It took over six hours — due to a rain delay that lasted more than three — but the Cardinals topped the Giants by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday evening in Game 3 of the NLCS at a wet Busch Stadium.
Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse was far from sharp, yielding seven hits and a season-high five walks, but the Giants failed to capitalize on multiple scoring chances and the St. Louis bullpen was again reliable. Jason Motte recorded a two-inning save, needing only 19 pitches to blow through the back and front ends of the punchless San Francisco batting order.
Matt Carpenter hit a third-inning two-run homer after coming in for the injured Carlos Beltran and outfielder Shane Robinson drove in the Cardinals’ third run on an RBI groundout in the bottom of the seventh.
Giants starter Matt Cain was pulled with two outs in the seventh — just before the rain struck — after allowing six hits and one walk. He struck out only two, matching his lowest strikeout total of the season.
The Cardinals will try to push ahead 3-1 in this best-of-seven series when Adam Wainwright squares off against Tim Lincecum in Game 4 on Thursday night. Beltran has a knee strain but might be able to play.
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.