ST. LOUIS -- The difference in the Cardinals' 3-2, 13-inning, four-hour, 47-minute victory over the Dodgers Friday night was very simple: The Cardinals had Carlos Beltran. The Dodgers did not.
For all of Beltran's postseason brilliance, he never has made more of an impact on one game than he did with three monumental plays in the opener of this National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium.
Walk-off hit, check. With one out in the 13th, Beltran smacked a line drive to right off closer Kenley Jansen that scored Daniel Descalso, who had singled and gone to second after a walk to Matt Carpenter.
Game-saving play, check. With the score 2-2 and two on for the Dodgers in the 10th, Beltran caught a fly in medium right field and nailed Mark Ellis at the plate.
Game-tying hit, check. After the Dodgers scored their only runs in the third on Juan Uribe's single, Beltran smacked a two-run double off Zack Greinke with two out in the bottom of the inning.
"You can't play a much bette...