ST. LOUIS —
“He’d have been the guy that opened the series.”
Garcia was taken out with a shoulder injury and sent for an MRI exam. The left-hander missed two months this season with shoulder fatigue.
“It just wasn’t right the whole time. I had to come out of the game,” Garcia said. “I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know when it happened.
“I’m just hoping it’s not too bad, but at the same time you’ve just got to wait and see how it goes.”
Game 3 is Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park, the first postseason contest in the nation’s capital since the original Senators played the New York Giants in the 1933 World Series. Edwin Jackson starts for Washington against longtime Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, who made only three starts during the regular season because of injury.
“Today, for us, was a must-win game,” Beltran said.
The Cardinals seem to live for those. They lost the division series and NLCS openers last fall, then finished strong in the World Series after spotting Texas a 3-2 lead.
So, they’re on familiar ground. And once again, as a wild card.
“We knew how big this game was for us,” center fielder Jon Jay said. “We’ve seen it all year — when we are able to do that, we are pretty dangerous.”
After the Nationals rallied late to win the opener 3-2, there were no lineup changes in Game 2 — just a lot more clutch hitting from players accustomed to October pressure.
Beltran homered twice in the postseason for the third time in his career, connecting in the sixth off Mike Gonzalez and eighth off Sean Burnett. Jay had two hits and three RBIs, plus an outstanding catch at the center-field wall to deprive Danny Espinosa of extra bases in the sixth.