Game 3 of the NLCS got underway on time yesterday afternoon ~ with the known forecast of severe weather heading towards St. Louis. Predicted not to hit the area until late afternoon. Busch Stadium was full to the brim and the white “terrible towels” waving by enthusiastic Cardinal fans ~ with rain gear stowed just in case.
Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse was up against the Giants SP Matt Cain. Tough adversaries on the mound. Both held for two scoreless innings – until the until the third with the Giants scoring first with a ground out by Sandoval and Pagan able to put a run on the board.
For the Cardinals, it was Matt Carpenter who was, in my mind, the MVP in the game. Beltran was held out of the game after the first inning due to a strained left knee which occurred running out a double play. In the third, manager Matheny replaced Beltran with M Carpenter in the line-up. John Jay, lead-off batter had a single, but was able to advance to second on a pick-off error by Cain. Then, it was showtime for Matt Carpenter coming to the plate. This was Carpenter’s first appearance in the NLCS. With little time to think, once again he faced Cain on the mound. Carpenter had been strong against Cain in regular season hitting four for four singles. The count was 0-2 in Cain’s favor, but Carpenter would not be denied. On 2-2 count, Carpenter connected with a hanging slider for a two run homer. The Cardinals were now in the lead, 2-1.
Both pitchers had their problems on the mound, even though Cain went longer than Lohse. Cardinals Kyle Lohse was retired after 5 2/3 innings with two runners on, two outs on the board. With Giants Pagan next at the plate, manager Matheny brought in RP Rosenthal. Pagan hit a grounder for a fielder’s choice and Cain was out at second. Rosenthal left the two runners stranded, holding the Cardinals with the lead. Between Cardinals RP Mujica and Boggs, they were able to keep the Giants at one run through the sixth and seventh innings.
The storm front was approaching and rain beginning to fall in the seventh ~ with looming reports of the front moving closer with 60 mph winds and severe lightning in a nearby county. Cain had the bases loaded, with two outs. Cardinals Shane Robinson was up to bat. He grounded out with a RBI to give the Cardinals another run, now a 2 run lead. Cardinals Kozma and Descalso advanced. Cain was retired and “game delay” was called, bringing the tarp out just moments before the major portion of the severe storm hit.
In postseason play, game in progress, play is resumed no matter how long it takes for a weather front to move through. After a 3 hour and 28 minute delay, the tarp was removed ~ with large puddles still standing the corner of the right field track ~ the game resumed. Cardinals CP Motte came in for the eighth – 3 up, 3 down and only nine pitches. He also squashed any hopes for the Giants in the ninth. Approximately, 23 minutes after the delay ~ the Cardinals take the win, 3-1 and a 2-1 lead for the series. A win for Lohse, and once again, a save for Jason Motte.
As much as the Giants ended their losing streak at home with their win to tie the series, the Cardinals were able to end another stat for the Giants. Their loss last night ended a six game winning streak on the road. And, it was Matt Cain’s second loss for postseason play.
It was a great afternoon into the night for the Cardinals and fans alike. A great day for Matt Carpenter ~ not only to help our his team, but his mom and dad were in the stands. Beginning their trip at 2:30 yesterday morning, they had driven 9 1/2 hours to watch the game, unknowing that their son would be placed in the line-up. And what a performance they were able to see by their son. Matt knocking the ball out of the park to take the lead over the Giants. For mom and dad, his team and fans alike ~ he made them all proud. For himself ~ “this is what you train for … a player does what he can to help out”. And, that he did.
As the front moved towards the Detroit area late afternoon/early evening ~ the ALCS Game 4 for the Tigers and the Yankees scheduled to begin at 7:00 CST ~ was postponed until this afternoon.
Even though the major cold front moved through the area last night, there is still a 50% chance of rain in the St. Louis area for tonight with temps a bit cooler than the 71 degrees of yesterday. With that possibility, will managers Matheny and Bochy reconsider their starting pitchers for tonight. Slated is Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright (14-13/3.94) and Giants SP Tim Lincecum (10-15/5.18). Or, will they stay the course and not worry about the weather forecast.
Also, this evening we have the NFL Thursday Night game kicking off Week 7. The Seattle Seahawks, coming off a win this past weekend, playing in San Francisco against the 49er’s, who lost their home game Sunday. Both teams are at 4-2.
To all ~ enjoy the games. Always ~ Elichap