Rookie Michael Wacha pitched seven scoreless innings as the St. Louis Cardinals advanced to Major League Baseball’s World Series with a 9-0 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
The Cardinals, the 2011 World Series champions, last night won the best-of-seven series four games to two. The Boston Red Sox can clinch the American League spot in the World Series with a win today against the Detroit Tigers.
Wacha, 22, who was voted the series’ Most Valuable Player, allowed two hits and struck out five before he was relieved by Carlos Martinez, who pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts. Trevor Rosenthal struck out one in the ninth.
“Every time they put up nine runs for me, it makes my job easier,” Wacha (2-0) said in a televised interview. “You can’t let the moment get too big for you.”
Wacha allowed five hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings in the Cardinals’ 1-0 victory against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the series.
“He’s a warrior, he’s a bulldog,” said St. Louis second baseman Matt Carpenter.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who led the league during the regular season with an earned run average of 1.83, gave up seven runs on 10 hits in four innings.
“Clayton Kershaw is as good a pitcher as you’re going to face,” said Carpenter, who scored on Carlos Beltran’s single in the third inning and hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth to send home Shane Robinson.
Beltran and Robinson each drove in two runs for the host Cardinals, who had a four-run third inning and a five-run fifth at Busch Stadium.
“Wacha has been great for us,” Beltran said in a televised interview. “Wacha has been a big part of the success of this team.”
The Cardinals are seeking their 12th championship in 19 trips to the best-of-seven World Series, which begins Oct. 23 at the home ballpark of the American League champion.
“I can’t even get my head around what went on here,” said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the series was disappointing.
“It’s probably not the time to think about ways you could improve,” Mattingly said. “That’s for the winter.”
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