The Bottom Line:

– The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon by a score of 8-0 to take the lead in the National League Division Series, 2-1. It was the Cardinals’ largest postseason shutout since 1934.

– Starter Chris Carpenter pitched 5.2 scoreless innings, giving up seven hits and two walks while striking out two. Trevor Rosenthal, Fernando Salas and Joe Kelly combined for 3.1 hitless innings to finish the game.

– Carpenter outdueled former teammate Edwin Jackson, who won a ring with the Cardinals last season. Jackson went five innings and gave up eight hits and four runs. The Washington bullpen made the situation even worse, giving up four runs in four innings.

– The Cardinals got out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. After Matt Holliday stroked a two-out single to shallow left field, Allen Craig doubled him in. Then in the second, Pete Kozma pounded a three-run home run to left to make the score 4-0.

– The Nationals had chances to put runs on the board at home Wednesday, but could not execute. In the fifth inning, Washington loaded the bases with two outs, but Michael Morse flew out to right to end the rally.

– The Cardinals tacked on a run in the sixth inning with a Daniel Descalso sacrifice fly. They also extended the lead in the seventh with a Yadier Molina bases loaded walk and in the eighth with a Holliday two-run single.

What a win this was for the Cardinals. They gave Carpenter an early lead and, as usual, he held onto it. Carpenter moved to 78-2 in his regular season and postseason career when given at least a four-run lead. Both teams had many opportunities to score, but St. Louis was the only one to succeed in bringing runners home. The Nationals left eleven men on base and did not get a hit in their eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.

St. Louis totaled fourteen hits, including three from Holliday in addition to two by Carlos Beltran who continued his postseason success. This tremendous offensive performance by the Cardinals has put them one win away from the National League Championship Series.

What’s Next: The Cardinals and Nationals play the fourth game of the NLDS on Thursday with the first pitch at 3:07 pm central time. The game can be seen on TBS and as always, pre and post game information can be found on CardsBlog. Go Cards.

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