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      Cards take 2-1 series lead in NLDS

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chris Carpenter was every bit the postseason ace he's been in the past for the St. Louis Cardinals.

      Taking the mound for only the fourth time in 2012, missing a rib after surgery to cure numbness on his right side, the 37-year-old Carpenter pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning, rookie Pete Kozma delivered a three-run homer, and the defending champion Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 8-0 Wednesday to take a 2-1 lead in their NL division series.

      All in all, quite a damper on the day for a Nationals Park-record 45,017 red-wearing, towel-twirling fans witnessing the first major league postseason game in the nation's capital in 79 years.

      Three relievers finished the shutout for the Cardinals, who can end the best-of-five series in Thursday's Game 4 at Washington.

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