Dodgers' lively bats fall one big hit short in end
Offense records 16 knocks, but LA leaves tying run on third in Game 1 loss
LOS ANGELES -- After the 19 runs, the 26 hits and all of the madness that ensued at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Carl Crawford had to laugh -- not out of giddiness but out of disbelief.
He thought the game was over. He thought, like "everybody else in the stadium," a five-run lead and Clayton Kershaw on the mound equaled an automatic victory. He never expected that Game 1 of the National League Division Series would end in 10-9 loss to the Cardinals -- not with the Dodgers scoring nine runs on 16 hits or with the game-tying run standing just 90 feet away in the ninth.
"That goes to show you you have to play until the end," Crawford said.
And the Dodgers did play. By most measures, their lineup was rolling. Every Dodgers starter reached base at least once. All but two starters -- Dee Gordon and Kershaw -- had a hit, and seven players tallied at least one RBI.
Even when Kershaw folded in the seventh inning and a 6-2 Dodgers lead suddenly became a 10-6 deficit, Los Angeles continued to hit. In the eighth inning, Adrian Gonzalez turned on a hanging slider from reliever Randy Choate for a two-run home run to make it 10-8. In the ninth inning, A.J. Ellis singled and Andre Ethier doubled to put the potential tying runs on base. Ellis scored on a Gordon groundout, but Yasiel Puig struck out to end the game with the tying run on third.
The Dodgers came that close.
"You don't really get any credit for coming close," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think a loss is a loss and a win is a win. This time of year, any time you lose one, it feels like it's an emotional battle."
Still, there was some solace to take out of the team's offensive prowess. Kershaw wasn't the only ace who was ruffled. Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright, considered one of the game's best along with Kershaw, surrendered six runs on 11 hits in just 4 1/3 innings.
"You try to take anything positive out of what happened tonight and just try to move forward," Crawford said. "Especially off of a pitcher like Wainwright. He's tough with giving up runs, and we were able to get to him. It let us know we can hit off a guy like that."
Added Ellis: "We showed tonight we can swing the bats a little bit, too, so hopefully we have that same approach at the plate [Saturday] and put some runs on the board."
Crawford went 2-for-4 on the night and extended his postseason hitting streak to 11 games -- the longest streak in franchise history, surpassing Bill Russell's 10-game streak in 1978.
Despite striking out to end the game, Puig reached base four times. Ellis went 4-for-5 with a two-run home run, tying a career high for hits in a game. Matt Kemp went 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-5 with an RBI as well.
But in the end the Dodgers' most notable offensive accomplishment was also its least flattering: The nine runs Los Angeles scored were its most ever in a postseason loss.
"It's a battle, man. That's a good team over there," Kemp said. "They got some big hits when they needed them. We got some big hits. They scored more runs than us today. We came up short.
"That team's not just going to sit there and let us beat up on them."