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Cardinals Draw First Blood, Lead WS 1-0

Posted By Chaz Ingram On Oct 20 2011 @ 8:51 pm In St. Louis Cardinals | No Comments

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Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman drives in two runs with basehit in game one of World Series

Given the fact that starting pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers did not exactly shut down their opponents in their League Championship Series one may be inclined to think that the 2011 World Series between the two teams will be an all out slugfest. If game one was any indication that’s not exactly what we’re in store for.

The Cardinals 3-2 win over the Rangers in game one of the Fall Classic last night was more reminiscent of the type of game that is normally played in the national league opposed to the American League where runs come in bunches partly due to the DH (designated hitter) factor.

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Rangers Mike Napoli hits 2 run HR against Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter

Unexpectedly there weren’t very many runs scored in game one. However, as expected the bullpens played a large role in the outcome. Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa once again utilized what was, at best, an average bullpen during the regular season to preserve a victory in the post season.  The future hall of fame manager used five different pitchers (Fernando Salas, Mark Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes) to get the six required outs in the seventh and eighth innings.  Though Salas was unable to get out of the seventh after relieving Carpenter, the bullpen painted another masterpiece particularly Rzepczynski and Jason Motte faced the heart of Texas’ lineup in the ninth.

  [3]Inheriting a two on two out situation Rzepczynski struck out pinch hitter Craig Gentry looking and Esteban German swinging.  LaRussa then turned to his “unofficial” closer Jason Motte in the ninth whose assignment was to get three outs against Michael Young, Adrian Beltre and  Nelson Cruz. He did just that, albeit with a little controversy. 

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Cards' pinch hitter Allen Craig delivers game winning hit in game one

 

Aside from the hit that would ultimately give the Cardinals the lead Texas’ bullpen didn’t fare much worse.  With two on and two out and the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth LaRussa pinch hit Allen Craig for Carpenter.  Texas manager Ron Washington countered by bringing in his usually reliable relief man Alexi Ogando who had retired 31 of the 37 batters he faced during the post season this year.  Despite being down in the count 1-2 Craig hit a sinking liner to right field that right fielder Nelson Cruz nearly caught but was unable to come up with allowing Albert Pujols to score from third. Rangers’ relievers Mike Gonzalez and Scott Feldman prevented the Cardinals from adding any insurance runs after that.   

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Rangers' pitcher C.J. Wilson took the loss in game one

The Cardinals did get to starter C.J. Wilson for 3 runs and 5 hits before he left the game after six innings. Wilson absorbed his 3rd loss this post season. Carpenter, who earned his third post season victory this year, earned his eighth overall for the Cardinals  breaking a tie with hall of fame pitcher Bob Gibson.  The lone damage in game one against Carpenter was a 2 run homer to the Rangers’ Mike Napoli.  If October is where legends are made Carpenter is surely making a case for himself.

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Chris Carpenter makes diving catch to get the out against the Rangers in game one

The Cardinals look to take a commanding 2-0 lead tonight as they will send the lefty Jaime Garcia (1-2 post season) to the mound against Rangers’ right hander Colby Lewis (1-1 post season).

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