The Cardinals pull ahead in Game 6 with a big third inning

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Post-season legend Carlos Beltran staked the Cardinals to an early lead in the top of the third with a line drive RBI single to center against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw. The opportunity was set up by Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter, who worked an 11-pitch at-bat — including seven consecutive foul balls — against Kershaw before lacing a double down the right field line. Beltran went ahead in the count 2-1 before taking a fastball back up the middle. He advanced to second on the play.

After Matt Holliday struck out, Yadier Molina kept the rally going, lining a Kershaw curve to left-center for an RBI single, pushing the Cardinal lead to 2-0. Kershaw then fell behind David Freese, who singled up the middle. Matt Adams drew a walk to load the bases. Shane Robinson — starting in place of the besieged Jon Jay — hit a seeing-eye single to right field, scoring Molina to push it to 4-0.

The Cardinals made Kershaw labor in the third, seeing a total of 48 pitches. They saw 18 and 15 pitches in the first and second innings, respectively. The Dodgers certainly didn’t expect their ace to need 81 pitches to get through three innings.

With a 3-2 series lead in the NLCS, the Cardinals are enjoying how Game 6 has gone thus far.

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez leaves game with ankle discomfort

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez left the Astros’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning with left ankle discomfort.

Alvarez, who is tied for second in the American League with 37 home runs, rolled his ankle running out of the box on a single in the first inning.

He looked to be in some pain as he jogged to first base and was checked on briefly by manager Dusty Baker and a trainer before remaining in the game. Serving as the designated hitter, he struck out in the third inning before being replaced by pinch-hitter David Hensley for his at-bat in the fifth.