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Carpenter’s haymaker sends Kershaw reeling again

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error This was an encounter that flashed back to an epic five-minute, 11-pitch at-bat between the same two in Game 6 of last October’s NL Championship Series, which also ended with a Carpenter double and started a four-run rally in the third inning that marked the beginning of the end for Kershaw and the Dodgers’ playoff run.Maybe this rematch set the tone for the rest of the series — the Cardinals, and Carpenter, never feel backed into a corner.“You know, there was a moment during that at-bat when I was kind of feeling the same kind of emotions I was having last year,” said Carpenter. “It was a very similar thing. Very similar at-bat. “With (Kershaw), he’s got a fastball that’s anywhere between 94 and 96 (mph), so you’ve got to be on time with that. When I face him, I just try to be aggressive and try to be on time. There’s not a lot of success in (trying to hit) his slider and curveball, especially from a left-hander, so you got to do a good job of trying to lay off that one.“I can’t tell you why I’ve been able to have some success against him, because it’s not that easy. I don’t enjoy facing him. It’s the postseason, crazy things happen.” It’s not as if Carpenter was trying to limit the damage this time around.Down 0 and 2 in the count — fouling off the first pitch, then swinging and missing on the next — Carpenter fouled another pitch off. He laid off two sliders for balls. He fouled off two more. Then on a pitch down and in, he sent Matt Kemp to the right-field wall, allowing Yadier Molina, Matt Adams and Jon Jay to score to push the Cardinals ahead 7-6 and send Kershaw out.St. Louis’ eight-run seventh inning was capped off two batters later by Matt Holiday’s home run for a 10-6 advantage.And that was the second time in Friday’s game that Carpenter proved Kershaw wasn’t all invincible. Carpenter’s solo homer against him in the sixth inning ended a string of 16 consecutive batters that Kershaw had set down between Randal Grichuk’s first-inning homer and one out in the sixth.“I just enjoy competing in those moments,” said Carpenter. “He’s a competitive guy, I would like to feel that I’m a competitive guy and when I get in those at-bats versus him, I just try to fight.”Dodgers manager Don Mattingly acknowledged that Kershaw struck out the leadoff man Carpenter to start the game, but credited the career .293 hitter, who was 20 points below that average this season, as being “a tough out … we give him credit. He fights. But we’re not going to give in to that matchup.”Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Carpenter “sets the tone for the offense” with his grit.“He leaves it all out there,” said Matheny, “and takes pride in every at-bat. He doesn’t just turn it on and off. Certain guys in certain situations just step up in the process.“He puts his nose in there and fights to the end.”Comparing the eight-pitch encounter to the 11-pitch battle a year ago, Matheny added: “I imagine this one may be talked about awhile, too.”center_img If the judges’ cards show that St. Louis got the 10-9 decision over the Dodgers in round one of the National League Division Series, credit Matt Carpenter with delivering the punch that knocked all the hot wind out of Dodger Stadium.But it’s not as if Clayton Kershaw, or the Dodgers, were blindsided or anything by it.Carpenter’s eight-pitch faceoff in the seventh inning Friday against the likely repeat Cy Young Award winner ended with a crushing bases-loaded double off the base of the right-field wall, scoring three runs and bringing the Cardinals all the way back from what was already deemed an insurmountable five-run deficit at one point, based on Kershaw’s history.The blow may not have sent Kershaw directly to the showers, but he was reeling again, in the Dodgers’ dugout, trying to find his equilibrium.last_img read more

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