Dodgers shut out Cardinals, trim NLCS deficit to 2-1

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu delivers a pitch in the seventh inning.

Los Angeles Times/MCT

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu delivers a pitch in the seventh inning.

LOS ANGELES — Led by a pair of precocious rookies, the Dodgers got themselves back into the NL Championship Series.

Hyun-Jin Ryu outpitched Adam Wainwright with seven three-hit innings and Yasiel Puig tripled home a run to help Los Angeles beat the Cardinals 3-0 Monday night in Game 3.

Adrian Gonzalez's RBI double ended a 1-for-17 Dodgers drought with runners in scoring position. An ailing Hanley Ramirez added an RBI hit 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 today 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."

Los Angeles got Ramirez and centerfielder Andre Ethier back after both proved in batting practice they were healthy enough to play. Ramirez, who was hit by a Joe Kelly pitch in Game 1, wore a lightweight flak jacket to protect his broken left rib, and Ethier has been bothered by shin splints.

"What can I say? It couldn't be better," Ramirez said. "Really happy we got the first win. Just come back (today) and even up the series."

Ramirez singled his first time up off Wainwright 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 former Ray Carl Crawford. 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."

Wainwright entered 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA and four saves in 15 career postseason games, including six starts. He pitched St. Louis past Pittsburgh in the Division Series, going the distance in a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday.

The right-hander tossed seven strong innings this time. Ryu, however, was even better.

The two were nearly even through three scoreless innings, with Wainwright giving up one hit. Ryu, who struggled in his first postseason start in the Division Series against Atlanta, retired 12 of his first 13 batters, yielding only a walk.

Ryu was much improved after lasting three innings against the Braves as the first South Korean pitcher to start a playoff game. The left-hander didn't permit a Cardinals runner past second base. David Freese's single to right leading off the fifth was their first hit of the game.

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

Mattingly came out to the mound accompanied by a translator with two outs in the seventh. Ryu responded by striking out Matt Adams to end the inning as catcher A.J. Ellis pumped his right arm. Fans waved South Korean flags in support of Ryu.

Major League Baseball noted on Twitter that the nine combined runs in the series are the fewest ever through three games of a league championship series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Dodgers shut out Cardinals, trim NLCS deficit to 2-1 10/14/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:27pm]

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