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Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Braves have no answer for Hanley

MLB Notebook: Braves have no answer for Hanley

MLB Notebook: Braves have no answer for Hanley

From 1995-99, the Atlanta Braves steamrolled their way through the postseason's initial round, winning 15 of the 17 National League Division Series games they played. Three sweeps captured the attention in the middle of this domination, with those three bookended by a pair of 3-1 series wins. This unchecked cruise came to an abrupt halt in 2000, however, when the Cardinals and Jim Edmonds got involved.

Savoring his first taste of the postseason, the St. Louis center fielder homered and drove in two runs in the opener, had three doubles and another two RBIs in the second contest, and then played another significant role in the win for the sweep: doubling, homering and driving in three runs. It's a start to a postseason career that finds few matches, but the Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez -- in his own work against the Braves in 2013 -- has built one.

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2013 NLDS Game 3: Braves at Dodgers

The Dodgers matched their postseason record for runs, defeating the Braves, 13-6, go go up, 2-1, in the series. Ramirez was responsible for two of the Dodgers four extra-base hits in the win, with a third-inning double and an RBI triple in the fourth. Ramirez finished the game with three hits, two RBIs and a walk.

NL Players with an extra-base hit and RBI in each of First 3 Postseason Games
Player Year Hits XBH RBIs OPS
G. Luzinski 1976 3 3 3 1.061
G. Carter 1981 4 3 4 1.317
P. O'Neill 1990 6 4 4 1.636
Edmonds 2000 8 6 7 1.886
S. Drew 2007 7 4 4 1.643
Ramirez 2013 7 6 6 1.802

Ramirez has collected at least one double in all three of his postseason games, and he has a total of six extra-base hits in his three games: four doubles, a triple and a home run. Ramirez's six extra-base hits through his first three postseason games tie him with Edmonds for the most. Hank Gowdy had five, for the next-highest total.

Ramirez has also driven in at least one run in each of his three games. He is the 15th player to have at least one extra-base hit and one RBI in each of his first three postseason games, one of six to do it in the NL, and one of four shortstops among the 15. A look at both of these subsets:

• In addition to their 13 runs, the Dodgers compiled 14 hits, with four of them going for extra bases.

Shortstops with an extra-base hit and RBI in Each of First 3 Postseason Games
Player Year Hits XBH RBIs OPS
N. Garciaparra 1998 4 3 10 1.202
M. Scutaro 2006 4 4 6 1.000
Drew 2007 7 4 4 1.643
Ramirez 2013 7 6 6 1.802

• The Dodgers had scored 13 (or more) runs in a postseason game once before, in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series. In that contest, the Dodgers -- staring down a 6-0 deficit after an inning-and-a-half -- scored six in the bottom of the second inning, tallied runs in each of the next three innings after the outburst and defeated the Yankees, 13-8.

• The 14 hits are the most for the Dodgers since Game 1 of the 2009 NL Championship Series. The team record for hits is 16, set in Game 3 of the '06 NLDS. In both of these referenced games, Los Angeles still lost. The last time the Dodgers collected at least 14 hits in a win was in Game 4 of the 1981 World Series.

Carl Crawford hit a three-run home run and also scored twice more, giving the Dodgers a potent shot at the top of the batting order. With that day at the plate and on the basepaths, Crawford is the sixth leadoff hitter in postseason history with a three-run, three-RBI game. The names, and games: George Brett (1978 ALCS, G3), Lenny Dykstra (1993 WS, G4), Jose Offerman (1999 ALDS, G4), Juan Pierre (2003 NLDS, G2), and Dustin Pedroia ('07 ALCS, G7).

2013 NLDS Game 3: Cardinals at Pirates

Pirates batters went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position, Pirates pitchers held St. Louis to 1-for-5 in that situation and Pittsburgh defeated the Cardinals, 5-3. With the win, the Pirates are up, 2-1, in the series.

Pittsburgh's hits with runners in scoring position came from Pedro Alvarez, Russell Martin and Marlon Byrd: this trio was responsible for driving in all five of the Pirates' runs in this win. In the three games of the series, the trio has accounted for 11 of the Bucs' 13 RBIs.

Andrew McCutchen hasn't driven in any runs so far in the Division Series, but in this win, he did reach safely all four times he came to the plate, drawing two walks to go along with a single and a double. McCutchen has collected at least one hit in every postseason game so far, and he's 7-for-13 in his four games. He is the seventh Pirates player to open a postseason career with at least one hit in each of his first four games, joining Fred Clarke, Lloyd Waner, Bill Mazeroski, Roberto Clemente, Bobby Bonilla and Jose Lind.

• Alvarez's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth -- against southpaw Kevin Siegrist -- gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead. During the 2013 regular season, Alvarez hit .180 against left-handers; but against southpaws with runners in scoring position, he was 14-for-58 (.241).

• Pirates right fielder Marlon Byrd had two RBIs, giving him five through his first four postseason games (Alvarez also has five). Nomar Garciaparra has the most for any player on any team, with 11 RBIs through his first four postseason games. Among Pirates, the five tie Byrd and Alvarez with Tommy Leach and Bob Robertson for the most.

• With Russell Martin driving in one run on a sacrifice fly and another with a single, the Pirates' backstop now has three multi-RBI games this postseason. The most for any catcher in one year is five, a volume shared by Sandy Alomar (1997), Benito Santiago (2002), Jason Varitek (2004), and Mike Napoli (2011).

Beltran's postseason legend continues to grow

All three of the Cardinals' runs came from the bat of Carlos Beltran, who had a two-run single and a solo homer.

Beltran's 16th postseason home run moved him into sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list, putting him in between Jim Thome (17) and Babe Ruth (15). Beltran's 16 through 37 games are the most for any player.

Beltran also has 31 RBIs and 27 extra-base hits in his 37-game postseason career. His total of 31 RBIs through 37 games, meanwhile, is tied for the third highest. Lou Gehrig had 35 (his postseason career carried 34 games) to lead. After Gehrig, Lance Berkman comes in with 33, while Fred McGriff, Edmonds and David Ortiz all had 31.

The 27 extra-base hits through 37 postseason games are the most, and Beltran currently owns the postseason's highest career slugging percentage (.794) and highest career OPS (1.258).

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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