Stormy weather sets up double shot of Game 4s

Stormy weather sets up double shot of Game 4s

Stormy weather sets up double shot of Game 4s
Mother Nature proved she really can do it all Wednesday night, bossing baseball's postseason around like a boardroom power broker, first washing out a game to leave one series hanging out to dry, then putting the other series in timeout for hours before it was sent to bed.

Rains hit both sites of baseball's postseason doubleheader hard, delaying by about 3 1/2 hours the Cardinals' 3-1 victory in St. Louis to take an edge in the National League Championship Series while postponing until Thursday the Tigers' attempt to close it out in Detroit against the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

A delay before Game 1 of the Yankees' Division Series matchup in Baltimore was the first of three postseason weather stoppages prior to Wednesday's rainout in Detroit and long night in St. Louis, and Mother Nature really got her hacks in on this night.

NLCS

The Cardinals' Jason Motte closed out the one that eventually ran through the raindrops, providing two innings of heat to give the Redbirds a 2-1 advantage in the NLCS. It amounted to a seven-hour battle with the Giants, and Motte knew during the rain delay he might have to double up his normal workload to finish it off.

"We're sitting here and someone was like, 'You got two innings in you?'" Motte said. "I said, 'Sure, if they tell me to.'"

They did, and he did, and with Motte's effort putting Wednesday's rainy day behind us, another doubleheader awaits on Thursday.

ALCS

It'll begin with a second attempt at Game 4 in Detroit, with the Yankees' CC Sabathia still on the job to try and keep the series going against Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer in a 4 p.m. ET start on TBS. Then, the Cardinals will host the Giants in their Game 4 of the NLCS at 8 p.m. ET on FOX, with Adam Wainwright on the mound for St. Louis and Tim Lincecum making his first start of this postseason.

Both cities have showers in the forecast for Thursday as well, so officials no doubt will be taking a glimpse at the radar map while preparing for first pitches, given Wednesday's proactive and reactive responses to storms in two different spots in the Midwest.

Had both LCS matchups been rained out Wednesday, it would have been a first since the LCS rounds were pushed a little deeper into October with the advent of the Division Series round in 1995. The ALCS washout was the eighth postponement of an LCS game since '95 -- the Tigers remember the previous one because it was their meeting with the Rangers in Game 2 of last year's ALCS -- but none of those others had been accompanied by weather issues in the other LCS.

Before the anticipated rain arrived in St. Louis, it was all about the Cardinals' right fielders. First, Carlos Beltran exited the game in the bottom of the first with a left knee injury. Then, Matt Carpenter replaces him and does what Beltran does by hitting a postseason homer, a two-run shot off Matt Cain that wound up being the difference and moved him to 5-for-5 lifetime against the Giants ace. Then, after some lineup shifting, Shane Robinson worked an RBI groundout out of Cain, who then exited the game just as the showers began.

But it was Carpenter's blast that rang the loudest, as he stepped off the bench and into the spotlight.

"Matt Carpenter showed what type of guy he was today, unfazed," David Freese said.

After the long delay one out before the end of the seventh -- beer and other concessions at Busch Stadium doing well with the captive audience, no doubt -- both bullpens kept the score where it was. That left the Cardinals in an advantageous position, being that 16 of the last 21 teams to take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS have advanced to the World Series, and they're right back at it at home in Game 4.

The Giants put the worst-kept secret of the postseason to rest by announcing they'll turn to Lincecum as they look to even the series.

"Yeah, Tim is starting tomorrow," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said plainly as he began his postgame comments Wednesday.

After being left out of the rotation for the Division Series and elevated to TBD status for the LCS, Lincecum's assignment comes after 8 1/3 innings of stellar pitching in relief, allowing one earned run while striking out nine.

In Wainwright, the Giants will be facing a right-hander who missed the Cardinals' 2011 run to the World Series, started off the 2012 postseason with a bang in Game 1 but then followed with a dud in Game 5 against the Nationals.

The ALCS rainout, meanwhile, was called about 90 minutes after the scheduled first pitch. It followed a similar path as last year's Game 6 of the World Series in St. Louis, which was postponed with no rain at game time.

Before the game was postponed "in an effort to preserve the integrity of an uninterrupted full nine-inning game," according to the Major League Baseball release, the Yankees were making plenty of news, in typical fashion.

Shortstop Derek Jeter, the team announced, will be opting for surgery on his fractured left ankle, which puts his recovery at 5-6 months. Also, the Yankees' posted lineup once again didn't include Alex Rodriguez, and the third baseman made it clear he feels he belongs in it.

"I've played this game for a long time," he said, "and bottom line is, any time I'm in any lineup, I think that lineup is better."

Among other things, the Game 4 postponement means Sabathia would not be available to start a Game 7, if it got that far.

"I'm not thinking that far ahead," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. "Let's just worry about tomorrow. If we take care of business tomorrow then we can worry about the next day. I want to be in a position to do that."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.