“It’s like you’ve got to put a mirror under his nose to check if he’s breathing, he’s so calm, cool and relaxed,” leadoff man Matt Carpenter said after Beltran delivered another big October performance in a 3-2, 13-inning victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
“It’s like jazz music is playing in his head. He’s just so even-keel, nothing gets to him.”
Beltran hit a tying, two-run double in the third inning. Then he took charge on defense, calling center fielder Jon Jay off the ball before throwing out a runner at the plate from shallow right field in the 10th to keep it even.
“I felt I was going to have a better angle so I called for the ball about five or six times,” Beltran said. “And Jon Jay was able to hear me and leave it up to me.”
Well past midnight at Busch Stadium, but with most of a sellout crowd still waiting expectantly, Beltran singled into the right-field corner with one out against Kenley Jansen to finish a game that took 4 hours, 47 minutes.
Neither team had much time to exhale before Game 2 Saturday afternoon, scheduled to start 14½ hours after Daniel Descalso crossed the plate. It features a marquee pitching matchup — major league ERA leader Clayton Kershaw vs. Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha, who’s flirted with no-hitters his last two starts.
The eight-time All-Star is hoping this year ends with his first trip to the World Series.
It was the longest postseason game for the Dodgers since the 1916 World Series, when Babe Ruth pitched all 14 innings to lead the Boston Red Sox past Brooklyn.
This one also tied for the longest series opener in postseason history, according to STATS. Boston and Cleveland played 13 innings in their 1995 AL division series, with the Indians winning 5-4.
“You work so hard in the offseason, spring training and regular season to get to this point and we’re fortunate to be here,” Beltran said. “That’s a preview. Today was a good game and that’s it’s all about.”
Descalso had a pinch-hit single with one out in the 13th off rookie Chris Withrow, and Matt Carpenter walked. Jansen, usually the Dodgers‘ closer, relieved and Beltran won it with his hit on a 3-1 count.
“I tip my hat to Carlos Beltran,” Jansen said. “He’s a pro.”