Cardinals rout Nationals 12-4, tie NLDS 1-all

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 2:32 am •  Published: October 9, 2012
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"Having E-Jax on the bump is going to be great for us," Nationals 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper said. "He's unbelievable in the postseason, unbelievable in the playoffs. The Cardinals know that.

"Facing Carpenter is going to be tough for us but playing at home will be a lot of fun."

Beltran homered twice in the postseason for the third time in his career, connecting in the sixth off Mike Gonzalez and eighth off Sean Burnett. Jon Jay had two hits and three RBIs, plus an outstanding catch at the center-field wall to deprive Danny Espinosa of extra bases in the sixth.

St. Louis was 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position during Game 1 and totaled just three hits, but the Cardinals had five hits in a four-run second Monday. Descalso hit his first postseason homer in the fourth, a day after getting robbed by Werth's leaping catch at the right-field wall. Beltran's drive off Gonzalez in the sixth banged off the facade in the third deck in left, estimated at 444 feet.

"I hope I never see this offense again," Johnson said in the postgame interview room.

Shadows creeped past the pitcher's mound around the third inning and didn't seem to be as big of an issue in Game 2, which started 1½ hours later than the opener. Both teams had issues with the playing conditions after the opener.

Late last season, after complaints from Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman, the Cardinals said they'd try not to schedule late afternoon games that might be affected.

Harper went 1 for 5 and struck out four times. He also was thrown out at third base on an ill-advised attempt to advance. He's 1 for 10 in the series with six strikeouts.

"Do I look overanxious? You think so?" Harper said to a reporter. "Maybe you should be a hitting coach."

Lance Lynn, an 18-game winner who would likely replace Garcia in the rotation, struck out five in a three-inning stint marred by the consecutive homers.

St. Louis opened the second with four straight hits, singles by Craig and Yadier Molina that set the table followed by an RBI double from Freese and a run-scoring single from Descalso. After the Cardinals went down in order in the first, seven of their next 11 hitters reached safely.

"They have a great lineup," Zimmermann said. "You get a few guys out and then you've got Beltran, (David) Freese and it never stops. You have to make your pitches and I wasn't able to do that tonight."

NOTES: Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook, rehabbing from a pulled oblique, will leave the team for a few days to be with his wife, due to deliver the couple's fourth child. GM John Mozeliak said it's "not likely" that Westbrook, a 13-game winner, will be able to pitch this fall. ... Beltran has 13 career postseason homers. His last two-homer game in the postseason was Oct. 15, 2006, with the Mets against St. Louis in the NLCS. ... The Cardinals matched the franchise high for runs in a division series game. They also scored 12 in 2002 against Arizona.

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