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Cardinals Vs. Phillies: St. Louis Cardinals Reach NLCS, Rafael Furcal Stars Behind Carpenter

The St. Louis Cardinals’ decision to trade for a questionably healthy Rafael Furcal could have been the most important one they made all season—he was the most important position player behind Chris Carpenter’s shutout, putting together a series of outstanding plays and lacing a leadoff triple to score the only run of the game and push the streaking Cardinals into the NLCS.

Furcal’s eighth-inning robbery of Carlos Ruiz (video here at MLB.com) was one of the most remarkable plays of the series; after the game Furcal told Craig Sager that he knew he had to make the best throw of his career, and he absolutely did it to earn the second out of the inning.

But it was his triple that allowed Carpenter to win the game on his own terms. Followed up immediately by Skip Schumaker, who went 10 pitches into an at-bat before doubling into right-center field, it got the Cardinals on the board before they made their first out—and it turned out to be the only chance they’d get against Roy Halladay, who turned back into Roy Halladay immediately afterward.