St. Louis Cardinals managed to score four runs in the first inning in game three of their MLB playoff semi final against Milwaukee Brewers which was enough to secure a 4-3 victory.
The win gives the Cardinal a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series. The winner will advance to play the American League champion in the World Series.
Albert Pujols, Jon Jay and David Freese each had RBI doubles and St. Louis scored another run on a double-play ground-out as the Cardinals pummelled Milwaukee’s ace starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo for a 4-0 lead in the first frame.
“When you make mistakes like we did the first inning, they’re going to get their hits, they’re going to score some runs,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
St. Louis starting pitcher Chris Carpenter struggled as well, but four Cardinals relief pitchers — Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte — combined for four perfect innings to seal the victory.
“It’s not going to work very often that you can put four zeros against their offense,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
Carpenter allowed Milwaukee to put runners on base in every inning against him. He lasted just five innings and almost half of his 89 pitches were balls. He allowed six hits and three runs.
Two of those runs came in the second inning, one on a sacrifice fly by Gallardo.
Milwaukee’s Mark Kotsay then led off the third inning with a home run that narrowed the gap to 4-3. Then the Cardinals’ bullpen stepped up.
“You never know how it’s going to work out,” Carpenter said. “That’s what’s so fun about this game and that’s what’s so fun about pitching. Our guys did a fabulous job.”
Added Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman: “We’ve won games in several ways. Tonight’s was the bullpen’s night to shine.”
Game four is on Thursday, when the Cardinals will send Kyle Lohse to the mound against Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf.
“I think regardless of whether we’re winning or losing the series, we recognize what’s at stake,” Milwaukee star Ryan Braun said. “We’re going to prepare ourselves just like we’ve been doing and expect to win tomorrow and hopefully get off to a good start.”