By Beth Harris
LOS ANGELES: Led by a pair of precocious rookies, the Los Angeles Dodgers got themselves right back into the NL Championship Series.
Hyun-Jin Ryu outpitched Adam Wainwright with seven innings of three-hit ball, and Yasiel Puig tripled home a run to help Los Angeles beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 on Monday night in Game 3.
Adrian Gonzalez’s RBI double ended a 1-for-17 drought for the Dodgers with runners in scoring position. An ailing Hanley Ramirez added a run-scoring hit of his own as Los Angeles handed Wainwright his first postseason loss and trimmed its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is today at Dodger Stadium, with Ricky Nolasco scheduled to start against St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn.
Los Angeles got Ramirez and center fielder Andre Ethier back in the lineup after both proved in batting practice they were healthy enough to play. Ramirez wore a lightweight flak jacket to protect his broken left rib — having been hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in Game 1 — while Ethier has been bothered by shin splints.
“What can I say? It couldn’t be better,” Ramirez said. “Really happy we got the first win. Just come back tomorrow and even up the series.”
Ramirez singled his first time up off Wainwright and then helped the Dodgers extend their lead to 3-0 in the eighth.
Ramirez hit a soft single off Seth Maness over the head of new second baseman Kolten Wong to score Carl Crawford. The speedy Crawford, on second base after a one-out single, rounded third and never stopped running when the throw from the outfield went to second base.
On a close play at the plate, Crawford barely beat the tag by catcher Yadier Molina.
During the rally, retired Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, whose 1988 team won the franchise’s last World Series title, stood up and waved his white rally towel to raucous applause.
Ryu and Wainwright were nearly even through the first three scoreless innings, with Wainwright giving up one hit. Ryu, who struggled in his first career postseason start in the division series against Atlanta, retired 12 of his first 13 batters, yielding only a walk.
Ryu was much improved after lasting just three innings as the first South Korean pitcher to start a playoff game last week against Atlanta. He allowed four runs on six hits for a no-decision in a game the Dodgers won.
The left-hander didn’t allow a Cardinals runner past second base. David Freese’s single to right leading off the fifth was their first hit of the game.
Freese was replaced by a pinch-runner in the fifth because of tightness in his right calf. He is day to day.
Ryu struck out four and walked one.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out to the mound accompanied by a translator with two outs in the seventh. Ryu responded by striking out Matt Adams to end the inning as catcher A.J. Ellis pumped his right arm in the air. Fans waved South Korean flags in support of Ryu.
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for a save.
Wainwright gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked none in his first career postseason loss.
Puig’s RBI triple in the fourth snapped an 0-for-11 skid in the series.
After the first two games in St. Louis were decided by one run, the Dodgers got to Wainwright in the fourth and took a 2-0 lead.
Gonzalez’s double down the right-field line scored Mark Ellis, who doubled leading off. With two outs, Puig tripled off the wall in right, scoring Gonzalez.
Puig had struck out seven times before getting his first hit against the Cardinals. He raised his arms and watched the ball sail toward right before starting to charge harder when he realized it wasn’t going to be a home run. He ran into third base and clapped his hands before raising them again as the sellout crowd of 53,940 cheered.