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First things first for Cardinals

Offense gets on the board early -- again -- and bullpen finishes it for 2-1 NLCS lead

Updated: October 13, 2011, 4:26 AM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

ST. LOUIS -- He's been leading off in the big leagues for 12 years now. And along the way, Rafael Furcal has come to notice something:

"When you score in the first inning," he said Wednesday night, "you've got a better chance to win the game."

All right, so we'll grant you that might not be one of those advanced sabermetric concepts that took a team of MIT graduates a decade of number-crunching to compute. But the bottom line is, Rafael Furcal is onto something here.

And ...

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