Playoff Series: Game 3 of 5

St. Louis won 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 21
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Game 2: Sunday, October 22
St. Louis1Final
Game 3: Tuesday, October 24
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Game 4: Wednesday, October 25
St. Louis
Game 4: Thursday, October 26
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Game 5: Friday, October 27
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    8:33 PM ET, October 24, 2006

    Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri 

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    DET 000000000 0 3 1
    STL 00020021 - 5 7 0

    W: C. Carpenter (1-0)

    L: N. Robertson (0-1)

    Cards trump Tigers behind Carpenter, take 2-1 Series lead

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- No smudges, no scuffs, just a jammed hand in his pitching hand -- and it wasn't about to stain Chris Carpenter's sensational World Series outing.

    Game 3 Breakdown
    Unsung Hero
    Jim Edmonds. His two-run double with one out in the bottom of the fourth snapped a scoreless tie. He also walked twice -- once intentionally -- and has now reached base seven times in the first three games of the series.

    Joel Zumaya. With the Cardinals leading 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh and runners on first and second, Albert Pujols hit a comebacker to Zumaya. The right-hander fielded the grounder and, in an attempt to get the force at third base, threw wildly, allowing two runs to score. The error essentially put the game out of reach.

    Turning Point
    The bottom of the fourth. Preston Wilson led off the inning for the Cardinals with a single to left. Pujols followed with a double to right, putting runners on second and third. Scott Rolen then walked to load the bases. And after Ronnie Belliard grounded into a force play (Wilson was forced out at home plate), Edmonds knocked in the first two runs of the game with a double to right.

    On Deck
    Game 4 is Wednesday in St. Louis. Jeremy Bonderman, who is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two postseason starts, will go for the Tigers. He last pitched in Detroit's ALCS-clinching victory over Oakland on Oct. 14. Jeff Suppan, the MVP of the NLCS, will get the start for the Cardinals. He allowed one run and five hits in 15 innings pitched in the NLCS.

    A brief spasm caused a commotion on the mound, but the Cardinals' ace was more than OK, throwing the Detroit Tigers a curve and leading St. Louis to a 5-0 victory Tuesday night for a 2-1 series edge.

    "He's so strong between the ears that nothing fazes him," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He's got a good head, good heart, good guts."

    Carpenter used big breaking balls to spin three-hit ball for eight innings. And with Jim Edmonds hitting a key double and St. Louis taking advantage of a poor throw, the Cardinals returned their focus squarely to the field.

    Gone were any reminders of the squabbling Kenny Rogers caused with his smudged left hand in Game 2.

    Oh, Rogers heard plenty from the sellout crowd at Busch Stadium during pregame introductions, as chants of "Cheat-er!" echoed throughout the ballpark. But that was about the only noise the Tigers caused in this game.

    Staring at catcher Yadier Molina's mitt, Carpenter's concentration was unshakable.

    "Go one pitch at a time," Carpenter said. "All that stuff around you that's going on doesn't get in your head, so you're not even thinking about it."

    Looking fierce with his three-day beard, Carpenter showed why he won the NL Cy Young Award last year and is a top contender this season. He struck out six, walked none and kept the Tigers' trio of Placido Polanco, Ivan Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson hitless in the Series.

    Game Three's Company
    St. Louis Cardinals
    The St. Louis Cardinals are in good company -- 34 of the previous 49 times a World Series has been tied 1-1, the team that won Game 3 has gone on to win the series:
    No. of teams
    Won in 5 games
    Won in 6 games
    Won in 7 games
    Lost in 6 games
    Lost in 7 games

    Carpenter's lone problem came in the seventh inning. As Polanco led off by lining out to good friend Albert Pujols, Carpenter hopped off the mound and looked at his hand.

    La Russa, a trainer and the entire St. Louis infield converged on the mound, peering at Carpenter's bare right hand. Plate umpire Wally Bell also went out to check as reliever Josh Kinney began warming up in a hurry.

    The problem: Jammed when he batted in the fourth inning, his hand was a bit balky.

    "It felt kind of funny from that point on," he said.

    "They think I might have just bruised it in there or something like that," he said. "We'll deal with it tonight, but I think it will be fine."

    All in all, it certainly drew a lot more attention than Rogers attracted on the field after a yellowish-brown mark was spotted on his hand -- he said it was a mix of dirt, spit and resin, while others claimed it was illegal pine tar.

    A moment later, Carpenter was fine. He proved it, too, by continuing to set down the Tigers to constant cheers.

    "He showed everything he could do," La Russa said. "He's got a lot of weapons."

    Carpenter drew his biggest roar when he got a standing ovation as he came to bat in the eighth. The bottom of the eighth took a while, though, and Braden Looper relieved him in the ninth and finished the combined three-hitter.

    "We need to swing the bats better, obviously," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

    Game 4 will be Wednesday night, provided a forecast of steady rain holds off. If it does, NL Championship Series MVP Jeff Suppan will start against Jeremy Bonderman.

    The Tigers had homered in all 10 postseason games before Carpenter stopped them. And a Detroit team that averaged 5 runs per game throughout the AL playoffs has scored a total of five in the World Series.

    It was somewhat of a surprise, too. Carpenter gave up a season-high seven runs at Detroit in June, and the Tigers' starting lineup was hitting .356 against him.

    "We faced him before and hit him pretty good, but tonight he pitched great," said Detroit's Carlos Guillen, who was hitting .714 before going 0-for-3. "He's a Cy Young winner."

    Elias Says
    Chris Carpenter
    Carpenter became the first Cardinals World Series starter to throw at least eight innings, allowing no walks and no more than three hits. Only two other pitchers over the last 20 World Series have had such performances: Greg Maddux (a nine-inning complete game) in Game 1 of the 1995 Series and Roger Clemens (eight innings) in Game 2 of the 2000 Series.

    • For more Elias Says, click here

    Carpenter had waited a long time for this opportunity. He was injured and missed the entire 2004 postseason, including the Cardinals' matchup with Boston in the World Series, a Red Sox sweep.

    Carpenter beat San Diego twice in the first round of this year's playoffs, but struggled twice against the New York Mets in the NLCS at Shea Stadium. Back at Busch, where his ERA is doubly as good as it is on the road, he was in complete control on a chilly evening.

    He allowed only one runner past first base. In the third, Brandon Inge singled and made it to third on a two-out wild pitch, then catcher Yadier Molina blocked a curve that bounced to keep a run from scoring. Granderson grounded out to end the inning.

    Edmonds hit a two-run double in the fourth. A throwing error by Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya and a wild pitch by Zach Miner gave St. Louis its other runs.

    Working on 13 days' rest, Tigers lefty Nate Robertson opened with three hitless innings. That's about normal for the Cardinals -- they were a weak 23-34 against left-handed starters this season.

    Yet it was the lefty-swinging Edmonds who got the key hit against Robertson, who was pulled after five innings. After that, Robertson bided his time on the bench talking to Rogers, perhaps picking up some secrets about pitching in cold weather.

    "It's almost like what Kenny did in Game 2, Chris Carpenter did tonight," Tigers first baseman Sean Casey said. "He was pretty much lights out."

    Edmonds delivered the big hit the Cardinals missed the last time they held the World Series under the Arch -- in 2004, St. Louis scored a total of one run in two losses to Boston.

    But that was at the old Busch Stadium, now a mere hole in the ground adjacent to the new ballpark. In this new place, Edmonds doubled that run total with one swing in the fourth inning.

    Preston Wilson, hitting high in the order because he was 5-for-5 lifetime against Robertson, led off with a sharp single for the Cardinals' first hit. Pujols showed his strength and skill when, despite being a bit off-balance, lined a double down the right-field line that hopped into the stands.

    When Robertson went to a 2-0 count on Scott Rolen, Leyland went to the mound. Two pitches later, Rolen walked to load the bases with no outs.

    The crowd in the lower deck was standing, hoping for action. And after a forceout at the plate, Edmonds came through. He pulled a hard grounder down the first-base line that a hobbled Casey had no chance to get, and St. Louis led 2-0.

    In the seventh, Zumaya made a poor choice on Pujols' comebacker with runners on first and second and no outs. Zumaya tried to go to third base and threw it wide past Inge, and both runners scored.

    "He just made a bad fundamental play," Leyland said.

    Miner's wild pitch gave St. Louis another run in the eighth.

    Game notes

    Polanco, the ALCS MVP, leadoff man Granderson and former AL MVP Rodriguez are a combined 0-for-34 in these three games. ... Molina had an adventuresome at-bat his first time up. He flipped his bat and headed to first on a 3-1 pitch, only to have Bell call it a strike. Then, he hooked a line drive that hit left-field ump Randy Marsh in the back in foul territory.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press