Chris Carpenter started only three games during the regular season, but the Cardinals' erstwhile ace pitched well in those three starts and earned a spot in the postseason rotation.
But after being handed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Carpenter struggled a bit in his first October action since beating the Rangers in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.
Jason Werth led off with a line-drive single into center field. Bryce Harper came up next, and took a mighty uppercut that sent a fly ball high into right field. Up in the booth, Bob Costas began his home-run call with a way back! ... but Harper actually just missed it; Carlos Beltran read it better than Costas, and caught the ball a few feet shy of the warning track.
Ryan Zimmermann followed with a weak grounder to third base, where David Freese ...
.... foozled it.
But Carpenter recovered nicely, with a couple of ground balls from the next two batters to close out the inning with no real damage, aside from a slightly elevated pitch count (25).
Heading into the second inning, it's still Cardinals 1, Nationals 0.