NLDS Game One – Tue. 10/03 – Cards 5-1

The St. Louis Cardinals won the NLDS Game One over the San Diego Padres by a 5-1 score at Petco Park on Tuesday afternoon. Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols starred for the NL Central Champions.

Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter proved his mettle, holding the Padres to just one run in 6-1/3 innings. He allowed five hits and just one walk along with seven strikeouts. Tyler Johnson and Adam Wainwright got four important outs each.

Albert Pujols' two run home run in the fourth inning was all the Cardinals needed. Juan Encarnacion, Jim Edmonds (two hits) and Yadier Molina also collected RBIs. Scott Rolen doubled and Ron Belliard had two hits and several defensive gems.

One year and one day ago today
On October 4, 2005, the Cardinals and Padres faced off in Game One of the 2005 NLDS at Busch II with Chris Carpenter against Jake Peavy. Sound familiar? Carpenter's Cards prevailed, 8-5, as Jim Edmonds and Reggie Sanders homered. As a point of reference, Game Two and Three starters were Mark Mulder and Matt Morris.

The match-up
Chris Carpenter: 15-8, 3.09 @ Jake Peavy: 11-14, 4.09.

The line-up
Eckstein, Duncan (LF), Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Encarnacion, Belliard, Molina and Carpenter.
David Eckstein and Jim Edmonds return after getting Sunday's game off.

On to the game…

Cards first – Two Ks
Duncan looked at a couple of close outside pitches before taking a called strike three on a ball inside, but in the zone. Both he and Eckstein leading off saw six pitches. Pujols also took a called strike three on a great pitch on the outside of the plate.

Padres first – Yadi starts DP
Dave Roberts singled over a leaping Eckstein. Need a taller shortstop. Brian Giles hit a nubber in front of the plate. Molina pounced on it, firing to second, then the relay easily reached Pujols before the slow-starting Giles made it to first. Carp then blew away Adrian Gonzalez on a high fastball.

Cards second – Nothing doing
Edmonds weakly grounded out on one pitch on the way to a 1-2-3 inning. But, between innings, Peavy was shown with his trained looking at his middle finger on his pitching hand. A blister, perhaps.

Padres second – Mound battle
Belliard collected the first two outs on the way to a five-pitch inning for Carp.

Cards third – First hit
Belliard led off with a first-pitch single to center. Carp bunted him over, but that wasn't enough.

Padres third – Triple K
Carpenter fanned the side, two swinging and one called.

Cards fourth – Pujols, mates stake lead
Duncan singled to center leading off. Pujols took a breaking ball strike and started a brief argument with home plate ump Gerry Davis. Piazza missed a Pujols foul pop-up. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Pujols homered 422 feet to straightaway center and into the Padres bullpen. Edmonds singled to right. Rolen blooped a ball into very short right, but hustled it into a double to put two in scoring position. Still no out. Chan Ho Park began to throw in the pen. Encarnacion just missed a home run, but his ball was hauled down on the track in left center on a nice running catch by Roberts. The sac fly scored the third run. Belliard took an intentional walk to get to Molina. He complied, hitting into an easy double play. Cards 3-0.

Padres fourth – Big trouble dodged
Roberts squibbed a single between Rolen and Eckstein leading off. Giles then singled to left. Gonzalez fanned on a full-count breaking ball. Piazza grounded into a fielders' choice at second. Runners on the corners with two out. Carp didn't get some borderline calls to Russell Branyan before going full on the third straight batter. Branyan fanned on another big curve.

Cards fifth – Edmonds' clutch RBI
Weak-hitting Carpenter singled leading off. Eckstein bunted too hard and erased Carp at second base. Carp made a nice slide, trying to cut down the fielder. Duncan missed a home run as his ball went foul to right. The next pitch he saw went high and deep to the track in right, but Eckstein went half-way, so had to return to first. Pujols singled up the middle, then had a nice smiling chat with Gonzalez at first base. Ugh. Where's Bob Gibson when you need him? Edmonds singled past a diving Barfield at second to score the run. Rolen flied out. Cards 4-0.

Padres fifth – In order
Carp fanned Mike Cameron on the way to a 1-2-3 inning. Good to see him settle down again.

Cards sixth – One more
Encarnacion singled to deep short. Geoff Blum dived and stopped the ball, but couldn't make the throw. Juan was thrown out trying to steal second on a pitchout. Of course, the very next pitch was hit off Peavy's leg, allowing Belliard to reach for a single. And, Belliard stole second on the next pitch, hugely important with Molina up and one out. He fouled a ball off his shin and was in considerable pain. Molina came through with an RBI single to left. Exit Peavy, enter Rudy Seanez with one out, who dodged further damage. Cards 5-0.

Padres sixth – Roberts rolls
The speedy Roberts shot a one-out stand-up triple to left center with one out. He has three of San Diego's four hits. Roberts scored on a Giles sac fly to center. Edmonds' strong one-hop throw home was just a tad late. Cards 5-1.

Cards seventh – Rudy the underdog
Seanez cut through Duncan, Pujols and Edmonds. The latter took strike three looking on a breaking ball.

Padres seventh – Very close shave
Branyan shot a ball hard into right center. Edmonds dived on the grass short of the track, but missed it. A double turned into a one-out triple. Kinney and Johnson began to warm up in a hurry. Mike Cameron drew a walk. La Russa made the change to Johnson. Tyler hit pinch-hitter Josh Bard on his first pitch to load the bases. That brought Duncan out. Johnson fanned pinch-hitter Mark Bellhorn for the second out. Belliard made a huge play on Todd Walker's grounder, rolling to his left and just throwing to Pujols in time to retire Walker by an eyelash.

Cards eighth – Tit for tat
Scott Rolen was hit by a pitch from Chan Ho Park. Fine. Scott was erased in a double play.

Padres eighth – Closer in the eighth
Giles doubled into the right field corner with one out. Belliard made a nice play to get the second out. Wainwright relieved Johnson to face Piazza. He got his man.

Cards ninth – Sloppy baserunning
Miles singled with one out. On a ground out, Miles made a baserunning blunder, straying too far off second and getting caught for the third out.

Padres ninth – The New Closer
Wainwright fanned Branyan and Cameron before retiring Ryan Klesko on a fly ball to end Game One.

In conclusion
For the second straight year in Game One of the NLDS, the Cardinals got to Peavy. Pujols' two-run home run in the fourth was all Carpenter needed. While Tyler Johnson was a bit shaky, he got the game to Wainwright and that was all she wrote.

Upcoming action – tentative (times CDT)
Game Matchup Day Date Time TV
NLDS Game 2 STL (Weaver: 8-14, 5.76) @ SD (Wells: 3-5, 4.42) Thu Oct. 5 3:05 ESPN
NLDS Game 3 SD (Young: 11-5, 3.46) @ STL (Suppan: 12-7, 4.12) Sat Oct. 7 3:35 FOX
NLDS Game 4* SD @ STL Sun Oct. 8 TBA TBA
NLDS Game 5* STL @ SD Mon Oct. 9 3 OR 7 FOX
* if necessary

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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