Game 1 Recap

This was the game St. Louis had to win, with the series opening in Busch Stadium and Chris Carpenter getting the ball and they got it done with a 3-2 win that shifts the pressure to Texas for tonight’s Game 2.

Sometimes winning is about your stars stepping up and meeting the moment. Other times it’s about the unlikely role player who makes the most of his own time on the biggest stage. And other times it’s both. Last night the Cardinals got their first two runs through the conventional way of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman producing a quick pair, after Pujols was hit by a pitch, Holliday doubled and Berkman singled both home. The decisive blow came in the sixth when Allen Craig stepped in to face Alexi Ogando with two on and two out. Craig produced a sinking line drive that Nelson Cruz couldn’t get to and gave the Cards the 3-2 lead they would never relinquish.

Shop for officially licensed St. Louis Cardinals apparel and accessories from Fanatics!
A common theme for St. Louis’ hitters was going the other way. Holliday, Berkman and Craig’s hits, the ones that defined this game, were all hit down the rightfield line, so some solid disciplined hitting helped give this team the early lead. On the flip side, Texas did contain the leadoff men of Rafael Furcal and John Jay. Furcal drew a couple walks, but on one was wiped out immediately in a double play. As noted here in yesterday’s preview, if the Rangers contain these two, they’ll be able to have an effective series. That was the case last night, as you can’t ask a pitching staff to hold this powerful offense to less than three runs in their own park.

Texas needs Josh Hamilton to step it up now and answer back. He hasn’t hit a home run in the postseason yet, and while he hasn’t been quiet, stroking several singles, the Rangers could use the kind of power outburst from him that Cruz gave them in the ALCS.

Game 2 goes tonight at 8:05 ET on Fox, with Colby Lewis pitching for Texas against Jaime Garcia for St. Louis.