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MLB Notebook: Ryu rises to the moment vs. Cards

Left-hander spins seven shutout frames to help Dodgers take Game 3 of NLCS

On Oct.10, 1916, Brooklyn -- coming off a heartbreaking, 14-inning loss to Babe Ruth and his Boston teammates -- took in the comforts of home, handed the ball to Jack Coombs for the third game of the World Series and eventually came away with a 4-3 win. A postseason Game 3 for the Dodgers franchise in their home ballpark -- whether it be Ebbets Field, the L.A. Coliseum or Dodger Stadium -- has often been a salve of sorts, and it has often soothed the club via strong and sometimes historic pitching.

From Sherry Smith's three-hitter in 1920 to Carl Erskine's 14-strikeout performance in 1953; from Don Drysdale's three-hitter in a taut 1-0 game in 1963 to Claude Osteen's five-hit shutout in a virtual must-win in the 1965 World Series; from Jose Lima's maestro-like five-hitter in 2004 to Hyun-Jin Ryu's superb seven-inning effort in Monday's National League Championship Series, the franchise's starters have experienced 21 appearances in a Game 3 at home and have combined to give their club a 2.79 ERA. In turn, the team has responded with a 15-6 record.

2013 NLCS: Cardinals at Dodgers

Ryu (seven innings, three hits) and two relievers combined on a four-hitter, and the Dodgers defeated the Cardinals, 3-0. With the victory in this Game 3, Los Angeles trails in the series, 2-1.

In the previous game, the Dodgers staff allowed two hits. With the four-hitter and the two-hitter, this marks the third time the Dodgers have posted consecutive postseason games (in the same year) of no more than four hits surrendered. They did it in Games 3-4 of the 1966 World Series (both losses to the Orioes) and then again in Games 3-4 of the 1981 NL Division Series (both wins over the Astros).

Ryu's dominant start and the bullpen's assist gives the Dodgers seven shutouts on four or fewer hits in the team's postseason history -- a total that is exceeded by the Yankees (15), Giants (12), Athletics (eight) and Braves (eight). Of the Dodgers' seven, the last one -- before this gem -- had occurred in Game 2 of the 1988 World Series. Some details of the previous six:

• 1963 World Series, Game 3 against the Yankees: Don Drysdale throws a three-hit shutout, and the Dodgers win, 1-0

• 1965 World Series, Game 5 against the Twins: Sandy Koufax goes the distance on a four-hitter and the Dodgers win, 7-0

• '65 World Series, Game 7 against the Twins: Koufax twirls a three-hit shutout and the Dodgers clinch the World Series with a 2-0 victory

• '74 NLCS, Game 1 against the Pirates: Don Sutton throws a four-hit shutout and wins, 3-0

• '78 NLCS, Game 2 against the Phillies: Tommy John goes all the way in a four-hitter and Los Angeles wins, 4-0

• '88 World Series, Game 2 against the Athletics: Orel Hershiser throws a three-hit shutout and the Dodgers win the game, 6-0

The Dodgers also didn't surrender any extra-base hits in this contest; the last time they had a postseason shutout with no extra-base hits allowed took place in 2004, when they did it against the Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLDS. Overall, this is the eighth time in the club's postseason history it has authored a pitching performance of this nature.

With Ryu picking up the win, meanwhile, he is the first Dodgers southpaw starter to record a victory in an LCS since Fernando Valenzuela in Game 1 of the 1985 NLCS against the Cardinals. Since that effort, Dodgers left-handed starters had been 0-3 with three no-decisions in the NLCS.

Most Consecutive Postseason Games, 7+ IP, 2 or Fewer Runs Allowed
Pitcher Streak IP ERA W-L
C. Schilling 8 64 1/3 0.98 5-0
T. Seaver 6 49 2/3 1.81 2-2
G. Earnshaw 5 42 0.86 3-1
B. Gibson 5 45 0.80 5-0
O. Hershiser 5 42 1/3 0.64 5-0
M. Mussina 5 36 1.00 3-0
C. Mathewson 4 36 0.25 4-0
P. Alexander 4 35 2/3 1.51 3-1
M. Pearson 4 35 2/3 1.01 4-0
S. Blass 4 33 2/3 1.34 3-0
J. Smoltz 4 31 1/3 0.86 2-0
R. Johnson 4 32 1.13 4-0
C. Hamels 4 29 1.55 4-0
Wainwright 4 30 1.50 3-1

• The Cardinals -- before this game -- had last been blanked and held to four or fewer hits in Game 4 of the 2011 World Series, by the Rangers. It had last happened for them in an LCS in Game 1 against the Mets in 2006.

• Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright took the loss in the contest, allowing two runs in seven innings. Wainwright has strung together four consecutive postseason appearances of at least seven innings and no more than two runs allowed. The longest such streak in postseason history is eight, by Curt Schilling.

• The Dodgers tallied four extra-base hits on the night, with a pair of doubles and two triples. To find the last postseason game where the club had at least two triples and no homers, one has to go back to the 1916 Fall Classic, when Brooklyn did this in Games 1 and 3.

• Through the first three games of this NLCS, neither team has hit a home run -- for the first time in LCS history -- and the two clubs have tallied nine combined runs.

• The nine combined runs through the first three contests are the fewest in NLCS history. That total of nine runs has been exceeded by the two clubs in Game 1, alone, of an NLCS on 12 occasions.

• There have now been six shutouts in this year's postseason. Dating back to 1995, the highest number came in 2012, when there were nine. There were six apiece in 1998 and '06, seven in '01 and eight in '10.

• Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis doubled and singled in the game, giving him his fourth multihit game of this postseason. Ellis' teammate Yasiel Puig had a triple and a single for his fourth multihit game effort of the 2013 postseason.

The Dodgers record for most multihit games in a single postseason is seven, by Steve Garvey in 1981 (he played 16 games that year). Puig's four multihit games -- through his first seven career postseason contests -- tie him (with many others) for the sixth most. Ken Griffey, Jr. had six, while Pepper Martin, Chris Chambliss, Alan Trammell and Jim Edmonds each had five. For Dodgers players, the four tie Puig with Charlie Neal (1959) and Garvey ('74) for the most.

• Since 1985 -- when the LCS format was expanded to a best-of-seven series -- the team that has won Game 3 has gone on to win the series 17 of 27 times.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.

Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Adam Wainwright