The 2013 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven playoff pitting the St. Louis Cardinals against the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League pennant and the right to play in the 2013 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. The series was the 44th in league history with TBS broadcasting all games in the United States.
This was the fourth postseason meeting between the Cardinals and Dodgers. The two teams previously met in the 1985 NLCS (Cardinals won 4–2), 2004 NLDS (Cardinals won 3–1), and 2009 NLDS (Dodgers won 3–0).
St. Louis won the series, 4–2.
Friday, October 11, 2013 – 8:37 p.m. (EDT) at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs off of Joe Kelly on a double and two walks in the third inning when Juan Uribe's single scored two, but in the bottom of the inning, Zack Greinke allowed a two-out single to Kelly and walked Matt Carpenter before both men scored on Carlos Beltran's double tying the game. Greinke allowed only two runs in eight innings, while striking out a season high ten batters, the first pitcher to strike out ten Cardinals in a post-season game since Denny Galehouse in the 1944 World Series. The game went into extra innings and in the top of the tenth, Mark Ellis tripled with one out and tried to score on Michael Young's sacrifice fly, but was tagged out by Beltran to end the inning. In the bottom of the 13th, Beltran drove in the winning run with a line drive into the right-field corner that scored Daniel Descalso from second off of Kenley Jansen. The game was the third longest NLCS game ever (after game six in 1986 and game five in 1999), the Dodgers' longest post-season game since game two of the 1916 World Series and the Cardinals' longest ever. It was the longest NLCS Game 1 ever.
Saturday, October 12, 2013 – 4:07 p.m. (EDT) at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
The Dodgers' offense was short-handed in game two because Hanley Ramírez sat out with injured ribs, the result of getting hit with a pitch in game one, and with Andre Ethier getting a day off for playing the entirety of Game 1's 13-inning affair. The game was a pitchers' duel as the Cardinals only got two hits off of Clayton Kershaw and two relievers. Jon Jay's sacrifice fly scored David Freese (after he doubled to lead off the inning) for the game's only run, in the bottom of the fifth. Due to a passed ball, Freese's run was unearned. The Dodgers managed five hits off Michael Wacha but were unable to get any runs. They loaded the bases in the sixth inning with one out, but Wacha struck out Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe to end the threat. Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side (Puig, Uribe, and pinch hitter Ethier) in the ninth inning for the save and the Dodgers fell behind 2–0 in the series. Kershaw was the first starting pitcher in postseason history to allow no earned runs and two or fewer hits and lose the game.
Monday, October 14, 2013 – 8:07 p.m. (EDT) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California
In Game 3, Hyun-jin Ryu pitched seven shutout innings and the Dodgers managed to score off Adam Wainwright to take the game 3–0. In the fourth, Mark Ellis hit a leadoff double, then scored on Adrian Gonzalez's double one out later. Gonzalez then scored on Yasiel Puig's triple, his first hit of the series, after 11 hitless at-bats. Hanley Ramirez had two hits and an RBI single in the seventh in his return to the Dodgers lineup, despite a fractured rib.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 – 8:07 p.m. (EDT) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California
Ramirez was still hobbled by the rib injury and struggled at the plate and in the field before leaving the game in the sixth inning. In the third, Daniel Descalso hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then scored on Matt Carpenter's double. One out later, Matt Holliday's home run, the first of the series, put the Cardinals up 3−0. The Dodgers cut the lead to 3–2 on RBI singles by Yasiel Puig and A.J. Ellis off of Lance Lynn, but Shane Robinson's home run in the seventh off of J.P. Howell padded the Cardinals' lead to 4−2 as they took a commanding 3–1 series lead.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 – 4:07 p.m. (EDT) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California
The Dodgers staved off elimination in Game 5 as Zack Greinke pitched seven strong innings and the bats came alive. In the second, the Dodgers hit four singles off of Joe Kelly, the last two of which by Juan Uribe and Greinke scored a run each. The Cardinals tied the game in the third when Matt Carpenter singled, then scored on Carlos Beltran's triple before Beltran scored on Matt Holliday's double. Adrian Gonzalez's home run in the bottom of the inning put the Dodgers up 3−2. They added to their lead on home runs by Carl Crawford in the fifth, A. J. Ellis in the seventh off of Edward Mujica and Gonzalez in the eighth off of John Axford. The four homers tied a Dodger post-season record that had previously been accomplished in Game 2 of the 1977 World Series and Game 1 of the 1978 NLCS. The Cardinals managed two runs off Kenley Jansen in the ninth on RBI singles by Matt Adams and Peter Kozma, but the Dodgers held on to win 6–4 and send the series back to St. Louis.
Friday, October 18, 2013 – 8:37 p.m. (EDT) at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
Hoping to force a game seven, the Dodgers sent their ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound to face the St. Louis Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha in a rematch of Game two's match up. This time, Kershaw had his worst outing of the season, as he struggled through the third inning with 48 total pitches and surrendered a total of seven earned runs, ten hits, and two walks in four innings of work. Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig committed two costly throwing errors that summarized the frustration of that night. By contrast, Michael Wacha, backed up by solid defense and timely hits, stymied the Dodgers' offense, going seven innings and allowing just two hits and no runs.
The Cardinals notched the scoreboard in the third inning when Matt Carpenter lined a double into right field after an eleven pitch battle with Kershaw. Carlos Beltran scored Carpenter from second with a line drive single again to right field and advanced to second. Kershaw struck out Matt Holliday but yielded another single to Yadier Molina which scored Beltran from second to make it 2–0 Cardinals. David Freese singled to center field to move Molina to second and Kershaw, already having an uncharacteristic night, walked Matt Adams to load the bases for Shane Robinson. Robinson drove in two runs with a single to right fielder Yasiel Puig, extending the Cardinals' lead to 4–0. Puig committed a throwing error by tossing the ball on a misstep and slinging it all the way to backstop over the head of catcher A.J. Ellis. Kershaw ended the inning by intentionally walking Pete Kozma and striking out Michael Wacha.
The Cardinals added on five more runs in the fifth inning. Yadier Molina singled to right field and reached second base on Yasiel Puig's second throwing error of the night. David Freese singled to advance Molina to third base and Matt Adams drove him home with a double in to make it 5–0 Cardinals. Kershaw left the game with runners on second and third after throwing 98 pitches and was replaced by reliever Ronald Belisario. Shane Robinson came up to the plate and reached second base on a choice out by shortstop Hanley Ramirez to catcher A.J. Ellis, who tagged out David Freese in a run down between third and home. With runners still on second and third, Pete Kozma was intentionally walked for the second time that night. Then Michael Wacha hit Belisario's pitch and reached first base on a fielder's choice by second baseman Mark Ellis who allowed Matt Adams to score after hesitating on a throw to home, making the score 6–0 Cardinals. Belisario was replaced by relief pitcher J.P. Howell who allowed Robinson and Kozma to score on a sacrifice fly by Carpenter and a wild pitch to Molina respectively, stretching the lead to 8–0. Carlos Beltran closed the door on the Dodgers postseason by singling to left field and scoring Wacha for the final run of the game, giving the Cardinals a commanding 9-0 lead. The Dodgers eked out just one more hit on a double by catcher A.J. Ellis and the Cardinals pitching staff retired the next twelve batters in a row to end the game.
Winning pitcher Michael Wacha was named the NLCS MVP after winning both of his starts with a 0.00 ERA, holding the Dodgers to a .149 batting average against (BAA), two walks and 13 SO in 13 2⁄3 scoreless IP. He became the fourth rookie to win a postseason series MVP award, following Larry Sherry (1959 World Series), Mike Boddicker (1983 NLCS), and Liván Hernández (1997 NLCS and 1997 World Series).
The victory earned the Cardinals their nineteenth pennant as a franchise and their second World Series appearance in three years.
2013 NLCS (4–2): St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Dodgers