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St. Louis Cardinals lead San Francisco Giants 2-1 as rain looms in Game 3

The St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants scramble to get Game 3 of the NLCS in before the downpour begins.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports - Presswire

Matt Carpenter made 30 starts at first base, 22 at third base, 13 in the outfield, and two at second base in 2012. He gave the St. Louis Cardinals insurance for Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, and David Freese, and they took full advantage of it. So it wasn't surprising to see Carlos Beltran leave a game with a lingering injury, and it wasn't surprising to see the Cardinals put their uneasy fifth outfielder on the spot in the NLCS, but it was certainly nice to see him homer off Matt Cain to put the score at 2-1.

It was the second bullet the Cardinals dodged this afternoon. Kyle Lohse allowed 10 baserunners through five innings and allowed just one of them to score. Then, with 93 pitches, Mike Matheny left him in to hit for himself in the bottom of the inning.

We're all of one year removed from the 2011 NLCS, in which even Chris Carpenter wasn't allowed past the fifth inning, so this probably feels a little off to you. Five innings isn't even an especially abbreviated start; he could have left having retained his ace credentials in the eyes of the kind of people who care about that designation. But Matheny left him in, afraid, maybe, of the rain delay, and—well, it didn't quite keep him from having to burn Trevor Rosenthal. But it took a Matt Cain single to do it.