The home run hitting ability of Matt Carpenter has kicked into extra gear in the postseason, hitting his third consecutive homer to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 and take a 2-1 lead in the series after being the worst long-ball hitting team in baseball during the regular season.
Carpenter hit a solo homer in the third inning and also had a double in the game, making it three consecutive games in the playoffs with a double and a home run, the first ever player to make that happen, while joining Nomar Garciaparra and Willie Stargell as the only three players to have those kind of hit combinations three times in a single postseason. Carpenter is hitting .500 in the series while slugging an incredible 1.500 with 7 RBIs so far.
Carpetner was one hero for the Cardinals, but there were others. Kolten Wong came on in the 7th inning with the game tied at 1-1 after a Hanley Ramirez double scored Yasiel Puig in the previous inning, hitting a two-run homer off of Scott Elbert, who came on in the beginning of that inning for Hyun Jin Ryu, who lasted six innings while giving up just one run. It was Wong’s first every home run in the postseason, and turned out to be the winning hit.
There was John Lackey, putting on a very strong 7-inning performance, allowing five hits and striking out eight batters, including Puig twice, extending the outfielder’s streak of fanning out at the plate until he got his triple that led to the Dodgers’ only run. Trevor Rosenthal managed to complicate things by letting two hitters get on base during his closing session, but with a player on first and third and two outs already in the books, he didn’t mess it up and picked up his second save of the postseason.
The Dodgers were struck out 10 times during the game, which led Don Mattingly to complain to the umpire, saying that he was very, too, generous with the strike zone during the game, especially when his players were on the plate. The Dodgers were hitting just 7-for-33 and are getting close to nothing from Alex Gordon, Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe, all batting under .170 so far in the NLDS, with Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Uribe all going 0-for-4 in the loss.
Getting put under pressure means the Dodgers aren’t giving Clayton Kershaw a lot of rest. Fearing falling to 1-3 in the series with their hitting looking inconsistent at best, he’s bringing out the best picher in baseball after only three days of rest from his game 1 performance. I wonder if the Dodgers remember the last game of the NLCS last year, with Kershaw losing in the final game, taken out by the fifth inning as the Cardinals walked away with a 9-0 in game 6, moving on to the World Series.