ST. LOUIS — Three hits and an excruciating loss one day, double-digit runs and a laugher the next. The St. Louis Cardinals have been that type of team all season.
The defending World Series champions tied their NL division series with Washington at one game apiece by doing what they do best — forgetting about what happened the day before and concentrating on the game at hand. They lost the division series and NLCS openers last year, and look how that turned out.
Carlos Beltran hit the last two of the Cardinals’ four homers and St. Louis chased an ineffective Jordan Zimmermann early in a 12-4 rout of the Nationals on Monday.
Daniel Descalso and Allen Craig also went deep to help the Cardinals build a big lead that compensated for a two-inning start from an ailing Jaime Garcia. Craig hit his fifth career postseason homer and scored three times.
Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche hit consecutive homers in the fifth for the Nationals, who head home for the remainder of the best-of-five series. But the NL East champions are without All-Star ace Stephen Strasburg, shut down for the rest of the season early last month to protect his surgically repaired arm.
Garcia was taken out with a shoulder injury and sent for an MRI exam. The left-hander missed two months this season with shoulder fatigue.
Game 3 is Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park, the first postseason contest in the nation’s capital since the original Senators played the New York Giants in the 1933 World Series.
Orioles 3, Yankees 2
BALTIMORE — Sometimes, postseason experience isn’t all that important.
How else to explain the Baltimore Orioles beating the playoff-tested New York Yankees, and rookie Wei-Yin Chen outpitching 40-year-old Andy Pettitte?
With Chen leading the way, the Orioles squeezed out a 3-2 victory Monday night to even their AL division series at one game apiece.
Chris Davis drove in two runs for the wild-card Orioles, who used the same formula that got them into the postseason for the first time in 15 years: a magnificent bullpen and an ability to win tight games. Baltimore was 29-9 in one-run decisions during the regular season and 74-0 when leading after seven innings.
Major league saves leader Jim Johnson, roughed up for five runs in a Game 1 loss, came back to pitch a perfect ninth to close it out.
The rest of the best-of-five series is at Yankee Stadium, beginning with Game 3 on Wednesday. Hiroki Kuroda will start for AL East champion New York against rookie Miguel Gonzalez.