The Matt Carpenter at-bat. That is one that will go down in Cardinals history. His 11-pitch battle with Clayton Kershaw ended with a double and kick started a four-run, third inning that launched the Cardinals to a 9-0 win and 19th National League Pennant. Michael Wacha, the Cardinals sensational 22 year old rookie pitcher, was named NLCS MVP. Wacha pitched 13.2 scoreless innings and beat Kershaw twice in the series, and became the first rookie to win the award since Livan Hernandez in 1997 for the Marlins.
I broke down some of Wacha’s numbers here in the past month. Starting with his near no-hitter on Sept. 24, Wacha has gone 29.2 innings and allowed just one earned run with only nine hits allowed and 31 strikeouts over his last four starts. In his last eight starts, dating back to Sept. 3, Wacha has allowed just seven earned runs in 52.2 innings. His numbers of 1968 Bob Gibson like, posting a 1.20 ERA in that time.
AUDIO Michael Wacha on handling pressure
Back to Carpenter’s at-bat. Even Dodgers manager Don Mattingly admitted, that turned the game on it’s side.
“From there, it just seemed like the floodgates opened. Took a lot out of him, said Mattingly.”
Beltran followed Carpenter’s double with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead. He finished with three hits, drove in two runs and made a great catch in right field. He advances to the World Series for the first time in his 16-year career.
AUDIO Carlos Beltran on getting to the World Series
Yadier Molina added an RBI single and Shane Robinson drove in two runs with a single in his first career postseason start, filling in for the slumping Jon Jay. Kershaw needed 48 pitches to get out of the third, the most pitches of his career.
The Cardinals knocked Kershaw out in the fifth with five runs.
AUDIO Mike Matheny on the big inning and making the World Series with the help of rookies.
Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday at the winner of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals will be trying for their 12th World Series title overall and third since 2006, having last won in 2011.
Watch the celebration again courtesy of MLB.com