St. Louis Cardinals grade: C
Adam Wainwright immediately put the Cards at a disadvantage by surrendering extra-base hits to each of the first three opposing batters. His fastball was straight and left up in the zone, and the home team took advantage.
Wainwright never settled down. He allowed two more no-doubt home runs in the third inning and was sent to the showers.
His curveball was pretty filthy, but what does it matter? In the words of TBS broadcaster Dick Stockton, the 2006 hero "just didn't have it." This was the shortest start of his MLB career.
But just when all seemed lost, the bullpen saved the night. A right-handed quintet—Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte—overpowered the free-swinging Nats (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO).
Washington Nationals grade: D
Though Gio Gonzalez looked capable at the onset, he was ultimately done in by the same weakness as Wainwright—poor fastball location. He couldn't get ahead in the count and that inefficiency led to an early exit.
Nationals relievers allowed St. Louis to gradually come back, and then everything imploded in the ninth. Drew Storen, who had been lights out in three previous NLDS appearances, wasn't his usual self.
*In fairness to both pitching staffs, home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez enforced a tight strike zone throughout the game.