In the World Series against a Cubs team that had just won its fourth pennant in five years and owned a mind-boggling .693 winning percentage since the start of the 1906 season, Coombs won another three games, although the victories were by no means easy.
To put Chicago's .693 winning percentage during that five-year stretch into perspective, only three teams in the expansion era (since 1961) have had one season with a winning percentage that high: The 1995 Indians (.694), the '98 Yankees (.704) and the 2001 Mariners (.716).
In Coombs' start in Game 2, the right-hander somehow worked around 21 baserunners to allow only three runs in a complete game. In that start, Coombs walked nine, gave up eight hits, and four others reach base on an error. However, he parceled out those baserunners fairly evenly, held the Cubs to 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, left 14 runners on base and came away with a 9-3 victory.
No other pitcher in postseason history has allowed so many baserunners and somehow worked enough of an escape routine to come away with a win.
National League Championship Series: Cardinals vs. Giants
Interrupted by a rain delay of three hours and 28 minutes, the Cardinals defeated the Giants, 3-1, on Wednesday and took a 2-1 lead in the series.
Kyle Lohse picked up the win, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings. He walked five and and stuck out two while allowing seven hits.
Lohse became the 20th pitcher in postseason history to win a start in which he allowed an average of more than two baserunners per inning. He was the first since Philadelphia's Brett Myers in Game 2 of the 2008 NLCS, and the third Cardinals pitcher to do it. The other two for St Louis: Ray Sadecki (13 baserunners in six innings in Game 1 of the 1964 World Series) and Chuck Finley (11 baserunners in five innings in Game 3 of the 2002 NLCS).
Lohse was the 32nd pitcher in the postseason to win a start that featured a walk-to-strikeout ratio of more than 2:1. Lohse was the first to do it since Livan Hernandez of the D-backs in Game 3 of the 2007 NL Division Series. Lohse was the fourth Cardinals pitcher to do it, joining Jesse Haines (five walks and two strikeouts in Game 7 of the 1926 World Series), Sadecki (five walks and two K's in Game 1 of the '64 Fall Classic) and Finley (three walks, one strikeout in Game 3 of the 2002 NLCS).
Lohse improved to 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three postseason starts this year. He has allowed 15 hits and seven walks in 18 1/3 innings, while striking out 13.
The Cardinals' first two runs came in the third inning, when Matt Carpenter -- who had replaced Carlos Beltran in the second inning -- clubbed a two-run home run. Carpenter was the eighth Cardinals player to begin a postseason game on the bench and later hit a home run.
Carpenter's home run was the 149th all-time for the Cardinals in the postseason, second only to the Yankees' 387. After the Redbirds, the Braves have 144, the Dodgers have 139, and the Red Sox rank fifth, with 138. The Giants have the sixth most, with 111.
The Cardinals improved to 25-14 in postseason Game 3s. The Giants fell to 13-17.
The last time the Cardinals won a Game 3 in a best-of-seven series and did not end up winning the series was in the 2002 NLCS, when they defeated the Giants, 5-4, for their only victory in the series. Dating back to 2006, each of their past four Game 3 victories have meant a best-of-seven series victory ('06 NLCS, '06 World Series, '11 NLCS, '11 World Series).
The last time the Giants lost a Game 3 in a best-of-seven series, they went on to defeat the Rangers in five games to claim the 2010 World Series title.
The Giants' Marco Scutaro went 2-for-5 with a double, giving him three consecutive multihit games. The longest streak of multihit games in the postseason is five, a feat shared by 12 players (most recently, Kevin Youkilis). Before Scutaro, the most recent Giants player to have three consecutive multihit games was Freddy Sanchez in the 2010 postseason. The most recent Giants player to have four consecutive multihit games in the postseason was Will Clark, in 1989.
Jason Motte picked up the save, throwing two scoreless innings. The most recent time a Cardinals pitcher worked at least two innings for a save was in Game 2 of the 2001 NLDS, when Steve Kline pitched two scoreless innings to close out a 4-1 victory over the D-backs.
With Motte working two scoreless innings, Cardinals relievers finished the night with 3 1/3 innings of two-hit, no-run ball. In 37 1/3 innings this postseason, the St. Louis bullpen has allowed 10 runs (eight earned, for a 1.93 ERA). During the regular season, St. Louis' bullpen ERA was 3.90, which ranked ninth in the NL.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.