A game featuring the NL’s best and either second or third best starters this year resulted in a 10-9 victory for the Cardinals over the Dodgers on Friday.
Let’s look at everything that wasn’t supposed to happen.
– Clayton Kershaw gave up eight runs, despite finishing with 10 strikeouts and no walks, a unique line in postseason history. From 1903 to 2014, there were just nine starters to end a postseason game with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. Four of them were Cliff Lee. None of them gave up more than three runs. Even in the regular season, a pitcher had had such a line just twice since 1914: the Angels’ Frank Tanana gave up eight runs with a 10/0 K/BB in six innings on June 14, 1976 and the Phillies’ Curt Schilling did the same over seven innings on June 22, 1998.
– Kershaw, the certain NL Cy Young winner and likely NL MVP, is now the only pitcher ever to give up at least seven earned runs in consecutive postseason starts, having allowed seven against the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS last year. He had given up eight runs just twice in 209 regular-season starts. He gave up nine against the Rockies on April 26, 2009 and eight against the Cardinals on July 24, 2012.
– Cardinals rookie outfielder Randal Grichuk homered off an 0-2 curveball from Kershaw in the first. According to legend, Kershaw had given up just two homers on curveballs ever.
– Adam Wainwright gave up six runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings. It matched his shortest start of the 2014 season. He didn’t give up more than 10 hits in any of his 32 regular-season starts.
– Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis went 4-for-5 and homered off Adam Wainwright. He never once had more than two hits in a regular-season game this year. He also hit a total of three homers in 283 at-bats. He had hit .183 with one homer in 218 at-bats against righties.
– Matt Carpenter had a solo homer and a three-run double off Kershaw, giving him his first four-RBI game of the year. He had a total of three extra-base hits in 84 at-bats last month.
– Cardinals lefty specialist Randy Choate gave up a homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth inning. It was the first postseason run he had allowed since he was pitching for the Yankees in Game 1 of the 2001 World Series.
– It was the first time a team allowed nine runs and won a postseason game since the Cardinals beat the Rangers 10-9 in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. That’d seem to be a pretty good omen.
– Oh yeah, and there’s was also benches-clearing incident, one that resulted from a hit by pitch but wasn’t instigated by either the pitcher or batter involved. While Yasiel Puig reacted not a bit after being plunked by Adam Wainwright, on-deck hitter Adrian Gonzalez and catcher Yadier Molina got into it afterwards.