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Cardinals vs. Nationals, 2012 NLDS Game 3: 'I was almost surprised when I looked up at the scoreboard'

The St. Louis Cardinals lead the Washington Nationals, 2-1, in the NLDS, and quite frankly, their fans seem at a loss to explain how it happened.

After needing to win the NL Wild Card game over a seemingly better Atlanta Braves squad to make it to the NLDS, the Cards have put up 20 runs in two games while only allowing four. Although the score said St. Louis shut out the Nationals, 8-0, in a convincing win, blogger Dan Moore of Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos made it clear the gamenever felt that close to him:

I'll take every one of the last 20 runs the St. Louis Cardinals have scored. Especially the eight Wednesday, because even though Chris Carpenter is now 10-2 with an ERA of 2.88 in his postseason career, his scoreless start was so consistently almost-not-scoreless that I was almost surprised when I looked up at the scoreboard, near the end, and saw that it was 6-0.

Nothing really went right for Washington: Carpenter not only shut out the Nats, but also had a pair of base knocks, including a double, as part of St. Louis' 14-hit performance.

That leaves them on the brink of beating the team that had the best record in the National League.

This is a good team, and they're a win in two tries away from another NLCS berth, and that's something they have a chance to do. But I have no idea how, in particular, they might do it.

Thursday's Game 4 could end the series for St. Louis as Washington hopes to stay alive and force a decisive Game 5. Ross Detwiler will toss the first pitch for the Nationals at 4:07 p.m., squaring off against Kyle Lohse.