The Chris Carpenter postseason experience is usually a little less nerve-racking than it proved on Wednesday, but against the odds the St. Louis Cardinals starter escaped his fourth start of the 2012 season with five shutout inning against the Washington Nationals. Eight baserunners reached for the Nationals, but with two outs in the first and the fifth Carpenter faced down the dangerous Michael Morse and retired him to end the thread. In the first Morse struck out on the first solid cutter Carpenter'd thrown all inning. In the fifth, with three of those eight on base following a full-count walk to Adam LaRoche, Carpenter induced a short fly ball to Morse to end the inning.
Carpenter, 9-2 in his postseason career, didn't have his best stuff on Wednesday, but he escaped every time. Edwin Jackson didn't—in the second inning, with runners on the corners and the light-hitting Pete Kozma up, he allowed a booming three-run homer to push St. Louis's early lead to 4-0, where it stands through five. Jackson left after five, and after 89 pitches it's likely the Cardinals will go to the bullpen as well.
But as unconventional and unrepeatable as their veteran ace's outing was, they have to be happy with the five innings they got from Chris Carpenter.