The Cardinals might have backed their way into the National League playoffs, but by no means did they sneak into the NL Championship Series. St. Louis imposed their will upon the undermanned Padres winning the best-of-five series in four games.
Chris Carpenter was shaky early on allowing two runs in the first inning, but regained his composure and held the Padres scoreless through seven innings. Tyler Johnson and Josh Kinney combined to retire San Diego in the eighth. Adam Wainright struck out two batters stranding two runners in the ninth to put the game away.
Ronnie Belliard got the Birds on the board in the first inning with a two-run single that scored Preston Wilson and Jim Edmonds.
St. Louis busted the game open in the sixth inning with a Juan Encarnacion triple that scored Albert Pujols, who led off the inning with a walk. Scott Spiezio’s RBI single gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead. Yadier Molina followed Spiezio with a single that loaded the bases with one out. Carpenter and David Eckstein both drove in runs to make it a 6-2 game that would stand the rest of the way.
St. Louis is in the NLCS for the third consecutive year. They were swept by Boston in the 2004 World Series and lost to Houston in the NLCS last year. The Redbirds will meet the Mets – the NL’s best regular season team – in this year’s championship series. New York won the season series against the Cardinals 4-2.
Related web sites:
Cardinals Official Website