Adrian Gonzalez

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez strikes out in the eighth inning during Game 2 of the NLCS. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / October 12, 2013)

It should be clear to the Dodgers by now, the only way they win a game in the National League Championship Series is if their starter throws a shutout.

After Zack Greinke struck out 10 and gave up only two runs in eight innings in the opener and lost, Clayton Kershaw pitched even better Saturday in Game 2.

And lost.

The Cardinals scored an unearned run off Kershaw in the fifth inning and made it hold up for a 1-0 victory Saturday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Kershaw went seven brilliant innings, he and relievers Ronald Belisario and J.P. Howell holding the Cardinals to only two hits.

And lost.

A looping double by David Freese, an A.J. Ellis passed ball and a Jon Jay sacrifice fly in the fifth inning accounted for the entire day’s scoring.

The Dodgers could not score one lousy run against rookie Michael Wacha and four St. Louis relievers. The Dodgers went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and are now 1 for 16 in the NLCS.

The Dodgers played this one with shortstop Hanley Ramirez (ribs) and outfielder Andre Ethier (ankle) in the starting lineup, and their offense never could show any life.

The series now switches to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Monday, with St. Louis set to start ace Adam Wainwright against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Here is an inning-by-inning recap of the NLCS's Game 2:

Cardinals 1, Dodgers 0 (final, middle of ninth):

Closer Trevor Rosenthal wrapped it up for the Cardinals.

He struck out Yasiel Puig (his fourth in four at-bats), Juan Uribe and pinch-hitter Andre Ethier. The last five Dodgers struck out.

Cardinals 1, Dodgers 0 (end of eighth);

J.P. Howell continued the Dodgers' strong pitching performance. Howell walked one, but held the Cardinals without a hit.

The Dodgers are in position to lose 1-0, despite allowing only two hits.

Cardinals 1, Dodgers 0 (middle of eighth):

Ex-Dodgers left-hander Randy Choate started the inning and induced Carl Crawford to foul out, and then the hard-throwing Carlos Martinez came on to strike out Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez.

St. Louis is making it look easy.