Cardinals beat Dodgers for World Series berth
By R.B. Fallstrom, APST. LOUIS--St. Louis advanced to its second World Series in three years by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 on Friday to seal a 4-2 win in the National League Championship Series.
October 20, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
St. Louis took a grip on the contest with a four-run third inning.
The Dodgers could find no way to score against Cardinals rookie pitcher Michael Wacha, who was magnificent in outpitching L.A. ace Clayton Kershaw for the second time in the series.
Those two performances were enough for Wacha to be selected as MVP of the series after throwing 13 2-3 scoreless innings.
Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday against the winner of the American League series between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.
“I'm so happy right now. We did it as a team,” said Beltran, who had three hits and drove in two runs to earn his first ever World Series appearance in his 16-year career. “We fought hard, we worked hard all season long and thank god we're here.”
The Cardinals won their 19th NL pennant and will be trying for their third title since 2006, last winning in 2011. They probably should have made it last year too but blew a 3-1 series lead against San Francisco.
The Dodgers, with the second-highest payroll in baseball at US$220 million, still have not made a World Series since they won it in 1988.
The Cardinals jumped on Kershaw in the third, batting around.
Matt Carpenter sparked the big inning with a one-out double on the 11th pitch of his at-bat and Carlos Beltran singled him home for the game's first run. With two outs, Yadier Molina added an RBI single, Shane Robinson drove in two runs with a single in his first career postseason start after replacing slumping Jon Jay — and advanced to second base on Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig's error.
The Cuban defector Puig also struck out twice and was booed heartily. Hanley Ramirez, a last-minute addition to the Dodgers' lineup, went 0 for 3 while playing with a broken rib.
Kershaw needed 48 pitches, the most pitches of his career in one inning, in the third. He complained to the plate umpire about a call of ball on a full-count pitch to Matt Adams, handing the Cardinals loaded bases.
The Dodgers bench also was vocal after the call on a pitch that may have been an inch or two low of the strike zone.
The Cardinals knocked Kershaw out in a five-run fifth. Adams doubled in a run to prematurely end Kershaw's night. Wacha drove in one with a fielder's choice grounder and Carpenter had a sacrifice fly.
Kershaw was charged with seven runs on 10 hits in four-plus innings. The lefty led the majors in ERA the last three years but has lost five straight starts against St. Louis.
None of his starts this year were shorter than five innings and the most runs he allowed was five, on two occasions.
Wacha has a minuscule 0.43 ERA in three postseason starts; one of the gems coming in Game 4 of the division series to keep the Cardinals alive. In his last regular season start and with the NL Central up for grabs, he held Washington hitless in 8 2-3 innings.
“There's not anything you can't say about him,” fellow pitcher Joe Kelly said of Wacha. “He's just going out there and pitching his butt off right now and as you can see he's just a pretty damn good pitcher.”