Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter defined the term “ace” Wednesday night in Houston, limiting the Astros to just two hits over nine scoreless innings. He issued only one walk and struck out 11 batters, throwing 76 of his 105 pitches for strikes.
Every member of the St. Louis starting lineup netted a hit as the Redbirds rolled to an 8-0 victory.
Down in Atlanta, the failures continued.
The Braves took a 3-1 lead in the third inning courtesy of a two-run Dan Uggla homer and starter Tim Hudson yielded just two runs over 6 1/3 innings, but the Phillies kept their regular position players active throughout and rallied to a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth against red-faced rookie closer Craig Kimbrel.
Over an hour later, in the top of the 13th, Hunter Pence blooped an RBI single to the right side of the infield for the go-ahead run. The Braves could not counter, and ended their historic collapse with a 4-3 loss.
What a night for Major League Baseball. And what a night for the Wild Card champion Cardinals.
St. Louis will open the NLDS on Saturday against the Phillies. The Diamondbacks will face the Brewers.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.
Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.
Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.
Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.
Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.