ST. LOUIS — On Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals were practically begging for runs in a fruitless endeavor that ended with a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
On Monday, there was no such problem as the Cardinals banged out three doubles, a triple and four home runs among their 13 hits in a 12-4 drubbing of the Nats that knotted the series at one game apiece as it heads to the nation's capital for Game 3 at 12:07 p.m. Wednesday.
"Something we have done good this year is, after tough losses, we have been able to come back and play good baseball --check that off and move on," said Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran, who led the barrage with two homers and three RBIs. "Today was a good example of that.
"At the same time, we felt as a team that today was a must-win for us. I think we did a good job."
Beltran said the offensive extravaganza, on the heels of such a frustrating defeat, is a normal occurrence.
"That's baseball," he said. "Some days, you're going to be able to come through offensively."
The Cardinals' 12 runs matched their franchise-high for a NLDS game. They defeated Arizona 12-2 in Game 1 on Oct. 1, 2002.
Beltran's home runs were against left-handers. He hit a solo blast to left in the sixth against Mike Gonzalez and a two-run shot off the facade of the second deck in left in the eighth against Sean Burnett. Combined, the home runs were measured at 880 feet.
"That's something he's done all year --just put the team on his back," said the Cardinals' Allen Craig, who homered in the third against Jordan Zimmermann and was 3-for-5. "He's capable of that every night. To see him swinging the bat really well is awesome."
It was Beltran's second two-homer outburst in a NL Division Series. He also connected twice for the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the NLDS against Atlanta on Oct. 11, 2004, at Turner Field.
Beltran is batting .385 (15-for-39) with six home runs and 13 RBIs in 10 career NLDS games. In NL Championship Series, Beltran is batting .353 (18-for-51) with seven homers and nine RBIs.
Daniel Descalso also homered for the Cardinals and was 2-for-4, and Jon Jay and Yadier Molina added two hits apiece. Matt Holliday was the only regular without a hit, although he walked and scored in a four-run eighth.
"We take a lot of pride in what we do as an offense," Craig said. "We feel like when we get things going, we can carry the team. As you saw tonight, we put a lot of good swings on balls and really drove the ball. It was a lot of fun."
Craig said the Cardinals try to take each game individually and forget about what might have been a poor performance the previous day.
"That's kind of been the way we've gone about it all season --kind of take it one day at a time," Craig said. "It sounds like a cliche, but it's really worked for our team. Just forget what happened yesterday and worry about the present.
"We put a really good effort out there today. Everybody contributed. Everybody had great at-bats up and down the lineup. When we've got everybody going, it's a lot of fun."
Descalso has strung together several quality at-bats in the first two games of the series. He was robbed of a homer in Game 1 by Nats right fielder Jayson Werth, and after his fourth-inning homer Monday against Craig Stammen, Descalso lined out to deep right in the ninth against Burnett.
"I'm seeing the ball good," said Descalso, who batted just .227 with four homers in the regular season. "I've been taking good swings, I think, for the better part of the last month. It's nice to put some good at-bats together."
Particularly for the team.
"That's how this game goes," Descalso said. "You can get shut out one day and score 12 the next day. That's why you forget about what happened yesterday and you come out here and today's a new day ... We had great at-bats up and down the order today, and that's all you can ask for."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.