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 — hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in Game 1 — wore a lightweight flak jacket to protect his broken left rib, while Ethier has been bothered by shin splints. He went 0 for 4 with a strikeout.
“This time of year you can’t let down,” Ramirez said. “You got to keep going all the way.”
Ramirez hit a soft single off Seth Maness over the head of 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.
“We just had a lot of balls in the air tonight that hit the ground that normally don’t,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’re a better club than this.”
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.
“We just knew we had to scratch away and get a win,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “We needed a great starting pitching performance from Hyun-Jin, and we got that. You knew it was going to be tough sledding against a guy like Adam. He’s so good, especially on the big stage, so we were fortunate we scratched a couple of runs across.”
Wainwright entered 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA and four saves in 15 career postseason games, including six starts. He pitched St. Louis past Pittsburgh in the division series, going the distance in a decisive Game 5 last Wednesday.
The right-hander tossed seven strong innings this time, allowing two runs and six hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Ryu, however, was even better.
“I hate to lose,” Wainwright said. “I felt like tonight if I had got a couple of balls in there, we win the game. I think you just have to tip your hat and move on.”
The two pitchers were nearly even through the first three scoreless innings, with Wainwright giving up one hit. Ryu, who struggled in his first postseason start in the division series against Atlanta, retired 12 of his first 13 batters, yielding only a walk.
“I just zoned in,” Ryu said.
Ryu was much improved after lasting just three innings as the first South Korean pitcher to start a playoff game last week against the Braves. He allowed four runs on six hits for a no-decision in a game the Dodgers won.
The left-hander didn’t permit a Cardinals runner past second base. David Freese’s single to right leading off the fifth was their first hit of the game.