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Carpenter hits leadoff HR; Cubs respond

Third baseman is 3rd player in Cardinals history to lead off playoff game with a homer

ST. LOUIS -- Leadoff batter Matt Carpenter went deep for a home run and quick Cardinals lead in the bottom of the first inning off Kyle Hendricks in Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Saturday, but the Cubs answered in the top of the second with five unearned runs off left-hander Jaime Garcia. The Cardinals lost the game, 6-3.

The Cubs got to Garcia in a big way in the second inning as the lefty unraveled. Of the five unearned runs, two scored on squeeze bunts plus an RBI single by Dexter Fowler and a two-run homer by Jorge Soler that made it a 5-1 deficit. Garcia botched the first bunt, from Hendricks, and threw the ball away at first base, which put the Cubs in position for the big inning.

Garcia exited before the top of the third due to a stomach virus, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went to Lance Lynn. Lynn, who allowed one run in the third, was slated to start Game 4 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

"I just kind of wanted to see how it looked," Matheny said. "This was [Lynn's] day for a side anyhow, so we could get him in, get him out, maybe get an opportunity to put another bat in there and get us going."

Carpenter hit a 1-2 pitch from Hendricks to straightaway center field, where it landed on the grassy hill beyond the fence. According to Statcast™, it had an exit velocity of 103 mph and was projected to travel 412 feet.

It was the third homer in just two innings of play for the Cardinals. In the eighth inning of their 4-0 victory over Chicago in Game 1, pinch-hitter Tommy Pham hit a solo homer against Jon Lester and fellow rookie Stephen Piscotty took reliever Pedro Strop deep with a two-run shot to ice the game.

It was the third leadoff home run in the postseason in franchise history and the first since Fernando Vina did it in Game 3 of the 2000 NL Division Series at Atlanta. Lou Brock was the first to do it for the franchise, in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series against the Tigers.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Carpenter