Cardinals fall from grace

| Sports Reporter

For native St. Louisans, Cardinals baseball is a religion, and for Washington University students without a childhood team loyalty, the Cards are the team to watch. Acquiring Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa over the summer helped lead the Birds to the dominant position in the NL Central, and they clinched a spot in the playoffs with their Sept. 26 win at Colorado. Pitcher Chris Carpenter was named National League Comeback Player of the Year on Oct. 5, but the Cards dropped six of their last seven regular season games leading up to the NL Division Series. For those who missed it, here’s a breakdown of the first time the Cardinals have been swept by a National League playoff opponent.

Oct. 7 – NLDS Game 1 Dodgers 5, Cardinals 3
•Bottom of the first: Kemp homers and Furcal scores to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The Cards’ only additional runs for the day came when Colby Rasmus scored on a double by Skip Schumaker in the fourth inning and Mark DeRosa doubled home Ryan Ludwick in the ninth.
•A walk and a hit batter set up the Dodgers’ next two runs.
•It was a rough start for Carpenter, who allowed four runs in five innings.
•At the end of the game, Cards and Dodgers combined for a playoff record of 30 men left on base.

Oct. 8 – NLDS Game 2 Dodgers 3, Cardinals 2
•Adam Wainwright left the game after eight innings. He allowed only one run on three hits.
•Cards entered the bottom of the ninth leading 2-1.
•With two outs and the bases empty, Matt Holliday committed a two-base error with a dropped fly ball. He “lost it in the lights.”
•After Ryan Franklin walked Casey Blake, Ronnie Belliard tied the game with a single. Franklin then walked Russell Martin, and pinch hitter Mark Loretta hit a single for the winning run.

Oct. 10 – NLDS Game 3 Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1
•Cards’ starter Joel Pineiro lasted only four innings.
•Manny Ramirez had a two-out RBI double in the first inning, and Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer in the third.
•The Dodgers scored five two-out runs.
•After loading the bases by walking Colby Rasmus, Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla retired 17 of the next 18 batters and shut the Redbirds down.

The Dodgers advance to the National League Championship series, while the Cardinals must wait ‘til the spring for another shot.

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