NLDS Game 3: St. Louis spoils Washington’s playoff party, takes series lead with 8-0 rout

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Score and situation: The St. Louis Cardinals recorded an 8-0 blowout victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon to take a two games to one lead in the NLDS while winning the first postseason baseball game in D.C. since 1933.

Leading lads: Two days after scoring 12 runs at Busch Stadium in a Game 2 win, the Cardinals offense staged another outburst at Nationals Park. Pete Kozma hit a big homer, David Freese hit two of the team's five doubles and Matt Holliday went 3 for 5 with two RBIs. It was more than enough for starter Chris Carpenter, who gave up seven hits and two walks but was also able to strand eight runners in 5 2/3 innings of work. The Cardinals bullpen was great, allowing only one walk and no hits over 3 1/3.

Head hangers:  Edwin Jackson had a chance to hush the complaints over the Stephen Strasburg shutdown, but instead he and the Nationals bullpen only added to them. Jackson gave up four runs and eight hits over five innings while the next three relievers also surrendered at least one run. Bryce Harper's use of red contacts didn't help his at-bats any as he went 0 for 5 to drop his postseason batting average to .067.  Michael Morse went 0 for 4, leaving three runners in scoring position.

Key play: Kozma's three-run homer off Jackson in the top of the second inning gave St. Louis a 4-0 lead and deflated a Washington crowd that had come ready to party.

Interesting stat: The Cardinals are now 13-3 in Chris Carpenter's postseason starts. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that's history's highest winning percentage for any pitcher with a minimum of 10 starts.

What they'll be talking about: If you thought we heard a lot about the Strasburg shutdown before the ace was actually shut down, just wait until the Nationals lose another game and head to the golf course. To delay that discussion, the Nationals offense will have to produce after scoring just seven runs over its first three games. A lot of overnight talk will likely be directed at Davey Johnson's lineup for Game 4 as the Nationals manager seeks any sort of production from his offense.

What's next: The Nats face elimination in Thursday's Game 4, which is scheduled at Nationals Park for 4:07 p.m. ET. Kyle Lohse gets the nod for the Cardinals after winning last Friday's wild-card game while Ross Detwiler is charged with saving the season for Washington.

Make sure all your bases are covered this postseason ...
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