Chris Carpenter hurls shutout and Braves continue collapse as St. Louis captures Wild Card

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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.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.