Cardinals vs. Dodgers score: Carlos Beltran Beltrans Cardinals to Game 1 win in extras

Ed Zurga

Carlos Beltran drives in all three runs and wisely calls off Jon Jay in a 13-inning win.

Baseball's postseason forces teams to trust players in ways they never would during the regular season. Carlos Beltran had a decade of outstanding postseason performances vouching for him going into Game 1 of the NLCS, and he only padded them Friday night, but two rounds of his heroics could only ensure that the game turned on John Axford, whose 10 St. Louis innings are the baseball equivalent of a blank Word resume template with a name across the top and the words "(Criminal record expunged)" in 18-point Arial underneath it.

That's the—I don't know if it's The Great Thing or The Frustrating Thing—that's the thing about baseball. Carlos Beltran can dominate a game, but only if Axford and Lance Lynn go three scoreless first. It rewards well-rounded teams and deep benches and fans who have to pace from one room to another during commercial breaks.

It rewards home teams in extra-inning games, too, and I'm glad the Cardinals could take advantage of that. Taking one against Zack Greinke goes a long way toward neutralizing the Dodgers' playoff-rotation advantage; taking another against Clayton Kershaw—I'm not going to get greedy, at least not this early.

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