Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/17/12
ST. LOUIS Matt Carpenter arrived at Busch Stadium late Wednesday morning not expecting to see his name in the starting lineup. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has started the same eight players the entire postseason, so he didn't expect him to change things up now. And he didn't. Despite Carpenter's having a perfect 4-for-4 career mark off Giants starter Matt Cain, the role player started the game where he had for each of the previous eight playoff games: the bench. This game didn't play out like the others, though. A knee strain forced Carlos Beltran from the game after just one inning, and Carpenter was sent into right field as his replacement for the top of the second. The next inning, he contributed the eventual game-winning hit with a two-run homer into the seats in right, helping the Cardinals beat the Giants, 3-1, and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NLCS. "Obviously, all season long I've realized what my role is on this team, and I just try to do that to the best of my ability," Carpenter said. "When I get in there, I just try to have quality at-bats and compete and do the things I know I'm capable of doing. "It came out of nowhere. I didn't even realize he had hurt himself and Mike came up to me and told me to grab my glove go to right and the next thing you know I'm in the game." Carpenter hit .294 in 114 games for the Cardinals during the regular season and had 296 at-bats while playing five different positions. The utility man started games at first base, second base, third base, left field and right field and held his own at each spot. But his playing time has decreased significantly since the postseason began. He had just five at-bats, all pinch-hit appearances, before entering the Wednesday's game. The rookie's first at-bat came in the bottom of the third inning after the Giants had just taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning. Leadoff man Jon Jay singled with two outs to extend the inning to Carpenter. It was a rematch of an at-bat from Aug. 8, when Carpenter came through with a two-run, pinch-hit single off Cain in the sixth inning to knock him from the game and give him four hits in four lifetime at-bats against the ace. Carpenter got the best of Cain again Wednesday, battling back from an 0-2 count to turn around a 2-2 slider and deposit it 421 feet away into the seats above the Cardinals bullpen. "It's been tough to get him at bats, but for him to come in a huge spot like that, I'm thinking Beltran goes down, what are we going to do here, and he steps up and gets the job done," said starter Kyle Lohse, who allowed one run in 5 23 innings. "It was awesome to watch. "It speaks a lot about his character to be able to be ready and be the man on the spot. He would probably start for anybody else, but he does a good job coming off the bench. To come in there after I give up the run to bounce back with a two-run inning like that was a huge pickup for myself." Third baseman David Freese said: "He works his tail off and could probably be starting on a lot of teams in this league, but he's glad to be a Cardinal and he comes to the park ready to go better than anybody that I've seen. "Matt Carpenter showed what type of guy he was today. Unfazed. The guy just steps in no matter what position no matter where he's hitting and gets it done." And the night was a little extra special for Carpenter. His parents, Rick and Tammie, made the 600-mile drive from Prosper, Texas, earlier Wednesday and were in the stands to witness a night their family will surely never forget. The Cardinals added an insurance run in the seventh inning and, after a 3-hour, 28-minute rain delay, finished off the Giants to move to within two wins of their second consecutive World Series appearance. Beltran's prognosis was encouraging, and it appears he could return to the starting lineup for Game 4 on Thursday. But if he doesn't, expect Carpenter to be ready. "We take a lot of pride that we have guys that can fill voids when things happen," Carpenter said. "We know that our bench is good and something we have a lot of pride in. "I was just trying to battle. I was just trying to fight and have a quality at-bat and work the count back into my favor and I got a good pitch and put a good swing on it. It was crazy. I can't explain it."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jones: I ‘scream in my pillow’ being at Super Bowl, not in it

Phil Jackson reportedly does not have opt-out until 2017

Byron Scott: D’Angelo Russell’s immaturity ‘at times’ a problem

Kevin Love: Shoulder injury ‘just a stinger’

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Did Clippers reenact Paul Pierce stabbing during pregame intros?

Kobe Bryant gives LeBron James his game-worn Kobe 11s

The most and least improved MLB teams this offseason

Terrell Owens tells Skip Bayless to stop ‘misinforming’ people

8-year-old Panthers fan writes adorable letter to Cam Newton

Donovan McNabb: I did not throw up during Super Bowl loss

Seven teams that must target a quarterback in 2016 NFL draft

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker