The Cardinals overcame a 6-0 deficit to win Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. On Sunday, they found themselves with a 6-0 lead and then held on to beat the Giants 6-4 in the first game of the NLCS.
David Freese and Carlos Beltran hit two-run homers for the Cardinals as they built their six-run lead and knocked Madison Bumgarner out in the fourth. The rout was very short lived, though, as the Giants came right back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, resulting in Lance Lynn’s removal from the game.
Both bullpens matched zeroes from there, with neither offense able to score. Tim Lincecum pitched two scoreless innings for San Francisco, but five Cardinals relievers threw scoreless innings. Edward Mujica was credited with the victory after striking out the side in the seventh.
The Cardinals have to be feeling very good about the win, with their replacement starter — Lynn was inserted back into the rotation in place of the injured Jaime Garcia — beating the Giants’ No. 2. Now they get to throw Chris Carpenter against Ryan Vogelsong in Monday’s Game 2 in San Francisco.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.