Death. Salvador Perez Jersey . Taxes. And the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. St. Louis eyes its second straight World Series appearance and its third in the last four years when it kicks off the best-of-seven NLCS versus the San Francisco Giants on Saturday at Busch Stadium. While the Cardinals are in this round for the fourth straight year and the ninth time since 2000, the Giants are certainly no strangers either and are back in the NLCS for the third time in the last five years. In fact, it will be the fifth straight year that one of these teams will represent the National League in the Fall Classic. The Giants won the 2010 World Series, the Cardinals won it in 2011, the Giants did it again in 2012 and the Cardinals were in the 2013 World Series. San Francisco defeated the Cards in the NLCS in 2012 en route to its title. Since the wild card format came into play in 1995, more NLCS have been played with either the Giants, Cardinals or both (11 times) than not (9 times). St. Louis, which won the NL Central with a 90-72 mark, made quick work of the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, defeating all-world left- hander Clayton Kershaw twice in the series. The Cardinals erupted for eight runs in the seventh inning of Game 1 to pull out a win over Kershaw, before outlasting him in the Game 4 clincher, as Matt Adams three-run homer in the seventh propelled them to a 3-2 win. Kershaw had actually held St. Louis to just one run over six scoreless innings before it unraveled in the seventh. Amazingly, the Cardinals did not have the lead entering the seventh inning in any of the four games. You look at what these guys have been able to do, you take a Matt Adams and see his track record, and even though he didnt throw up huge power numbers this year, he has in the past and can, said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. Nobody put up big power numbers for the Cardinals this season, as they ranked last in the NL with just 105 home runs. That hasnt been the case this postseason, especially for light-hitting third baseman and leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter, who had just eight home runs in a league-high 709 plate appearances during the regular season, but homered in each of the first three games against the Dodgers. I wouldnt say it was a struggle, but I never really hit a stretch where I felt like I was really hot, Carpenter said. I would rather take it now than during the regular season. This is when it matters. Carpenter, who was 6-for-17 with seven RBI in the NLDS, powered a Cardinals offense that has hit seven home runs in the playoffs. Weve heard a lot about that this season, our lack of home runs, Matheny said tersely. Its nice to see them in big situations like this. Weve got guys that can do it, but were not preaching it. Still, the Cards are led by ace right-hander Adam Wainwright, who will get the call in Game 1. Wainwright had another terrific season, going 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA. Wainwright, though, didnt pitch particularly well in his Game 1 start (6 runs, 11 hits, 6 1/3 innings) versus the Dodgers and his health has been called into question, as he has dealt with arm issues on-and-off throughout the season. Theres no question Waino has been fighting it, Matheny said. Ive not made that a secret, and neither has he. Its all going to come down to how he feels. The likelihood of him saying he cant go is very slim, but it is a possibility that something might not feel right. No pitcher in baseball has thrown more innings since the start of the 2013 season than Wainwright, who has logged 508 (including the postseason). Hes just been grinding, Matheny said. And when youve been grinding, there are just days where you cant get it right. He was having trouble that Game 1. Hes thrown a lot of innings. Hes had a lot of work. But thats what your ace does. San Francisco, meanwhile, is back in this round for the seventh time after beating the NLs best team, the Washington Nationals, in four games to win its seventh straight postseason series dating back to 2012. Washington had tied Game 4 on a Bryce Harper home run in the seventh inning, but the Giants went ahead to stay on a wild pitch in their half of the frame in the 3-2 win. They were determined not to get back on a plane and go to Washington, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of his team. We couldnt quite put the game away but we kept fighting and when they tied the game we put pressure right back on them. The Giants, of course, also beat Pittsburgh in the one-game wild card showdown last week, marking their seventh straight win-or-go-home victory under Bochy. Like St. Louis, San Francisco doesnt rely on the long ball and managed to leave the yard just once in the NLDS. The Giants still struggle to score runs and managed just nine in the four-game set with the Nationals. However, San Francisco did score eight in its wild card win over the Pirates. But the offense has been a problem for the Giants, particularly down the stretch, as they mustered a mere 44 runs over the final 15 games of the season. Thats our way sometimes, Bochy said. We scratch and paw for runs. Regardless, the Giants are in this position because of their starting staff, namely left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who gets the call on Saturday. If there was no Kershaw we may very well be talking about an NL Cy Young Award for Bumgarner, who set career-high marks in wins (18) and strikeouts (219) and pitched to a 2.98 ERA. That has carried over into the postseason, as he tossed a four-hit shutout to beat the Pirates, but then absorbed the lone loss in the NLDS for the Giants, but only allowed two earned runs in seven innings. Bumgarner was also one of the best road pitchers in the league this season, going 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 18 starts away from AT&T Park. His shutout win in the wild card game also came as a visitor. The Giants took four of their seven meetings during the season with the Cardinals, outscoring them, 30-20. The teams, though, havent played since July 3. San Francisco has played the Cardinals three other times in the playoffs. St. Louis edged the Giants in a thrilling seven-game series in 1987, but San Francisco has beaten the Cards both in 2002 and 2012. Kelvin Herrera Jersey . Louis, MO (SportsNetwork. Ian Kennedy Jersey . Although Olivetti, a qualifier, had 13 aces, he failed to force a single break-point chance on Gasquets serve and lost his own three times. Gasquet next plays third-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, who won had 18 aces in a 6-2, 6-4 win against seventh-seeded Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France. http://www.royalsteamproshop.com/Royals-Alex-Gordon-Kids-Jersey/ .ca! There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburghs Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston.HOUSTON -- Not everything was bigger in Texas on a hot and humid weekend in which a pair of small IndyCar teams claimed the commemorative cowboy boots from the Grand Prix of Houston. Sam Schmidts drivers went 1-2 on Sunday for the first time in team history as Simon Pagenaud grabbed the win and led rookie teammate Mikhail Aleshin to the checkered flag. Pagenaud used the win, his second of the season, to climb back into the championship race. He came to Houston trailing Will Power by 91 points, and cut it to 59 after the two races. "Its fantastic for the race team and the entire organization," said Pagenaud, who admitted after the race to feeling "a little faint" from temperatures that soared into the 90s. "The whole team has elevated to top team level." Aleshin, the first Russian to compete in IndyCar, was a career-best second for his first podium and said a tire problem nearly prevented him from making it to the finish. "Its definitely an amazing day for the team," he said. "We are one of the fastest cars on the track and I think we did an amazing job today. The whole team did an amazing job." Third went to rookie Jack Hawksworth, his first career podium. It capped a breakthrough weekend for the British driver, who finished a career-best sixth Saturday. "Its been rough this year, weve been fast sometimes and just not quite made it happen," said Hawksworth. "Weve not quite put it together and today we did." A day earlier, Dale Coyne Racing scored its first win of the year with rookie Carlos Huertas. The rookie led a Colombian sweep of the rain-soaked podium alongside countrymen Juan Pablo Montoya and rookie Carlos Munoz. It was a race Pagenaud thought he should have won. He spent the previous week training in California for the heat and humidity, and won the pole for the first race of the doubleheader. His race was ruined, though, first by a spin and then when he was collected in Scott Dixons crash. He finished 16th in the first race. "I was so disappointed Saturday because we had such a fast car this weekend," he said. Power, the points leader, rallied from another poor qualifyying effort to put himself in position for a third-place finish. Frank White Jersey. But he failed to make it to the finish line when a part broke on his car two laps from the finish. Pagenaud, Aleshin and Power had peeled away from the pack, leaving Hawksworth behind for a spirited battle to hold on for fourth-place. Then Power went off course and fell to 11th. Still, he entered the weekend with a 39 point lead in the standings and that was unchanged. Hoping to close ground on Power this weekend was Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, who was ninth Saturday but started from the pole on Sunday looking for a win. Instead, he was chasing Pagenaud from second for the lead early in the race when he drove into Sebastien Bourdais. Castroneves had been setting up his pass of Pagenaud and apparently didnt see Bourdais when he suddenly tried to cut into the same lane as Bourdais. Castroneves wound up 21st. "I was attacking and trying to pass Pagenaud, and I had no idea (Bourdais) was there," Castroneves said. "When I am attacking, I cant have my eyes on the back. Its absolutely ridiculous why the guy had to put the car over there. Its the rules of traffic, when a guy hits a guy in the back, its his fault. I am upset, yes, because we had a great car and its just a shame to have drivers like that who do not use common sense." The contact broke Bourdais front wing while he was running third, caused him to fall through the field, but he rallied to finish fifth, behind Charlie Kimball, despite the damage. It marked consecutive top-five finishes for the first time this season for Bourdais. "He changed lanes and we made pretty heavy contact," Bourdais said of Castroneves move. "That busted my front wing pretty good. After that it was a tough fight. I had to be really creative to compensate for the balance of the car." Huertas, winner Saturday, and Munoz, who finished third on Saturday, both failed to finish on Sunday and were the first two cars out. It was a topsy-turvy weekend like that in which Munoz was the only driver from the big three teams -- Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske -- to earn a podium. 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