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June 23, 2017

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Cardinals beat Giants 3-1, lead series 2-1

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis' Matt Carpenter made the most of a call-up to replace an injured teammate by hitting a two-run homer to help the Cardinals beat the Giants 3-1 on Wednesday, taking a 2-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.

The reigning World Series champions overcame a 3-1/2-hour rain delay in the seventh inning on a day when Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees was called off due to the threat of rain.

Carpenter came into the game to replace slugger Carlos Beltran, who strained his left knee on the basepaths in the first inning.

After San Francisco went ahead 1-0 in the top of the third on Pablo Sandoval's groundout, Carpenter and the Cards responded immediately in the bottom half of the frame.

Jon Jay hit a single with two outs and Carpenter followed with a two-run shot. It was his first at-bat of the series but he had a good career record against San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain, going 4-for-4.

"He's a really good pitcher," Carpenter. "I've had some success. I just go up there and try to battle, get a good pitch to hit."

This hit, on a 2-2 count, soared over the Cardinals bullpen in right field and was estimated at 421 feet.

St. Louis made it 3-1 with a single by Shane Robinson in the seventh, ending the night for Cain, and soon after the tarpaulins were brought out.

Before the break, St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse worked around a season-worst five walks and lasted 5 2-3 innings, then reliever Mitchell Boggs struck out two batters with two runners on base to end the seventh inning.

After the long delay, and with only about a third of the original crowd of 45,850 remaining, Jason Motte closed it out, earning the first two-inning save of his career.

"I was in the clubhouse running around, I've never really had to sit around like that," Motte said. "It was probably the most nervous I've ever been."

Cain lost for the second time this postseason, giving up three runs in 6 1-3 innings. The Giants, who entered the game batting just .217 in the postseason, struggled again, going 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

The loss ended the Giants' five-game road winning streak in the postseason, three of them this year. Game 4 is in St. Louis on Thursday, with Adam Wainwright pitching for the Cardinals. Tim Lincecum will start for the Giants.

"He's a guy we want out there. He's been throwing the ball well," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've got to bounce back."

Beltran's injury will be assessed before the game to see if he can start.

The ALCS game between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees was postponed by bad weather in the Detroit area and the threat of imminent rain which never arrived at the ballpark.

The game was rescheduled for Thursday afternoon, with the Tigers to start Max Scherzer against Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia. Detroit leads the best-of-seven series 3-0. If a Game 5 is required, it will be on Friday.

Under the original schedule, there was a good chance Sabathia would pitch a potential Game 7 on three days' rest if the Yankees got back into the contest. Now, he might be limited to just one start — and New York might need to win four games in four days to advance to the World Series.

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