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Dodgers 3, Cardinals 0: Hyun-jin Ryu trumps an ace

Dodgers starting pitchers in the NLCS have allowed two earned runs in 21 innings.

Jeff Gross

LOS ANGELES -- Aces are 0-for-3 so far in the National League Championship Series. Hyun-jin Ryu was magnificent with seven shutout innings, leading the Dodgers to a 3-0 victory over Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLCS on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Ryu admitted he was nervous during his last start, a shaky three-inning outing against the Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS with four runs and six hits allowed, and on Sunday he seemingly set a low bar for himself.

"I'm not going to focus too much on the length of my outing. Truthfully, if I'm out there for five innings, I'd be more than happy," Ryu said on Sunday. "But I'm going to focus on making quality pitches from the start."

Ryu's pitches were certainly quality in Game 3.

Ryu didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, when David Freese and Matt Adams opened the frame with back-to-back singles. But after Freese advanced to second base he was removed with right calf tightness, a move that would immediately become important.

Jon Jay, the next batter after Adams, flew out to left fielder Carl Crawford, who threw to second base to double off pinch runner Daniel Descalso, who strayed too far off the bag.

That was really the only threat the Cardinals had against Ryu, who struck out four on the night while allowing only three hits and a walk. Ryu had the 19th postseason start by a Dodger of at least seven innings and no runs allowed, and the first since Vicente Padilla finished off an NLDS sweep of the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in 2009.

Dodgers starting pitchers in the series have allowed three total runs, two earned, and nine hits in 21 innings, with three walks and 19 strikeouts.

Wainwright pitched well in his seven innings, but fell victim to what Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw saw in the first two games in St. Louis: a lack of run support. St. Louis is now the team with the scoreless streak, at 12 straight innings through Monday night.

The Dodgers got two runs against Wainwright in the fourth inning. Mark Ellis got a gift double that Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran both watched as it dropped between them. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a double of his own, to right field to score Ellis, snapping a 22-inning scoreless streak for Los Angeles.

Yasiel Puig followed with his first hit of the series, an outside fastball drilled to right field. Puig thought it was gone, celebrated early, and still made it to third base easily with a stand-up RBI triple.

A.J. Ellis added a triple of his own in the fifth inning on a ball Jay was unable to catch. In an outfield that has statues in the corners in Matt Holliday an Carlos Beltran, Jay in center has stood out with a particularly bad defensive NLCS. Though Ellis was stranded at third base, his hit was noteworthy as the Dodgers only had five triples in 81 home games during the regular season, yet had two in a three-batter span on Monday.

The Dodgers struck for an insurance run in the eighth inning on three singles, but mostly thanks to a Puigian mad dash home by Crawford and a great slide at home to elude the tag of Yadier Molina.

Brian Wilson struck out  two in a scoreless eighth inning, and Kenley Jansen slammed the door with a perfect ninth for his second save of the playoffs.

Game 4 particulars

Home runs: none

WP - Hyun-jin Ryu (1-0): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

LP - Adam Wainwright (2-1): 7 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (2): 3 up, 3 down