St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Carlos Beltran saved the Cardinals with his arm and won the game with his bat.
What a start to the National League Championship Series.
Beltran's walk-off hit in the 13th inning gave St. Louis a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS, coming three innings after the Cardinals right fielder threw a runner out at home in the 10th.
Beltran knocked in all three St. Louis runs, also hitting a two-run double in the third inning that tied the game.
Hours later -- after Friday night had become Saturday morning in St. Louis -- Beltran stroked a one-out hit toward the right field corner off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to score Daniel Descalso from second base for the winning run.
In a 3-1 count, Beltran said he knew he'd get a pitch to hit.
"Right down the middle," said Beltran.
"I don't blame him," Beltran said, "because he's trying to make a pitch. He's behind in the count and he's trying to make a pitch. But in that case, like I said, I was trying to hit the ball hard. I wasn't really looking for anything else more than a hit."
In the 10th, after Mark Ellis tripled, Beltran gunned him down at home for an inning-ending double play.
"It's just fun to watch him do his thing," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday afternoon in St. Louis. Rookie Michael Wacha, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Pirates in the NLDS, will start for the Cardinals against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Juan Uribe, who hit the homer Monday that got the NL West-champion Dodgers into the NLCS, had a two-run single in the third inning for LA's only runs.
By the time the game finished, just ahead of 12:30 a.m. local time, the starters were an afterthought.
Zack Greinke, who lost Game 2 to the Braves last Friday, struck out 10 in eight innings for the Dodgers, and Joe Kelly fanned five in six innings for the Cardinals. Kelly had a two-out single to spark the Cardinals' rally in the third inning that tied the game.
Lance Lynn (1-0) threw two innings to get the win and Chris Withrow (0-1) gave up a pinch-hit single to Descalso and walked Matt Carpenter in the 13th.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier was back in the starting lineup after being limited to pinch-hitting duties for the past month because of an injured left ankle. He hadn't played in the field since Sept. 13 and it showed on Beltran's two-run double off the center field wall in the third inning, which he leapt to catch but missed.
NL Central-champion Cardinals are in the NLCS for the third straight year after beating the Pirates in the NLDS. The Dodgers, who haven't been this far since losing in back-to-back NLCS trips against the Phillies in 2008 and '09, beat the Braves in four games.
Ellis raced all the way to third base after Jon Jay couldn't reach his drive to deep right-center with one out in the 10th. After Trevor Rosenthal walked Hanley Ramirez intentionally, Michael Young hit a soft fly to right-center.
Beltran called off Jay, caught the ball and unloaded a throw home. Yadier Molina caught it on the third base side and absorbed the collision with Ellis for the inning-ending double play -- though his glove never actually touched the runner.
Young was batting in Adrian Gonzalez's after Gonzalez was taken out for a pinch-runner in the eighth. The spot came up in a big situation again in the 12th and again Young hit into a double play.
This time, Carl Crawford hit a leadoff single and Ellis bunted him over -- leaving first base open for the Cardinals to walk Ramirez again. Young then grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Earlier, the Cardinals had two baserunners in the seventh but both were thrown out on heads-up defensive plays. Greinke went to second to get Molina on Jay's bunt, and Jay was doubled off first by Yasiel Puig after David Freese lined out to right field.
The Dodgers pinch-ran for Gonzalez after he drew a walk off Carlos Martinez in the eighth and Dee Gordon was forced out at second on Puig's grounder. Uribe then grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly defended the decision to replace Gonzalez with a runner.
"When you get a guy on in the eighth inning you gotta try to get a run," he said.
"It's part of the game," said Gonzalez.
Greinke struck out Adron Chambers and Carpenter looking for the last two outs in the bottom of the eighth and Rosenthal, throwing in the high 90s, fanned Ethier and Skip Schumaker in a 1-2-3 ninth for St. Louis.
Brian Wilson -- and not Jansen -- threw the ninth with the heart of the St. Louis order up and issued two-out walks to Matt Adams and Molina before Jay flied out.
Crawford led off the third with a double, Ramirez and Gonzalez drew one-out walks and Uribe delivered a two-out single to center field to make it 2-0.
Kelly was St. Louis' first baserunner after stroking a single through the left side with two outs in the third. Carpenter walked and Beltran drove a 3-1 pitch to center that Ethier tracked but missed as it hit off the wall.
Greinke got the start after Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitched against the Braves Monday on three days' rest ... The Cardinals (11) and Dodgers (six) have combined to win 17 World Series titles ... The Dodgers were 4-3 against the Cardinals in the regular season, including 3-1 in a four-game series in St. Louis in August. They tied Texas for the best road record in the majors at 45-36.