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Cardinals’ bullpen shines as St. Louis wins Game 3, takes 2-1 NLCS lead

Oct 12, 2011, 11:49 PM EDT

motte reuters Reuters

Game 3 of the NLCS was supposed to be a classic duel of two great pitchers: the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo against the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter.

But it’s not often that things go as they’re expected to in Major League Baseball’s postseason.

Gallardo was hammered for four earned runs in the first inning and didn’t make it to the sixth. Carpenter yielded three runs on six hits and was also pulled after five innings. He threw just 48 of his 89 pitches for strikes. Gallardo threw 95 pitches, 47 balls.

The battle of two elite National League Central starters soon became a bullpen game. And while both relief corps held strong, the Cardinals were playing with the lead — a lead they did not relinquish.

Setup man Fernando Salas threw a scoreless sixth inning, retiring all three batters he faced. Bearded right-hander Lance Lynn then delivered a perfect seventh inning before retiring Ryan Braun to open the eighth. Left-hander Marc Rzepcynski entered to face Prince Fielder and struck him out with a sharp slider.

Then it was the Jason Motte show.

Featuring a fastball that jumps to 99 and sometimes 100 mph, Motte registered three strikeouts against the final four batters of the game, giving the Cardinals a 4-3 victory in Game 3 of the seven-game NLCS.

St. Louis carries a 2-1 series lead into Thursday’s Game 4. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

  1. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    A contradiction is growing within me: as the Cardinals continue to play better than their opposition (i.e., winning) I continue to grow less confident that we will be able to pull this off. “Pull this off,” in this case, means “win the next game.” That’s how nervous I am. But it’s an exhilarating nervousness, one that fills me with dread and happiness. I’m happy to be here, yet terribly scared that, now that we’re here, we’re just going to blow it like we did in 2004 and 2005.

    Ah, the existential debate of fanhood.

    • kycardsfan - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:18 AM

      I have a feeling that we are witnessing something really special. I haven’t had this much fun watching cardinals baseball in a long time, well i guess since 2006…GO CARDS!!

    • paperlions - Oct 13, 2011 at 8:23 AM

      That feeling is called hope….before, you just assumed they would lose after getting in…and were just happy they made the playoffs….now, it feels like they could win…so there is something to lose, which makes you nervous and makes you feel like there is something to blow.

      • ultimatecardinalwarrior - Oct 13, 2011 at 10:30 AM

        So that’s what that is. Huh.

  2. astrozac - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    To me this feels more like the 2006 club than the 2004 or 2005 teams. Like in 06, this team wasn’t expected to do anything in the playoffs, but yet they got past the Phillies and their invincible starting rotation and into the LCS. The 04 and 05 teams were the juggernauts expected to win it all…

    • lordsummer - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:09 AM

      Even more than ’06, we’re playing with house money. In 2006 we had two years’ worth of disappointment that we got an unexpected chance to redeem. This year it’s all gravy…hopefully enough gravy Albert decides to stay and the front office decides to keep him.

      • boilerbear - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:23 PM

        PAY. THE. MAN.

  3. ermur22 - Oct 13, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I think the Cards may do it Good Luck!!

  4. canucks18 - Oct 13, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    UltimateCardinalwarrior? Have some faith in your team and don’t dweel on the past!

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