Cardinals send a message to Padres in 7-4 first-game victory in wild-card series –

Matt Carpenter drove in a run in both the first and a two-run third, the latter inning featuring singles by Carpenter, Carlson and DeJong and a double by Molina. The hit, who later had another single, was Molina’s 97th in postseason play, tying him for fifth in baseball history.

His hits Wednesday came on the 48th anniversary of fellow Puerto Rican star Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit. Molina, a former Roberto Clemente Award winner, was wearing a Clemente warmup shirt before the game.

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Carlson, at 21, became the first player in major league history with two hits, two runs, two walks and a double in his first  postseason game. He also took a hit away with a diving catch in left field in the seventh inning. 

The Cardinals were 23-1 in the regular season when they scored five runs or more so their fast start augured well.

But former Cardinal Tommy Pham poked a run-scoring single in the third for the Padres, who had five hits in three innings off Kim, who had a 1.62 earned run average in the regular season. And after Kim walked Trent Grisham with two out in the fourth, he was replaced by righthander Ryan Helsley.

Fowler helped Helsley out of the inning by making a lunging, leaping catch of Tatis Jr.’s liner to deep right. 

Goldschmidt HR sparks four-run first inning