LOS ANGELES (AP) — Josh Beckett and Adam Wainwright were both on their game in a pitching duel that exceeded all expectations.
Pinch-hitter Justin Turner delivered an RBI single in the eighth inning off Wainwright, and the Los Angeles Dodgers edged the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 Thursday night in their first meeting since last year's NL championship series.
Beckett pitched seven sharp innings in his showdown with the Cardinals' ace, who held the Dodgers hitless through five. Left fielder Matt Kemp helped Beckett by throwing out a runner at the plate in the seventh.
Beckett scattered four hits, walked two and struck out four. The right-hander has a 1.34 ERA over his last seven starts, a stretch that began with his no-hitter in Philadelphia on May 25. His season ERA is 2.11 in 15 starts.
"I knew it was going to be tough, but I don't think I deserve very much of the credit," Beckett said. "My defense really picked me up tonight, and we got a late run off of a pretty tough pitcher."
Juan Uribe, just off the disabled list after missing 34 games with a right hamstring strain, led off the eighth with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Drew Butera before rookie Miguel Rojas' infield single put runners at the corners.
Turner, batting for reliever Brian Wilson, came through with his 20th RBI of the season.
"I think he's used to that. He's gotten some big hits for us this year," Kemp said. "He's always ready to hit, and tonight he got the big hit. It was a battle today. It was a battle of the pitchers — two good pitchers going at it, and we had to wait out Wainwright."
Wilson (1-2) tossed a perfect inning and Kenley Jansen got three outs for his 24th save.
"That's how playoff games usually are — 1-0. When we play them, it's always two good teams going at it," Kemp said. "I think our pitchers match up with their pitchers, and vice versa. We've had some battles over the years, and they've gotten the best of us the last couple of years. But hopefully we can grind it out and see them in the playoffs again this year."
The Cardinals won 97 games last season, five more than Los Angeles, and beat the Dodgers in the NLCS. Wainwright won Game 3 at Dodger Stadium.
This time, Wainwright (10-4) took a hard-luck loss, giving up five hits while going the distance for the 19th time in 201 regular-season starts. The right-hander was runner-up to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in last year's NL Cy Young Award voting.
"I think one run would have been enough tonight the way he was throwing the ball," said Cardinals second baseman Mark Ellis, a former Dodger. "He was typical Wainwright. He has four above-average pitches and throws them wherever he wants. He knows their lineup and how to throw those guys."