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.