Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tough Loss in Game 2 but Cards Get a Split; NLDS: CARDINALS VS. DODGERS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tough Loss in Game 2 but Cards Get a Split; NLDS: CARDINALS VS. DODGERS

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES * The Cardinals packed quickly and headed to the airport for the flight to St. Louis and were scheduled to arrive with the morning light. They came home from the opening weekend in the National League division series knowing that they'd lost a grand opportunity in Game 2, and this probably made for a restless ride home.

But when their airplane landed, the Cardinals were tied 1-1 in this best-of-five series, and that was an acceptable way to begin this NLDS. The Cardinals did what they had to do: take on the formidable starting tandem of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke and come out of Dodger Stadium with a split.

Sure, Saturday's 3-2 loss was agonizing. After being blanked for seven innings of two-hit pitching by Greinke, the Cardinals attacked Dodgers' lefty reliever J.P. Howell for Matt Carpenter's two-run homer in the top of the eighth.

The irrepressible Carpenter shook the building again, and made Dodger Stadium go silent. Carpenter has become a burden to the Dodgers, and he will not go away. And just like that, the Cardinals were tied 2-2, and in position to snatch Game 2 and take an unlikely, startling 2-0 series lead. The Cardinals could have sent the Dodgers reeling.

Instead, the Dodgers landed a heavy counterpunch in the bottom of the eighth, with Matt Kemp powering a long solo homer to left to exploit the increasing ineffectiveness of Cardinals' eighth-inning reliever Pat Neshek. (Side note: with Neshek now in a state of diminishing returns, shouldn't this be Carlos Martinez time?)

The Dodgers escaped with a 3-2 win. They dodged the terrible predicament of losing the first two games at home. But when the visiting team gets a split, it's a reason to be pleased. Yes, even with the sting of Game 2 still so fresh.

In this best-of-five National League division series, the urgency is intense. At the outset, a team can't afford to slip into an immediate and dangerous losing streak, dropping the first two games to set up an almost hopeless scenario of having to win three consecutive contests to keep the season flickering.

The Cardinals avoided that Friday night, launching a seventh- inning raid to ambush Kershaw and reliever Pedro Baez for eight runs that turned a four-run deficit into an eventual 10-9 victory. …

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