ST. LOUIS — Carlos Beltran starred at the plate and in the field for the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
Beltran had a game-tying two-run double in the third inning, threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the 10th and drove in the game-winner with a single in the 13th as the Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium.
"He's been a pro all season long," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Beltran. "It's just been fun to watch him do his thing. The guy's a player."
The game lasted 4 fours, 47 minutes. It was the Cardinals' longest postseason game in terms of innings; it was the Dodgers' longest in terms of time.
Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso started the 13th-inning rally with a one-out bloop single to center against losing pitcher Chris Withrow.
Matt Carpenter then walked, and Withrow was relieved by fireballing Kenley Jansen, who fell behind 3-1 on Beltran before Beltran delivered a liner into the right-field corner that easily scored Descalso.
"It was right down the middle," Beltran said of the pitch from Jansen. "I don't blame him. He was behind in the count and he was trying to make a pitch."
The Cardinals swarmed onto the field and surrounded Beltran at second base, some splashing water on the veteran right fielder.
Lance Lynn picked up the victory for the Cardinals with two scoreless innings.
Trevor Rosenthal allowed Mark Ellis' one-out triple in the 10th, then issued an intentional walk to Hanley Ramirez.
Michael Young, who replaced Adrian Gonzalez at first base in the eighth after Young was lifted for pinch-runner Dee Gordon, then popped to medium-deep right-center. Center fielder Jon Jay was in position to make the catch, but right fielder Beltran called him off and fired a strike to the plate.
Ellis barreled over catcher Yadier Molina, who applied the tag and held the ball for a double play that thrilled the crowd of 46,691.
"It was a great play," Matheny said. "Jon Jay did a great job of stepping aside and letting Carlos have that throw. And Yadi did a great job keeping his nose in there."
Joe Kelly pitched creditably but received a no-decision for the Cardinals. Kelly allowed two runs on six hits in six innings, with two walks and five strikeouts.
Zack Greinke was outstanding for the Dodgers, permitting two runs on four hits in eight innings. Greinke walked one and struck out 10.
The Cardinals had a chance to win the game in the ninth against Brian Wilson, after Matt Adams and Molina walked. But Jay flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch to send the game to extra innings.
Beltran's two-run double to right-center against Greinke brought the Cardinals into a 2-2 tie in the third.
With two outs and nobody on, Kelly grounded a single to left for the first hit against Greinke, who retired the first eight hitters, four of them on strikeouts.
Carpenter followed with a walk before Beltran pounced on a 3-1 pitch. Center fielder Andre Ethier was in position to make a running grab, but the ball went under his glove as Kelly and Carpenter scored.
Kelly responded to the new life by setting down the Dodgers in order in the fourth and working around a two-out single to Gonzalez in the fifth. Kelly allowed a leadoff single to Juan Uribe in the sixth, but stranded Uribe at second by getting Greinke on a flyout.
Randy Choate relieved Kelly to start the seventh. Choate retired Carl Crawford on a weak popup to third baseman David Freese, then gave way to Seth Maness, who got Ellis on a roller to second and struck out Ramirez.
Molina singled to open the seventh against Greinke but was forced at second when Jay bunted back to Greinke. Freese lined out to Puig in right with Jay breaking on a 3-2 pitch. Jay went too far and was doubled off first on an off-balanced throw by Puig.
Uribe's two-run single with two outs in the third gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Crawford doubled to left to lead off the inning and went to third on Ellis' grounder to shortstop. Kelly then walked Ramirez and Gonzalez to load the bases.
Puig hit a grounder back to Kelly, who fumbled the ball but recovered in time to force Crawford at home. But Uribe smoked a liner to center that plated Ramirez and Gonzalez.
Kelly retired the next batter, Ethier, for the final out of the inning.
Kelly escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the first by striking out Gonzalez and Puig. He pitched around a one-out single by Ethier in the second.
Greinke retired the first eight Cardinals he faced --including strikeouts of Beltran, Adams, Freese and Pete Kozma --before Kelly grounded his single to left.
Kelly struck out Crawford on three pitches to open the game, but Ellis singled and Ramirez was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch by Kelly.
Gonzalez, however, struck out on a 3-2 offering before Puig looked bad in fanning for the final out.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.