ST. LOUIS — This was supposed to be advantage Dodgers, with their MLB-best rotation ERA and an ideal sequence of backing one former Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke, up against another, Clayton Kershaw, who is poised to add to his hardware collection next month.
But the Cardinals willingly countered with their kids, pitchers seemingly unaware of the enormity of the stage on which they’ve been shining. After stealing a walk-off win on Friday in 13 innings in Game 1, the Cards used rookies to secure 26 of the necessary 27 outs in a 1-0 win in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon.
Michael Wacha, having already helped St. Louis stave off elimination in the National League Division Series, recorded the majority of those outs en route to pitching the Cardinals to a 2-0 advantage in the NL Championship Series. With Jon Jay’s sacrifice fly as his only support, Wacha silenced the Dodgers’ offense for 6 2/3 innings while outdueling arguably the game’s top pitcher.
And so after playing in front of 46,872 at Busch Stadium, the Cards boarded a California-bound flight on the high of their second straight one-run win.
“It shows maturity,” Chris Carpenter said after watching Joe Kelly and now Wacha hold their own against two of baseball’s elite. “Some guys could come into those situations and think, ‘Oh no, I have to face Greinke and Kershaw. We have no shot.’ But instead, they rose to the occasion, went out and did the things that they needed to do to give us a chance to win.”