second out in the inning.
With just Yadier Molina standing in his way of a scoreless frame, Kershaw induced a ground ball that Nick Punto handled and the Dodgers were out of the jam. However, the news on Hanley didn’t get any better as Craig Sager said on the TBS broadcast that he left the park after trying to swing a bat to get x-rays on his injured ribs.
Wacha and Kershaw continued to dominate on the mound as the lead off triple from Carpenter and single from Ellis in the first inning were the only hits both sides had through four innings.
With two out in the fifth inning, AJ Ellis got the Dodgers their second hit with a double to left field as Punto came up to try and break the scoreless tie. With first base open and Kershaw on deck, the Cardinals were careful with him, but he still managed to strike out looking as the Dodgers and Cardinals were scoreless halfway through Game 2.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cardinals broke through in large part due to a passed ball from A.J. Ellis. Freese doubled to lead off the inning and moved over to third when Ellis couldn’t handle a fastball down the middle with nobody out.
Kershaw battled to get Adams to strike out, but a sacrifice fly from Jay got the run home and the Dodgers trailed 1-0 at the end of five.
In the sixth inning, Kershaw singled to left to lead off the inning and moved over to third when Carpenter threw late to second on a Crawford single and the Dodgers were in business.
Mark Ellis popped out to second, wasting another chance with RISP and the Cardinals walked Gonzalez intentionally to get to Puig with the bases loaded and one out. After battling Wacha to 3-2, Puig struck out on ball four and Uribe struck out to end the inning as the Dodgers are now 1-15 in the series with RISP.
In the seventh inning, Mattingly made another gutsy call and pulled Kershaw out of the game after Punto singled with two outs in favor of Michael Young. Young struggled last night in two at-bats, flying into a double play and grounding into one and found himself with a runner in scoring position as Punto made it to third on two wild pitches.
Young would fly out to right and the Dodgers streak of not hitting with runners in scoring position continued. In the bottom of the inning Ronald Belisario got the Cardinals in order and the Dodgers still trailed 1-0 heading to the eighth.
Crawford, Ellis and Gonzalez were retired in order and the Dodgers faced the possibility of going back to Dodger Stadium down 2-0. In 14 innings in the NLCS, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw combined to allow just two earned runs.
J.P. Howell came on for the Dodgers in the eighth inning and retired Adams, Jay and walked Pete Kozma with two out. Howell got Shane Robinson to fly out and the Dodgers headed to the top of the 9th, trailing 1-0 with Puig, Uribe and Schumaker due up.
To lead things off, Puig struck out for the fourth time today and is now 0-10 with six strikeouts and the Dodgers were down to just two outs. Uribe didn’t stick around too long and struck out on four pitches as the Dodgers last hopes rested on Ethier, who pinch-hit for Schumaker.
Just like Puig and Uribe, Ethier struck out on three pitches and the Dodgers scored just runs in 20 innings and are now down 0-2 in the NLCS.