Chris Carpenter pitched his best game of the season, throwing a two-hitter and striking out 11, and the St. Louis Cardinals benefited from an extra-innings loss by the Atlanta Braves to clinch an incredibly improbable spot in the playoffs. After the Cardinals dropped five early runs on the Astros and held on without issue they stuck around the Minute Maid clubhouse to watch the Phillies take a 13-inning win from the Braves on late-innings heroics from former Astro Hunter Pence.
In other words: All is forgiven about 2005, at least for this morning. Carpenter's 11 strikeouts earned him his 11th win of the season and left him tops in the National League in innings pitched.
The Cardinals will start their improbable postseason run in Philadelphia Saturday, October 1, where the Phillies will very suddenly stop being the Cardinals' guardian angels. Kyle Lohse is set to face off against Roy Halladay, if things progress as expected. That sounds like an improbable matchup, but it's no more probable than the Cardinals' incredible September playoff run.