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Final Score: Dodgers 0 Cardinals 1; Can We Still Pull It Off?

Final Score: Dodgers 0 Cardinals 1; Can We Still Pull It Off?

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From Phil Shuman:

A familiar face was in the hallway outside the gloomy and depressing Dodger post game clubhouse after going down 0 - 2 to St Louis in the NLCS. Comedian George Lopez, Dodger hat on his head was trying to stay positive. '' It's Hollywood.. we'll have the great ending "  We hope so. 

This incredible last to first story is in jeopardy. Keeping the Hollywood theme going and turning from blockbuster to bomb, but it is definitely not over yet. I spoke to Clayton Kershaw, who went 6, gave up only 2 hits and one unearned run.. it wasn't enough. He urged Dodger fans to ''turn out'' in LA as if we had other plans.

Adrian Gonzalez, a classy guy even though my friends in the Boston media would beg to differ, stood in front of his locker forever, never even got out of his uniform, and said essentially that ''we can't dwell on what' s happened.. we have to go home and win game 3.''  Catcher AJ Ellis,  injured Hanley Ramirez, all of 'em put the positive spin on it, that they've been down before and come back. Don't we know it.  Not surprisingly, no one was too interested in talking to former super hero Yasiel Puig, who struck out mightily with the bases loaded in the third tonight in an AB that could've broken the game open. One of his four K's tonight after a brutal 0 for 6 last night. What can you ask a guy in that situation ? What's wrong ? You think you'll do better ? Anything you'd like to apologize for ? Save it. 

President Stan Kasten and GM Ned Colleti both rolled their smartly prepared luggage down the hallway, looking as if their best friends had died. Only Magic, who I did not see in person, could be smiling at a time like this. However, Monday is a new day. The Dodgers have been way down before, and came back with the same cast of characters we have now.  So, I'll see you at the stadium Monday. In the meantime send me a tweet or an email or something with any thoughts on what the Dodgers need to do and if you're reading this before we go on at ten tonight check out our news and sports for our post game interviews. Hear and see it for yourself.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Whether Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina tagged Mark Ellis at home plate in the ninth inning of the NL championship series opener is beside the point.

A day later, most everyone agreed: The Gold Glover earned the out.

Molina received right fielder Carlos Beltran's one-hop throw with plenty of time to brace himself for the onrushing Ellis. As Ellis barreled in, Molina turned his shoulder and held onto the ball as he absorbed the blow for an inning-ending double play that kept the score 2-all.

Did Molina actually tag Ellis? Replays were inconclusive.

"The fact of the matter is if you run over the catcher and the guy holds on to the ball, you've been out since 1888," Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright said Saturday.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said if replay covers that type of play next season, he might have an argument. He said "everybody basically in the ballpark" watched Ellis get up and walk away thinking he was out, and Molina walk away satisfied.

"Anybody who says there is a controversy hasn't looked at the slo-mo replay," Wainwright said, adding it was clear Molina tagged him on the forearm.

Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell said from his view, he'd have called Ellis out, too. He used an NFL analogy to support that.

"Honestly," Howell said, "If I'm the pitcher I'm hoping the red flag has already been used and I get to keep that call."

GUESS AGAIN: Like it or not, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has had to justify his strategy in Game 1.

After a 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Cardinals on Friday night, Mattingly explained and re-explained why he took out Adrian Gonzalez for pinch-runner Dee Gordon, saying he felt it was a good time to take a shot.

Then on Saturday, he was asked about his use of closer Kenley Jansen in the 13th inning with two on and one out. Jansen faced one batter, giving up Carlos Beltran's winning RBI single.

"Well, we thought it was just that kind of game," Mattingly said. "Usually, you're not going to use him until you have the game. Once they get into a situation where it's a guy in scoring position there, we're going to try to stop it right there with Kenley, our best guy."

Mattingly said he talked to Jansen after making the move mid-inning, "kind of the old-time way of using a guy," instead of at the start of the inning. But he pointed out Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal worked two innings and added, "It's just that time of year."

WINNING COMBINATION: Max Scherzer won his first 13 decisions. Clay Buchholz won his first 11.

One of their teams will lose Sunday night when Scherzer starts for the Tigers against Buchholz and the Red Sox in Game 2 of the AL championship series.

Scherzer is a favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA.

"My confidence level has always been the same from the day I arrived into the big leagues to now," Scherzer said. "I believe confidence is a choice. And I always choose I'm going to believe that I'm always going to come out on top."

After his first loss July 13, he won his next six decisions. Scherzer finished the regular season with a 1-0 win at Minnesota on Sept. 25, won the AL division series opener against Oakland and got the victory in Game 4 when he allowed one run in two innings of relief.

"You could tell that he was a little unsettled, because it's totally different than coming to the park and preparing for a start and going over your game plan and the whole ball of wax," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.

Buchholz was 9-0 before going on the disabled list for three months with a strained neck. He won his first two starts after returning on Sept. 10, then lost before winning his final start. He finished with 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA.

"Didn't think I'd ever be that good," Buchholz said. "The frustrating part was I couldn't go out and pitch and try to keep it going. So it was definitely a fun first half for me, which I would have given a lot of it up to pitch throughout the season."

Boston manager John Farrell said Buchholz is in good shape.

"In the starts that he's made since coming off the DL, there's still been a little bit of a building component, building his stamina and endurance," Farrell said. "Coming out of, particularly, the last three starts, where we've been able to get him over 100, 110 pitches on each of those outings, I think he comes away with greater confidence on the physical side of things."

LEYLAND PEEVED: Leyland certainly wasn't a fan of the Fox crew about two hours before Saturday night's ALCS opener.

With a light drizzle falling and the Red Sox taking batting practice, the Tigers skipper noticed a large amount of the dugout was taken up by Fox personnel.

"You're going to have to move that when the players come out," he said.

He later said, "What is this: a TV studio or a dugout?"

About 15 minutes later - as the Tigers' players were starting to make their way out to stretch - he got up from his seat and searched out a Detroit public relations staff member, insisting the crew move to the field.

The crew moved its lights and equipment, then interviewed Detroit left fielder Jhonny Peralta in front of the dugout.

CRAZY CAROMS: Leyland wasn't worried about shortstop-turned-left fielder Jhonny Peralta playing in front of the Green Monster.

Fenway Park's 37-foot-high left-field wall has a ladder hanging from it that's in play. It was used before seats were built atop the wall in 2003 as a way to retrieve balls from a 23-foot-high net atop the wall. The Red Sox left the ladder there because it was one of Fenway Park's quirks.

"Everyone is making a big deal out of it," Leyland said. "When it hits that ladder, I don't think any Red Sox, Tiger or Kansas City Royal, or anyone else knows where it's going.

"It's a little tricky to play the wall," he said. "And the Red Sox do that better because they're used to it. As far as getting carried away, talking about the ladder, that's ridiculous. Nobody knows what it's going to do when it hits that thing."

Looking for better infield defense, Leyland inserted former Red Sox slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias, a trade-deadline acquisition, into the starting lineup and moved Peralta to left.

In Boston's AL division series, Tampa Bay left fielder Sean Rodriguez misplayed two caroms in Game 1. In Game 2, he misplayed a carom into a triple.

During Game 1 of the 1975 ALCS, Oakland outfielder Claudell Washington misplayed a couple of balls off the wall.

Game 3 is Monday at Dodger Stadium, with Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright facing rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Here's a quick look at the pitching match up:

After dropping Game 1, the Dodgers will turn to their ace Clayton Kershaw to even up the series. The National League Cy Young Award favorite had a 0.69 ERA and 18/4 K/BB ratio in 13 innings over two starts during the NLDS against the Braves. He pitched on three days' rest for the first time in his career in Game 4 on Monday, but he'll be going on regular rest in this one.

Michael Wacha will get the ball for the Cardinals after he flirted with a no-hitter in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Pirates on Monday. The rookie right-hander ended up giving up one run on one hit over 7 1/3 innings while striking out nine batters and walking a pair. He held the Nationals hitless for 8 2/3 innings during his final regular season start on September 24, so the Dodgers will hope to buck that trend. This will be their first look at Wacha.

The teams return to Dodger Stadium for Games 3, 4 & 5 on Monday, October 14. The teams will also play on Tuesday and Wednesday night, October 15 & 16.  If games 6 & 7 are necessary they will return to St. Louis, Friday and Saturday October 18 & 19.

The Dodgers are going with starting pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco in Games 3 and 4. Paco Rodriguez was not on the roster, leaving the Dodgers with one lefty in the bullpen.

The Cardinals made no roster moves. Manager Mike Matheny hasn't announced his choice for Game 4 starter and said the two candidates, rookie Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn, would be available in relief for Game 1.

The Dodgers were 4-3 against the Cardinals this season, but St. Louis had a better overall season record earning the home-field advantage.

Los Angeles is four wins from its first World Series appearance since 1988, when the Dodgers won their sixth title.

Game 1 Recap:

Carlos Beltran capped his latest scintillating postseason performance with an RBI single in the 13th inning early Saturday that lifted the St. Louis Cardinals over the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in the NL championship series opener.
Beltran hit a tying, two-run double in the third inning, then threw out a runner at the plate from right field in the 10th to keep it even.
Well past midnight at Busch Stadium, Beltran singled into the right-field corner with one out against Kenley Jansen in the 13th to finish a game that took 4 hours, 47 minutes.
Beltran has 16 home runs, 12 doubles and 34 RBIs in 40 career postseason games, and is hitting .345. The eight-time All-Star is hoping this year ends with his first trip to the World Series.
"Just fun to watch him do his thing, whether it's offensively, the big throw he made defensively," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
It was the longest postseason game for the Dodgers since the 1916 World Series, when Babe Ruth pitched all 14 innings to lead the Boston Red Sox past Brooklyn.
This one also tied for the longest series opener in postseason history, according to STATS. Boston and Cleveland played 13 innings in their 1995 AL division series, with the Indians winning 5-4.
"You work so hard in the offseason, spring training and regular season to get to this point and we're fortunate to be here," Beltran said.
"That's a preview. Today was a good game and that's what it's all about. They didn't want to lose and we didn't want to lose," he said.
Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso singled with one out in the 13th off rookie Chris Withrow and Matt Carpenter walked. Jansen, usually the Dodgers' closer, relieved and Beltran won it with his hit on a 3-1 count.
Winning pitcher Lance Lynn strengthened his case for a possible Game 4 start with two scoreless innings.  Withrow took the loss.
"There were a lot of big outs that both teams got tonight," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "If the rest of the series is like this game, it should be a pretty good one."
The Dodgers had two on in the ninth, 10th and 11th and came up empty. They stranded 11 overall while going 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. They averaged 6 1-2 runs and batted .333, best ever in an NL postseason series, while taking a four-game division series from the Braves.
Neither team had much time to exhale before the next game, scheduled to start 14 1-2 hours after Descalso crossed the plate. It features a marquee pitching matchup -- major league ERA leader Clayton Kershaw vs. Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha, who's flirted with no-hitters his last two starts.
Dodgers starter Zack Greinke struck out 10 in eight innings, allowing just four hits. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly left after the sixth with the score 2-all.
Mark Ellis tripled with one out in the Dodgers 10th. After Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked, Michael Young followed with a fly ball to shallow right field that Beltran caught.
Beltran made a strong, one-hop throw home and Ellis crashed into Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina.
Molina held the ball, but it was hard to tell whether he actually tagged Ellis. On such plays, however, umpires almost always give the benefit to the catcher and call the runner out.
The Dodgers put runners at first and second with two outs in the 11th against John Axford. Pinch-hitter Nick Punto, who played for the Cardinals on their 2011 World Series championship team, struck to end the inning.
Young, in the game after cleanup man Adrian Gonzalez was pulled for a pinch-runner in the eighth, got another chance in 12th. With runners on first and second, he grounded into an inning-ending double play against Lynn.
Beltran's double in the third barely eluded center fielder Andre Ethier.
Slowed by a sore ankle, Ethier made his first start in this postseason. He appeared to mistime his jump just a bit as he banged into the padded wall.
Beltran's two-run double in the third was the only damage against Greinke. He fanned Carpenter, Matt Adams and Pete Kozma twice each and struck out the side in the fifth.
The teams are postseason foes for the first time since a Dodgers sweep in their 2009 division series. It's their first NLCS matchup since 1985, when the Cardinals won in six games behind game-breaking homers from Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark off Tom Niedenfuer.
 Kelly left on his own terms after six innings in a 2-all tie, hurt only by Juan Uribe's two-run single in the third. Counting multiple efforts, the Cardinals had five relievers warm but the Dodgers were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Kelly got all three outs on strikeouts in the first. The Dodgers left runners on second and third when Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig fanned.
Kershaw started the division series clincher against Atlanta on three days' rest Monday and will be on regular rest in Game 2. The left-hander said the media made a big deal of short rest, but not he nor Mattingly.
The pregame festivities began with a nod to tradition, with eight Clydesdales pulling a Budweiser beer wagon that made two laps around the warning track at Busch Stadium. For a long time, the Cardinals were owned by Anheuser-Busch. The ceremony ended with Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright and injured closer Jason Motte throwing simultaneous first pitches.
Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire got a nice hand when he lined up along the third base line during introductions. So did two other former Cardinals, utility men Skip Schumaker and Punto. There was some booing for Greinke, who referred to Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter as a "phony" when Greinke was with the Brewers.
NOTES: Miss Missouri, Shelby Ringdahl, sang the national anthem. ... Carpenter, who entered in a 1-for-29 slump, walked and scored on Beltran's double. ... Greinke's career best is 15 strikeouts for the Royals on Aug. 25, 2009, against Cleveland. ... It was the longest NLCS game since the New York Mets beat Atlanta 4-3 in 15 innings on Robin Ventura's "grand slam-single" in 1999.

FOX 11 will be in St. Louis to cover the Dodger's Road to a Championship on Saturday for Games  2. Here's the schedule for the National League Championship Series:

GameMatch upDateTime (ET)TV
Game 1 LA - 2 at St. Louis - 3
Fri, Oct 11
Game 2 LA at St. Louis
Sat, Oct 12 1:07pm
Game 3 St. Louis at LA
Mon, Oct 14 5:07pm
Game 4 St. Louis at LA
Tue, Oct 15 5:07pm
Game 5* St. Louis at LA
Wed, Oct 16 1:07pm
Game 6* LA at St. Louis
Fri, Oct 18 5:37pm
Game 7* LA at St. Louis   
Sat, Oct 19 5:37pm
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