Carlos Beltran capped his latest scintillating postseason performance with an RBI single in the 13th inning Friday that lifted the hot St. Louis Cardinals over the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in the N.L. 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.
Game 2 is Saturday afternoon.
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 A.L. division series, with the Indians winning 5-4.
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.
"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.
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 tagged Ellis, who was called out.
Tigers-Red Sox: The Red Sox were able to relax as they watched Detroit's Justin Verlander finish off the A's in the A.L. division series, secure in the knowledge that they wouldn't have to face him in Game 1 of the championship series Saturday at Boston's Fenway Park.
Instead, they get the league's ERA champion, Anibal Sanchez. Followed by Max Scherzer, the major league leader in wins. And then comes Verlander, the 2011 A.L. Cy Young Award winner and MVP.
"I don't think there are really any consolation prizes when you're playing them," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said Friday, when the teams worked out. "All their guys are really good. ... All their guys are horses."
Jon Lester gets the start for Boston.
Sanchez led the AL with a 2.57 ERA even though he spent most of the year as the No. 3 pitcher in the rotation, behind Verlander and Scherzer.
Slight uptick: TBS has averaged a 2.5 rating and 3.89 million viewers for 18 telecasts during the wild-card round and division series. The rating was up 4 percent from a 2.4 last year and the households up 6 percent from 3,633,000 last year.
St. Louis' Game 5 win over Pittsburgh drew 6.1 million viewers, and Detroit's fifth-game victory over the A's drew 5.5 million. In the wild-card round, 4.7 million saw Tampa Bay beat Cleveland and 4.6 million watched Pittsburgh defeat Cincinnati.
Marlins: According to a news release, Miami manager Mike Redmond will be joined by two new coaches. Former Giant Brett Butler has been named third base/outfield coach, and former A's infielder Frank Menechino will be the new hitting coach.