Cards blank Nats to take 2-1 series lead

Chris Carpenter continued his postseason dominance and Pete Kozma hit a three-run homer as the St. Louis Cardinals spoiled the first playoff game in the nation's capital in 79 years with an 8-0 win over the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of their National League Division Series.

Wednesday's contest marked the first playoff game in Washington, D.C., since the Washington Senators lost to the New York Giants at Griffith Stadium on Oct. 7, 1933.

Carpenter (1-0) scattered seven hits and two walks over 5 2/3-scoreless innings. He improved his postseason record to 10-2 in 16 career starts.

Matt Holliday added two RBI, while Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and Daniel Descalso each knocked in a run for the Cardinals, who hold a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five series and can move on to the NLCS with a victory in Thursday's Game 4.

"We still have to win one more and that will be very difficult. They have a very good team and we're playing in their park," Holliday said. "While this is a good win, we still have some work to do."

Edwin Jackson (0-1) was touched for four runs on eight hits and a walk through five full frames to take the loss for Washington, which went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

"He just made bad pitches," Washington manager Davey Johnson said of Jackson. "Talked to (catcher Kurt) Suzuki, he wasn't hitting his spots."

The Cardinals jumped on top in their first at-bat when Holliday hit a two-out single and rounded the bases on Craig's double down the third-base line.

After the Nationals left the tying run on third base in the bottom of the first inning, St. Louis added to its lead in the second as David Freese and Descalso led off the frame with a double and a single, respectively, before Kozma hammered a ball over the left-field wall for a 4-0 advantage.

The Cardinals pulled further away in the sixth inning as Molina was hit on the arm by new pitcher Craig Stammen to start the frame, advanced to third on Freese's double off the wall in right field and raced home on a Descalso sacrifice fly to right.

Freese moved to third on the play, but he was stranded there when Stammen fanned Kozma and Carpenter.

Washington, meanwhile, failed to cut into its deficit by leaving at least one runner in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth innings.

The Nationals' best chance to put a run on the board came in the fifth, loading the bases with two outs on walks by Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche around a Ryan Zimmerman base hit.

But Michael Morse flied out to right field to keep Washington scoreless.

Carpenter was replaced by Trevor Rosenthal after a two-out single by pinch- hitter Steve Lombardozzi placed runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth, and the reliever induced a foul out towards the first-base side by Werth to end the inning.

The Cardinals finalized the scoring over the next two frames when Molina worked a bases-loaded walk off Christian Garcia in the seventh inning and Jon Jay singled and Carlos Beltran hit a ground-rule double before both came home on Holliday's base hit through the left side of the infield off Ryan Mattheus in the eighth.

Fernando Salas and Joe Kelly each worked a scoreless inning for St. Louis to preserve the shutout.

Game Notes

St. Louis improved to 24-14 all time in postseason Game 3s ... Carpenter was making just his fourth start of the season following offseason arm surgery. It was his first win ... Kozma hit his first career postseason home run ... The Cardinals hit 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.