Ramirez didn't look up when approached. He continued to sit still when his name was called.
The usually affable Ramirez's silence was understandable. He barely resembled a functional player Wednesday in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, as a hairline fracture in his left rib impeded his ability to hit or throw. His degree of frustration became evident in the third inning, when he flipped over a cooler and spilled several gallons of blue Gatorade onto the dugout floor after grounding into a double play.
Mattingly insisted that he started Ramirez for a third consecutive game not because he felt he owed it to Ramirez, but because Ramirez continues to be team's best option at shortstop even after taking a pitch to the ribs in Game 1.
Recalling Ramirez's two hits in Game 3, Mattingly said, "They weren't exactly bullets, but they were still two hits. He knows what he's doing."
Punto, who would probably replace Ramirez if he couldn't play, is two for six with four strikeouts in these playoffs.
It looked like Ramirez would draw a walk in the first inning, only for a pitch that appeared to be ball four to be called strike three. He grounded into a double play in the third inning. With the entire crowd at Dodger Stadium chanting his first name in the fifth inning, he could manage only a weak comebacker to pitcher Joe Kelly.
Ramirez was also hitless in three at-bats in Game 4.
Jansen holds on
As the Dodgers' four-run lead was reduced to three, then two, Kenley Jansen said he never considered the possibility that he could be part of one of the greatest late-game meltdowns in franchise history.
"You can't be distracted out there," Jansen said. "You have to continue to fight."
Jansen entered the elimination game at the start of the ninth inning with a 6-2 lead.
But the inning quickly turned troublesome, as right field Yasiel Puig lost a ball in the sun, turning a fly ball by Matt Holliday into a double. Holliday scored on a single by Matt Adams to right-center field to reduce the Cardinals' deficit to 6-3.
Jansen struck out Yadier Molina, but served up a single to Jon Jay. Jansen struck out Freese, but then allowed Pete Kozma to drive in Adams with a single to right-center field. The lead was down to 6-4.
With men on first and second base, Jansen was visited on the mound by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, as well as some of his teammates.
Catcher A.J. Ellis offered Jansen a reminder.
"I just wanted to remind him that he's the best closer in baseball," Ellis said. "He doesn't have to do anything different. Just be Kenley. Just reach back and throw the good cutter in there."
Jansen struck out pinch-hitter Adron Chambers to end the game.
Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He has not given up an earned run in 172/3 career postseason innings. … Orel Hershiser threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Aloe Blacc performed his hit song "Wake Me Up" before the game and performed the national anthem.