This was a typical regular season start for Chris Carpenter. Pitch well and limit the other team’s offense, but don’t get enough run support and the Cardinals eventually lose a game the bullpen can’t finish off. This scenario reared its ugly head in Game Five of the World Series with the Rangers beating the Cardinals 4-2.
Mike Napoli’s two run double in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and put Texas in the driver’s seat as the series will shift back to St. Louis with Cardinals needing both games in order to reach their goal of “11 in 11.”
The Cardinals gave Carpenter a 2-0 lead off C.J. Wilson in the second inning thanks to some shoddy defense and wild pitching. After Wilson walked Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, Yadier Molina singled to left and an error by left field David Murphy allowed Holliday to score without a throw and Berkman to move to third base. Skip Schumaker’s ground ball to first basemen Mitch Moreland was bobbled giving Berkman enough time to score or he clearly would have been gunned down at the plate. After the gifts, the runs stopped coming for St. Louis.
Chris Carpenter made two mistakes and I’m not sure you could even call them mistakes really. Moreland got Texas on the board in the third, a monster shot that went 446 feet. Then Adrian Beltre tied the game in the sixth when he went down to one knee and hit a solo shot to left center.
The story of the game was missed opportunities and in particular Matt Holliday’s failure to come through. In the third he grounded into a double play with a runner on third. In the fifth with the bases loaded, Holliday worked a full count and grounded softly to the shortstop ending another threat. With runners on second and third in the sixth, Nick Punto struck out. With the bases loaded, David Freese flied to center in the seventh, also an inning in which Allen Craig was caught stealing second with Albert Pujols at the plate. In the eighth with a runner on second, Punto struck out and Rafael Furcal grounded out.
In all, the Cardinals left nine men stranded and Craig was thrown out twice trying to steal. In Game Four you tip your cap to their pitcher for just shutting down the offense, but in Game Five, this hurts because the Cardinals had the runs there waiting to come in and not once could the big hit get delivered.