After rumbling, stumbling, bumbling into the playoffs, the Cardinals look to have regained their balance. Albert Pujols belted a two-run homer and Chris Carpenter returned to his dominant form in a 5-1 win in San Diego.
Pujols’ blast in the fourth inning started the scoring for a Cardinals team that needed a jump start after its September struggles. A Preston Wilson sacrifice fly later in the inning gave the Redbirds a 3-0 lead after four innings.
St. Louis added single runs in the fifth and sixth to cap a 5-1 lead that stood for the rest of the game.
Carpenter, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, gave up one run on five hits and struck out seven in 6.1 innings. The biggest story of the game might have been the Cardinals bullpen that was leaky towards the end of the regular. Relievers Tyler Johnson and Adam Wainright combined to hold the Padres scoreless over 2.1 innings giving up just one hit and striking out four.
St. Louis now holds a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-five series. They’ve wrestled away home field advantage from a San Diego team that was swept by the Birds in the same round of last year’s playoffs.
David Wells is set to pitch for the Padres in Thursday’s Game 2. Jeff Weaver is the scheduled starter for the Cardinals.
Related web sites:
Cardinals Official Website