It took the St. Louis Cardinals one inning -- the first inning -- to put enough runs on the board to down the Milwaukee Brewers and take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS on Wednesday night. After Chris Carpenter made it out of the top of the first unscathed, Yovani Gallardo took the mound for the Brewers and stumbled right out of the gate, giving the Cardinals all the breathing room they needed to take Game 3 of the NLCS.
So what happened to the Brewers' ace in the first? Manager Ron Roenicke opined on the matter after the game. In response to a question about whether Gallardo was rattled, Roenicke had the following to say:
Yeah, I think he lost his command there, I don't know what the reason was. First batter he left the curveball up to Furcal to give up the base hit, and Jay's ball that fell in was a decent pitch fastball in. Pujols hit a great pitch: Nice curveball, down in the zone, and he drives it to left center. Then after that I thought Yo lost his command. Maybe it was because he was throwing some pretty good pitches and they were hitting them? I don't know. May have started to try to paint too much, but his command did get off there.
No matter the cause, something was off, and that something was all the Cardinals needed. Though Carpenter wasn't perfect -- the Cardinals' ace gave up three runs in five innings of work -- the St. Louis bullpen was. As Jeff Sullivan noted, the bullpen saw 12 batters, and sat all 12 down while clinging to a one-run lead.
The end result was a 4-3 win and 2-1 series advantage for the Cardinals. The Cards and Brewers get back at it in St. Louis again on Thursday in Game 4 of the NLCS.