MLB 2012: St. Louis Cardinals closer to NLDS title as competition deepens – Part 5
With the 12-4 win in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, the St. Louis Cardinals had tied the best-of-five games series at 1-all. Game 3 would provide them a seemingly safe 2-1 lead as they beat the National by 8-0.
It was Chris Carpenter, the ace Cardinals' pitcher who had at one point seemed out of 2012 Major League Baseball, that pitched some of the best innings in any post-season games, not allowing any run to keep the Cardinals lead intact.
In his 5.2 innings, compared to Edwin Jackson of the Nationals who allowed four runs and surrendered eight hits, Carpenter had two strike-outs, paving the way to victory for the Cardinals.
"Carp's been a dominant pitcher his whole career. Big-game pitcher. He showed up," Washington's Jayson Werth said. "He pitched well today. We had him in some spots. We had him on the ropes a couple of times. We were just one bloop away from a totally different ballgame."
With that, Carpenter became only the second pitcher in MLB to have a post-season win after not having any win in the regular season. It could not have come at a more appropriate and auspicious time than this.
This win, being the result of Carpenter’s best start, won the laudation of all and sundry. "If the baseball world doesn't know what an amazing competitor he is by now, they haven't been paying any attention," Cardinals' left fielder Matt Holliday said.
The Cardinals' batters aggressively went against the Nationals' pitchers. In particular, it was Jackson whom the Cardinals subjected to massive hits, scoring four runs in his five innings which also included Pete Kozma’s three-run homer.
"I didn't feel like I was out of rhythm. I didn't feel like I couldn't throw strikes. I just missed across the plate with a couple of balls and it cost me," Jackson said.
With the 2-1 lead in the National League Division Series, the Cardinals – however, could not continue it. The Nationals staged a comeback in Game 4, winning it by a marginal difference of 2-1.
The Nationals had tied the best-of-five by 2-2 apiece with that win. That made the NLDS all the more interesting, opening a window of opportunity for the Nationals to steal the thunder of the Cardinals. However, that was not what fate was thinking.
In the finale, the Cardinals regained the ground they seemingly had ceded. They made a comeback and they did it with style, winning Game 5 by 9-7, to also win the National League Division Series – making a firm advance to the National League Championship Series to be played against the San Francisco Giants.