Matt Carpenter homers to put Cardinals in front in NLDS Game 3 vs. Dodgers

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Matt Carpenter continues to do it all for St. Louis.

Carpenter just hit a leadoff homer against Hyun-Jin Ryu in the bottom of the third inning to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS. He has now homered in three straight games to begin the postseason. Albert Pujols (2004) is the only other player in franchise history to homer in three straight postseason games.

Carpenter hit eight home runs in 159 games during the regular season, with only two of them coming against southpaws. All three of his home runs this postseason have been against lefties. As for Ryu, he gave up just one home run to a left-handed batter during the regular season.

John Lackey pitched out of some trouble in the first and second innings, but he’ll carry a 1-0 lead into the top of the fourth inning at Busch Stadium.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.