ST. LOUIS (AP) — Matched against ace Clayton Kershaw, the only thing Michael Wacha lacked was a no-hit watch.
Wacha stared down a bases-loaded test in the sixth inning and pitched into the seventh, and the kids in the bullpen also were impervious to October pressure, keeping the Los Angeles Dodgers bats silent for the second straight day and winning 1-0 Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the NL championship series.
The Cardinals managed only two hits off Kershaw and the Dodgers, but Jon Jay’s sacrifice fly set up by Freese’s double and A.J. Ellis’ passed ball in the fifth stood up.
The Dodgers’ scoreless streak in the NLCS reached 19 innings after they averaged 6 1⁄2 runs in a four-game division series against Atlanta. Rookie fireballer Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth with a heater reaching 101 mph, fanning pinch-hitter Andre Ethier on three pitches to end it.
A day after outlasting Los Angeles 3-2 in 13 innings, the Cardinals moved two wins away from the World Series.
Game 3 is Monday at Dodger Stadium, with Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright facing rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers have already used their top two starters and have nothing to show for it.
Wacha was nearly untouchable for the third straight start, allowing five hits with eight strikeouts and a walk in 6 2/3 innings.
In 22 2/3 innings in his last three starts, Wacha has given up two runs on seven hits with 26 strikeouts and five walks.
Kershaw worked six snappy innings, needing just 72 pitches. He gave up two hits and struck out five.
Relievers Randy Choate and Carlos Martinez pitched the eighth for St. Louis before turning it over to Rosenthal.