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Cardinals rally into playoffs on final day

Sep 29, 2011 - 6:10 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - It came down to the final day of the regular season, but the Cardinals finally overcame the Braves and are headed to the playoffs.

Behind Chris Carpenter's second shutout of the season, St. Louis blanked the Houston Astros, 8-0, at Minute Maid Park. The Cardinals then waited in the visitor's clubhouse and watched on television as the Philadelphia Phillies topped Atlanta, 4-3, in 13 innings.

That loss by the Braves gave the Cardinals the National League wild card spot and a trip to Philadelphia to face the NL East-champion Phillies on Saturday in Game 1 of their Division Series.

St. Louis (90-72) had erased a 10 1/2-game deficit for the NL wild card and came into Wednesday's contest even with the Braves.

Carpenter (11-9) gave up just two hits and a walk with a season-high 11 strikeouts.

"You just concern yourself with playing and next thing you know you turn around and you're right up there," said Carpenter about St. Louis' postseason push. "We have guys in this clubhouse that know what needs to be done and we've all done it here."

Skip Schumaker drove in two runs while David Freese went 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored for the Cardinals, who won four of their final five games of the regular season.

Brett Myers (7-14) was pounded for seven runs -- six earned -- on 10 hits with a walk and three strikeouts over five innings for the Astros (56-106), who completed their worst season ever.

The Cardinals did most of their damage in the first inning as the first five batters had hits with singles from Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman each scoring a run while Freese doubled home Pujols. After a groundout, Schumaker brought home Berkman with an infield hit and Nick Punto followed with a single to left for a 5-0 lead.

Carpenter helped his cause in the third with an RBI single for a 6-0 lead.

Schumaker brought home Freese with a groundout in the fifth.

Carpenter set down the first 10 batters he faced before a single from Jose Altuve with one out in the fourth.

Houston's only threat in the game came in the sixth with a single from J.B. Shuck and a walk from Altuve with two outs. J.D. Martinez then grounded out to end the frame.

"That's not quite the way we drew it up, with them jumping out to that lead right away," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "Carpenter was on his game and some balls found holes and they jumped out to that big lead."

Allen Craig homered in the ninth off Lance Pendleton.

Game Notes

Pujols finished with a .299 average and 99 RBI. It was the first time in his 11-year career that he finished...St. Louis won 10 of the 15 games against the Astros this season...The Cardinals went 45-36 on the road this season...Houston went just 31-50 at home this season...Carpenter won his final three decisions of the season and improved to 8-5 in 19 games against the Astros...Myers had won his previous four starts. He dropped to 6-6 in 20 games against the Cards.






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    Cardinals 8, Astros 0  FinalNov 7 1:30 PM
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    Cardinals 8, Astros 0  FinalSep 28 11:06 PM


  • ST. LOUIS: 8
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    Final

    Sep 28 10:26 PM


  • Allen Craig one-out, solo Home Run (11) to right. Albert Pujols due up.

    Cardinals 8, Astros 0  Top 9, 1 OutSep 28 10:18 PM
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    Cardinals 8, Astros 0  Top 9, 1 OutSep 28 10:18 PM


  • Nick Punto popped out to short to end the inning.

    Cardinals 7, Astros 0  Mid 5Sep 28 9:20 PM


  • Chris Carpenter single to right scored David Freese with two out. On the play, Nick Punto advances to second. Runners on first and second with two outs and Jon Jay due up.

    Cardinals 6, Astros 0  Top 3, 2 OutsSep 28 8:55 PM
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    Cardinals 5, Astros 0  Top 2, 1 OutSep 28 8:35 PM


  • Chris Carpenter struck out on a foul bunt. Runners on first and second with two outs and Jon Jay due up.

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  • Skip Schumaker infield single to short scored Lance Berkman with one out. On the play, David Freese advances to third. Runners on first and third with one out and Nick Punto due up.

    Cardinals 4, Astros 0  Top 1, 1 OutSep 28 8:20 PM


  • David Freese double to left scored Albert Pujols with none out. On the play, Lance Berkman advances to third. Runners on second and third with none out and Yadier Molina due up.

    Cardinals 3, Astros 0  Top 1, 0 OutsSep 28 8:17 PM


  • Lance Berkman single to right scored Allen Craig with none out. On the play, Albert Pujols advances to third. Runners on first and third with none out and David Freese due up.

    Cardinals 2, Astros 0  Top 1, 0 OutsSep 28 8:16 PM


  • Albert Pujols single to left scored Jon Jay with none out. On the play, Allen Craig advances to third. Runners on first and third with none out and Lance Berkman due up.

    Cardinals 1, Astros 0  Top 1, 0 OutsSep 28 8:14 PM


  • ST. LOUIS: 0
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    Top 1, 0 Outs

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