The champs punch back

An injury knocked out the Cards' starter, but they slugged their way to a win

Updated: October 10, 2012, 1:23 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com.

ST. LOUIS -- It was only the second inning. But already, the cold breeze of winter was slamming the St. Louis Cardinals between the eyebrows.

They'd already lost one home game in this National League Division Series that they couldn't afford to lose. So they didn't need to consult any of Tony La Russa's old October binders Monday to know they sure couldn't afford to lose another.

"I guess you could tell yourself that even if you lose, there's always another game," said ...

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