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Cardinals Bullpen Clutch in Game 1 Win: A Fan's Thoughts

Yahoo Contributor Network

The St. Louis Cardinals took Game 1 of the 2012 National League Championship Series on the road Sunday night. The Cardinals did all of their scoring in the first four innings in a 6-4 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Carlos Beltran homered for the fourteenth time in his remarkable postseason career and the duo of Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma, heroes in Washington Friday night, struck again Sunday. Descalso had two hits and scored a run while Kozma chipped in with an RBI double and a stolen base.

David Freese, no stranger to postseason feats of strength, hit a two-run home run in the 2nd inning to put the Cardinals on the board.

The real stars for the Cardinals, though, were the relief pitchers. For the second straight playoff game manager Mike Matheny had to pull his starter before the end of the 4th inning. Lance Lynn started Sunday but couldn't deal with the 6-0 lead his teammates handed him.

Matheny used six relievers and they did a great job. The bullpen totaled five and a third innings and allowed no runs on just two hits. Joe Kelly got a big out to end the Giants four-run 4th inning. Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless 6th inning.

The trio of Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte covered the final nine outs with little drama. Mujica struck out the side in the 7th inning and was awarded the win.

As a fan what concerns me is that the starting pitchers are scuffling for St. Louis. The team has been fortunate that they could win both Game 5 against the Washington Nationals Friday and tonight's NLCS Game 1 with the starting pitchers covering just six of the 18 innings.

It makes me feel better that postseason stud Chris Carpenter is going for St. Louis tomorrow night. Carpenter has won more postseason games (10) than any other St. Louis pitcher. I love watching Carpenter compete, and I am sure he'll give Cardinals fans a great effort Monday night.

A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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