Ryu Hyun-jin was dominant over seven innings and Yasiel Puig picked the perfect moment to end his slump as Los Angeles shutout St Louis 3-0 in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
Adrian Gonzalez clubbed an RBI single to get the go-ahead run in the fourth inning and Puig had a two-out RBI triple in the same inning as the Dodgers cut the Cardinals’ series lead to 2-1.
“This is one of those games where you come home and you get the momentum back on your side,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We feel like we are back in the series.”
South Korea’s Ryu was terrific on Monday night, allowing just three hits and no runs in seven innings of work for the Dodgers, who looked nothing like the wounded bunch that dropped the first two games of the series in St Louis.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series was scheduled for yesterday.
Once Mattingly decided Ryu’s night was complete, the bullpen did the rest in front of a sold-out crowd of 53,940 at Dodger Stadium.
“He has pitched big in a lot of big games this year,” Mattingly said of Ryu. “He was aggressive with the fastball and that sets his other pitches up.”
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was not so lucky, throwing seven innings and allowing six hits and two runs. He struck out five.
Ryu had four strikeouts and just one walk for the Dodgers, who prevented the Cardinals from taking a stranglehold in the series. He did not allow his first hit until the fifth inning — a single to Cardinals infielder David Freese.
Ryu, who figures to get some National League rookie of the year award consideration, bounced back from a poor performance in the first-round playoff series against Atlanta.
“All I was thinking about was that we were down 2-0,” Ryu said. “I told myself that this could potentially be the last start I ever pitched here this year.”
“So I focused from the very first pitch, and I just zoned in and fortunately I was able to get a good result out the game,” he said.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez played through the pain of a hairline fracture in his rib and went two-for-four with an RBI, for the Dodgers who got two runs in the fourth and one in the eighth.
Puig was zero-for-11 with seven strikeouts in the series before blasting his RBI triple that scored Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth. The Dodgers recorded nine hits on Monday, including two doubles and a triple. Heading into the game they had just three extra base hits in the series.
Wainwright took the loss for the Cardinals, who still have not hit a home run in the series.
“It wasn’t very characteristic of how we played all season,” St Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
“We just had a lot of balls in the air tonight that hit the ground that normally don’t. We are a better club than this,” he said.
Freese had to leave in the middle of the contest with a right-calf injury.
Matheny said it was just cramp and he thought Freese would be in the lineup yesterday.
“I expect him to be ready to go,” he said.