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Sanders leads Cards to Game 1 win; Padres ace has broken rib

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ST. LOUIS -- Reggie Sanders, Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals looked every bit like the best team in baseball -- even with a shaky ending.

San Diego played as poorly as its record suggests for most of the day. And now, with the team's best pitcher hurting, the Padres might be overmatched.

Sanders hit a grand slam and set an NL Division Series record with six RBI, Carpenter pitched six scoreless innings before being pulled as a precaution and the Cardinals built a big lead and held off the Padres 8-5 Tuesday in Game 1.

"It's huge," Sanders said. "Let alone getting one RBI in a week, you get six in one day and especially under postseason pressure. It's a great day.

"But it's not over. We've got a long way to go."

Facing a team that won the West despite an 82-80 record, the Cardinals -- who led the majors with 100 wins -- opened an 8-0 cushion in the fifth inning against San Diego ace Jake Peavy. He pitched with an injury that worsened in the third and was taken to a hospital after lasting only 4 1/3 innings.

An MRI showed one broken rib on his right side and the possibility of a second break. A Padres spokesman said the injury would take four to six weeks to heal.

"He felt something on his right side," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He said he felt it during the course of the game."

Peavy thinks he might have bruised his ribs during a celebratory scrum on the field after the Padres clinched the NL West on Wednesday. He said the injury was probably worsened in the third inning, when he caught a spike on the rubber on a wild pitch that didn't even make it to the dirt.

"I thought I had bruised ribs; I never imagined it would be this," Peavy said. "It's weird. It's been a little bothersome but it was nothing we thought would get in my way.

"I knew it was pretty bad when I came out of the game."

Even without Peavy, the pesky Padres weren't done. They scored once in the seventh, added another run in the eighth and then got right back into it in the ninth. San Diego scored three times and loaded the bases with two outs before closer Jason Isringhausen struck out Ramon Hernandez.

"We're playing a tough team," Sanders said. "As you can see, they fought to the last out."

Mark Mulder will oppose San Diego's Pedro Astacio on Thursday in Game 2 of the best-of-5 series.

Jim Edmonds helped St. Louis with a home run, double and single. Eric Young had a pinch-hit homer in the eighth for San Diego and an RBI groundout in the ninth.

Manager Tony La Russa's team won for the fifth time in six NLDS openers. That includes a victory in 1996 when the Cardinals swept the Padres.

The 37-year-old Sanders was on pace for the first 30-homer, 30-steal season of his career before missing 54 games after breaking his right leg in an outfield collision with Edmonds in mid-July. Sanders rediscovered his stroke in the final week of the regular season, driving in 10 runs in the last six games and homering three times in the final four.

Against Peavy, Sanders had both of the key hits. His two-run single off the glove of diving first baseman Mark Sweeney put the Cardinals ahead 4-0 in the third, and his grand slam into the left-field seats on a 3-0 fastball chased Peavy in the fifth.

Carpenter was 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA, the ace the Cardinals lacked in the playoffs last fall when they were swept in the World Series by the Red Sox. But he struggled in the final month, with a 9.14 ERA in his final four outings, and said he lost motivation after the Cardinals clinched the Central with two weeks to spare.

"It feels nice to get zeros and get a win," Carpenter said. "You go out there to execute pitches and give your team a chance to win and I was able to do it all day."

The Padres saw the dominant Carpenter again. He allowed only three singles while benefiting from three double plays from the team that led the majors.

"Our key is to make him throw pitches and get him out of there," San Diego's Ryan Klesko said. "He pitched himself out of a couple of jams."

Carpenter's biggest battle was with the weather. It was an unseasonably warm 84 degrees at game time and 86 when he experienced cramping in his right hand while warming up before the seventh. The Cardinals said dehydration caused the problem and took him out as a precaution.

Carpenter said his fingers started cramping when he put on his batting glove before striking out in the sixth. He also said his hamstrings and calves were cramping.

"It only happened twice," Carpenter said. "But they weren't going to take a chance."

Peavy appeared to be the Padres' best shot at postseason success after going 13-7 with a 2.88 ERA -- only five points behind Carpenter -- and leading the NL with 216 strikeouts. But he couldn't make it through the fifth, his second-shortest outing of the season, and gave up eight runs on eight hits.

The Padres had been planning to pitch Peavy in Game 4 on Sunday in San Diego on regular rest if the series goes that far. Now, the likely starter is Adam Eaton, who had been slotted for Game 5.

The Cardinals got to Peavy immediately. With one out in the first, Edmonds hit his 11th career postseason homer to the opposite field to give St. Louis the lead.

Five straight batters reached safely with one out in the third as the Cardinals scored three more times. A bases-loaded wild pitch by Peavy that didn't even reach the dirt allowed one run to score and Sanders' infield hit drove in two more.

In the fifth, four straight Cardinals reached with one out. Edmonds began the rally with a sharp grounder off Peavy's glove, Albert Pujols singled and Larry Walker walked to set up Sanders' grand slam.

The Padres had 13 hits, but eight came in the last two innings.

"I think anytime you're down eight runs and you end up getting the winning run at the plate, I think that shows a lot of character and heart of the club," Bochy said. "They were battling to the end."

Khalil Greene had a sacrifice fly off Cardinals reliever Brad Thompson in the seventh and Young homered off Randy Flores to start the eighth. Mark Loretta and Brian Giles had RBI singles in the ninth.

Notes

  • Sanders, a career .188 hitter in the postseason coming in, is the third Cardinals player to hit a grand slam in the postseason. Gary Gaetti did it in the 1996 NLCS against the Braves' Greg Maddux and Ken Boyer did it in the 1964 World Series.
  • Four players have had seven RBI in division series play.
  • The Padres were 4-3 against St. Louis this season, one of only four teams with a winning record against the Cardinals.
  • Edmonds has hit seven homers in division series play, second among NL players to Chipper Jones of the Braves, who has eight.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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With six RBI, Reggie Sanders maintains the momentum he gained from a late-season flurry.
 
With six RBI, Reggie Sanders maintains the momentum he gained from a late-season flurry. (Getty Images)
 

Players of the Game
St. Louis

J. Edmonds
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
St. Louis

R. Sanders
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 6
 

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San Diego Padres
Dave Roberts, CF3010001 .333
   a- Eric Young, PH-CF2112000 .500
Ryan Klesko, LF4120110 .500
Mark Loretta, 2B5011002 .200
Brian Giles, RF5021011 .400
Mark Sweeney, 1B21201001.000
   b- Ben Johnson, PH0000000 .000
   c- Robert Fick, PH-1B10101001.000
Ramon Hernandez, C5010016 .200
Khalil Greene, SS3111002 .333
Joe Randa, 3B3000103 .000
Jake Peavy, P2000021 .000
    Clay Hensley, P0000000 .000
    Brian Lawrence, P0000000 .000
   d- Sean Burroughs, PH0000000 .000
   e- Xavier Nady, PH1000011 .000
    Akinori Otsuka, P0000000 .000
    Scott Linebrink, P0000000 .000
   f- Damian Jackson, PH11100001.000
Totals3751354617 
a-homered for Roberts in the 8th
b-announced for Sweeney in the 8th
c-walked for Johnson in the 8th
d-announced for Lawrence in the 7th
e-struck out for Burroughs in the 7th
f-singled for Linebrink in the 9th
Batting
2B - Mark Sweeney (1, Thompson), Khalil Greene (1, Eldred)
HR - Eric Young (1, Flores)
SF - Khalil Greene (1)
RBI - Eric Young 2 (2), Mark Loretta (1), Brian Giles (1), Khalil Greene (1)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Loretta (1), Brian Giles (1)
SB - Brian Giles (1, 2nd base off Eldred/Molina), Damian Jackson (1, 2nd base off Isringhausen/Molina)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Loretta-Greene-Sweeney, Greene-Sweeney
E - Khalil Greene (1, )
San Diego Padres
Jake Peavy (L,0-1) 4.1888332 16.62
Clay Hensley 0.2000100 0.00
Brian Lawrence 1000010 0.00
Akinori Otsuka 1000000 0.00
Scott Linebrink 1200010 0.00
IBB - Pujols by Jake Peavy, by Walker
WP - Jake Peavy (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Peavy 70-44, Clay Hensley 9-4, Brian Lawrence 9-6, Akinori Otsuka 11-6, Scott Linebrink 20-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Peavy 7-2, Clay Hensley 1-1, Brian Lawrence 1-1, Akinori Otsuka 1-2
Batters Faced - Jake Peavy 23, Clay Hensley 3, Brian Lawrence 3, Akinori Otsuka 3, Scott Linebrink 5
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5110002 .200
Jim Edmonds, CF4331000 .750
Albert Pujols, 1B3210100 .333
Larry Walker, RF2100210 .000
Reggie Sanders, LF4126010 .500
    So Taguchi, LF0000000 .000
    Cal Eldred, P0000000 .000
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4000001 .000
Abraham Nunez, 3B3010110 .333
Yadier Molina, C4010012 .250
Chris Carpenter, P3000010 .000
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .000
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    John Mabry, LF10100001.000
Totals338107455 
Batting
2B - Jim Edmonds (1, Peavy)
HR - Jim Edmonds (1, Peavy), Reggie Sanders (1, Peavy)
RBI - Jim Edmonds (1), Reggie Sanders 6 (6)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Eckstein-Grudzielanek-Pujols, Nunez-Pujols, Eckstein-Pujols
E - David Eckstein (1, misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,1-0) 6300330 0.00
Brad Thompson 0.2211000 13.50
Randy Flores 1211021 9.00
Cal Eldred 0.2222100 27.00
Jason Isringhausen 0.2411010 13.50
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 91-57, Brad Thompson 13-8, Randy Flores 21-16, Cal Eldred 23-11, Jason Isringhausen 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 7-6, Cal Eldred 1-1, Jason Isringhausen 1-0
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 22, Brad Thompson 4, Randy Flores 5, Cal Eldred 5, Jason Isringhausen 6
Game Information
Attendance - 52349
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Ed Montague, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Jerry Layne