Cardinals Vs. Dodgers: St. Louis Regains Wild Card Lead With 5-2 Win

The St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen comes through in a 5-2 extra innings win vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving them sole possession of the second NL Wild Card spot.

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16 Total Updates since September 13, 2012
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Chris Carpenter Injury: Former Ace To Pitch On Friday

The St. Louis Cardinals are looking for any slight edge they can get int he midst of a race for the final NL playoff spot, and the return of a former ace could be that edge. Chris Carpenter, who last pitched in the Major Leagues late last year, is expected to return on Friday against the Chicago Cubs:

Carpenter has missed all of this season after surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Last season he was 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA. He was able to throw four simulated games recently without incident. If effective, Carpenter can get St. Louis into the postseason and beyond.

Carpenter has been a postseason mainstay for St. Louis with a 9-2 career record. That includes a 6-0 record during the Cardinals 2006 and 2011 World Series championships.

For more coverage of the Cardinals, head over to Viva El Birdos. For all your St. Louis sports news, stay updated at SB Nation St. Louis. Head over to Baseball Nation for more on the Major Leagues.

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St. Louis Cardinals Top Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2, Regain Wild Card Lead

The St. Louis Cardinals' Wild Card lead had vanished Sunday morning, after Jason Motte's blown save on Saturday night led to an in-series tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sunday, in the 12th inning, it came back decisively on a Jon Jay double into the right field gap. That scored Matt Carpenter, and RBI from Allen Craig and Yadier Molina drove the score to 5-2, which was, finally, more than enough for Jason Motte.

Craig, 2-6 with a double and two RBI, was the offensive hero of the afternoon, but Adam Wainwright's pitching performance--six two-run innings, after an ugly start to his September--also deserves mention. As does Yadier Molina's usual impressiveness on offense and defense: He went 0-2 with three walks on offense and caught two baserunners stealing, including Dee Gordon for the second time in the series.

But the individual statistics don't much matter Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals' weakest links--their bullpen, their hitting in extra innings, all of that--came through when they needed to, and their 2012 heroes continued their heroics, and the Cardinals won, taking a one-game lead in the Wild Card race with them out of Los Angeles.

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Clayton Kershaw Injury, A Potential Season-Ender, Changes Sunday's Cardinals Vs. Dodgers Matchup

The St. Louis Cardinals dodged one of the best pitchers in baseball ahead of Sunday's series finale at the Los Angeles Dodgers, but nobody was rooting for the Cardinals' odds to improve in this way, with what appars to be a season-ending Clayton Kershaw injury. Kershaw's left the team to be examined for a possible torn labrum in his hip, ending his 2012 season and terrifying a lot of Dodgers fans who fail to read past "torn labrum" in all the news reports.

Kershaw, 24, leads the National League with 206 strikeouts and 207 innings pitched; his 12-9 win-loss record severely understates his effectiveness, and overstates the difference between this season and his Cy Young award-winning 2011, in which he went 21-5. He was easily among baseball's best pitchers again in 2012.

In his place the Dodgers will send Stephen Fife to make his fourth start of the season against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. The 25-year-old has a 2.16 ERA in his first three, though his peripherals don't exactly support that. In AAA Albuquerque, he's 11-7 with a PCL-inflated ERA of 4.66 after coming over from Boston in last season's convoluted Erik Bedard trade.

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