Wednesday, October 19, 2005

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros, Game 6

It's back to St. Louis tonight for what I hope is not the final game at Busch Stadium. Mark Mulder ((1-1, 1.32 ERA) takes the start against Roy Oswalt (2-0, 2.51 ERA). Granted, Mark was hurt during the last game after getting a bruise on a line-drive. The Cardinals are 3-1 in game 6 history during the NLCS. Last year, Edmonds hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning. In 1985, Jack Clark hit a 3-run home run to clinch the NLCS that year.

Anything in the red area would be a home run in Minute Maid Park. Not today. Not in Busch Stadium. Today and tomorrow, those balls are OUT.

Jay Leno made this quote last night: "More bad news regarding this Asian bird flu. It seems that it's now capable of infecting humans. Yeah, a bunch of Astros fans got sick last night after coming into contact with some Cardinals."

In postseason award news, The Sporting News named their awards as voted on by the players. Chris Carpenter was Pitcher of the Year.

Starting Lineups:
SS D. Eckstein (.294, 8, 61, 11 SBs)
CF J. Edmonds (.263, 29, 89)
1B A. Pujols (.330, 41, 117, 16 SBs)
RF L. Walker (.289, 15, 52 in 100 games)
LF R. Sanders (.271, 21, 54 in 93 games)
2B M. Grudzielanek (.294, 8, 59)
C Y. Molina (.252, 8, 49)
3B A. Nunez (.285, 5, 44)
P M. Mulder

2B Craig Biggio (.264, 26 HRs, 69 RBIs, 17 HBP)
CF Willy Taveras (.291, 3, 29, 71 infield hits, 34 SBs)
1B Berkman (.293, 24, 82, 91 walks)
3B Ensberg (.283, 36, 101)
RF Jason Lane (.267, 26, 78)
LF Chris Burke (.248, 5, 26)
SS Adam Everett (.248, 11, 54)
C Brad Ausmus (.258, 3, 47).
P R. Oswalt

Fox: Steve Lyons, Thom Brenneman, Bob Brenly, and Kenny Albert
ESPN Radio: Dan Schulman and Dave Campbell
KMOX and affiliate networks: Mike Shannon and Wayne Hagin
ESPN Spanish Radio: Eduardo Ortega and Carlos Alfonso
Ceremonial First Pitch: 3B Coach Jose Oquendo
National anthem and 7th Inning: Hometown News
Umpires: HP--Gerry Davis. 1B--Tim Mcclelland. 2B--Greg Gibson. 3B--Wally Bell. LF--Phil Cuzzi. RF--Larry Poncino

Biggio grounds out to Nunez to lead it off. I'm glad that Abraham has returned to the lineup. He's started at 3rd since Rolen went out. I can hear the crowd roaring like it was when I was there. Taveras is starting for the first time in like 4 games. Right back to Mark Mulder for the out. This night is looking great and we will take it one game at a time. Boo! Lance is up. Berkman keeps ruining it for us. Grounded to Eckstein. 1-2-3. Perfect game.

Bottom of the 1st is coming right up! Same line-up except Nunez is starting. Eckstein takes a strike but he's hitting .279 with 2 strikes. High for a ball. Grounds out to short. Come on Jimmy! You won game 6 for us last year!! Even count at 2-2. Edmonds gets walked. Pujols comes up to bat with a loud roar from the crowd to Jessica Simpson's remake of "These Boots are made for Walking." He is Albert the Great Pujols. Another replay of the home run. Darn, Pujols goes down swinging. That brings up Larry Walker. He has not had a great postseason. Roy, Jimmy ain't running. Walker grounds out and lowers his average.

Top of the 2nd coming right up. Morgan Ensberg leads off the 2nd. He grounds out to Eckstein. Jason Lane is now at bat. He goes down on strikes. Louisville natuve Chris Burke should end the inning. Mulder is down in the count 3-0. Good, in there for a strike. That's two strikes. Called strike. That's the way to do it, Mark. 4-5-6, still perfect.

Cardinals head to bat in the bottom of the second. Reggie Sanders takes a ball and the crowd roars. Good cut but no ball. Let's go Cards! Even count at 2-2. Foul ball. Darn, he gets struck out. Another replay of the Great Pujols home run. How mute were they? Grudzie grounds out and we now have two outs. Yadier Molina up at the plate now. Darn, that ends the 2nd inning.

Third inning coming right up. Ausmus breaks up the perfect game and no-hitter with a basehit to Reggie in left field. Everett at bat now. Foul ball on what may have been ball 3. Darn it! Everybody is safe. This is not what we need early on in the game. Oswalt is up and he'll be bunting. Do we focus on third? Ausmus almost stole 3rd. We can't walk him. Mulder throws him out but the damage has been done. Bigs is up with runners in scoring position. Ausmus scores on a pitch that gets away from Yadier and now has cost a run. The crowd is silent. The count is 2-0. Now, he drives in a run with a base hit. Come on Cards! Willy Taveras batting. Strike 2 and momentum has shifted. Walker makes the second out on a sinking liner. Berkman bats now--right-handed. Eckstein makes a diving play and ends the inning but the damage has been done.

We head to the bottom of the 3rd. A healthy Abraham takes a cut at the plate but misses. He grounds out to Adam Everett. Mulder is ahead in the count. He goes out on strikes. Come on, David Eckstein! Take your base. That brings up Jimmy Edmonds. Even count at 1-1. 2-2 for Edmonds. Full count. Eckstein will most likely be running regardless. Darn, he popped up.

Ensberg leads off the 4th. Time to warm up some pitchers. Ensberg pops up to Larry Walker. Jason Lane has hit another home run. I do believe in Cardinals, I do, I do. Burke, at the plate, has a 1-1 count. Jason Marquis is throwingin the bullpen as Reggie makes the out. Ausmus found a gap for a single. In the air to left and the inning is finished.

The Great Pujols leads off the 5th. I have faith in my Cardinals. That one gets away from Albert. Seems like they are pitching away from him. That one is in the dirt and it's 2-2. Full count. Grounded to Everett. We need some bloopers and doubles, and extra base hits. No ball has gotten out of the infield. We're down 3-0 tonight. I haven't lost faith. Larry Walker, you can do it! Grounded out to Ensberg. Can we get a home run, Reggie? Another out and that ends the inning.

Top 5th due up. Will Marquis be brought in? I hate being pessimistic but I WANT a win. Oswalt is up and is Tony making a call to the bullpen? He sends Walker to the warning track for the first out. Brad Thompson is warming up. The Cardinals need to play defense. That goes to Reggie for the second out. Willy Taveras comes to bat. That ball gets past Eckstein and Edmonds runs to retrieve it. Berkman, up again, and the ball gets past Molina! Dave Duncan visits with Mulder as Tony calls the bullpen. Calm Mark down. Busch stadium will not close tonight, nor tomorrow. Cardinal nation believes and has faith. He takes his base. Tony LaRussa will have Mulder relieved and bring in Brad Thompson. Mulder leaves giving up 3 runs and 6 hits. Enough with Brandon Backe, mike up one of the Cardinals. Hammered foul. Eckstein grabs Ensberg's hitted ball to make the last play of the inning.

Bottom 5th. Grudzielanek takes a strike. He takes a base. Yadier hits it to right! BASE HIT!! Nunez grounds into a fielder's choice. What the? Base hit but he was safe by a mile. He was not tagged on the replay! Another bad call! Yadier was safe by a mile. JRod bats for Thompson. Full count. Card fans on their feet. Sac fly by JRod but Gruzielanek scores. Eckstein lines it foul but we're in the heart of the lineup. Foul. Strike 2. Foul. Eckstein is brilliant with 2 strikes all season long. Another foul ball. Eckstein strikes out but the damage is done. We're only two runs down. We can do it.

Top of the 6th. Jason Marquis is now in for the Cardinals. Lane is at bat. He is 0-2 in the count. Marquis is 4-0 against the Astros during the regular season. Grounded out to David Eckstein. Burke finds a gapper in the infield and gets on base. Ausmus draws a strike. Alright, two strikes on Brad Ausmus. Darn! The Astros have runners on the corners. We will either turn two or strike them out one by one. Marquis is down in the count. Come on Cards! Throw a strike, Jason! The throw to first is in time but another run comes in and Ausmus advances to second. Roy Oswalt is at bat for what should be his last time tonight. Full count. Alright, Oswalt is out of there. The damage is done though.

Bottom 6th coming right up. Three runs down. JEd at the plate. Do not strike out. One and two the count. Darn it! Come on, Albert. They'll pitch away from him like they have been doing all night. Why does he have to hit it to frickin' Roy Oswalt? We are three runs down. Three frickin' runs that should never have scored. Now Larry Walker, batting pathetically this postseason, is at the plate with two out. Alright, that's the way! That was a long fly to right field and you came through when we needed you and got a double. Now, Reggie, let's follow up. It's rally time! 2-2 on Sanders. Gosh! We did not need that strike out.

Top of the 7th inning. The Cards have got to play tough defense and make sure no Astro gets on base. Top of the lineup is up. Bigs at bat. How did the ball find a way to left field? Florez and Tavarez warming up in the bullpen. Willy up again. Nunez better be ready if he doesn't strike out. Nunez was ready and gets the out even though Bigs advances to 2nd. We have to hold them. Tony LaRussa will bring in Randy Flores in time to face Lance Berkman. Berkman flies out. Julian Tavarez is coming in to face Morgan Ensberg. So Taguchi takes over in left field in a double switch. One out. That's all we need. It's not that hard. Strike! Edmonds, how did you let that happen? Bigs scores and Ensberg gets to second. Cards, don't let me down! Lane is up again. Strike him out. Ensberg takes 3rd on the wild pitch. Busch will not be closing shop today or tomorrow. Let's go Cardinals. Eckstein makes the long throw.

It's stretch time. St. Louis, we need everyone to hit and score. Oswalt is still pitching. My brother is getting worried. I'm getting worried as well. We need the pennant before we close out Busch. We need the World Series. This is the house that Jack built. The place were Stan played his harmonica. Where the fans went crazy. We will not watch the Astros spilling champagne on our floors. We will not watch Roy Oswalt get a win. This is the place where Darryl Kile pitched his final days. Grudzie fouls that one back. Darn, Everett got there in time. Yadier up at the plate. Foul. Can we get a home run? Another out. St. Louis, you need to work with me here. We want the victory. Nunez at the plate, takes a ball. Good, he hits a single. Taguchi up now. The rally caps are on. Eckstein on deck. COME ON CARDINALS!! Grounded to first...

The 8th inning begins. So do the worries. Hold the Astros to no runs. WE DON'T LOSE TODAY!! Grudzie takes that one from Burke. Eckstein fields Ausmus' grounder. Two away. Everett is up and he will strike out.

We head to the bottom of the 8th. Chad Qualls takes over. Eckstein is at the plate. Gallo is warming up. No, not an out. JEd is up now. I remember his home run from last year. He can do it again. Two outs. It's not looking good. Pujols gets out as well.

We head to the 9th inning where miracles happen. Jason Isringhausen takes over. Orlando Palmeiro pinch hits for the pitcher. Palmeiro hits it to Walker. One away. Bigs is up and I have tears coming down my face. Nunez takes him out. Not Today. We don't lose today. Tavarez is up. Mabry cuts it off but that's still a runner on we don't need for Berkman. That's a strike out.

It's the bottom of the 9th. Miracles happen. One happened on Monday with the Great Pujols. Larry Walker leads off. Don't let this be his final at-bat of his career. I remember watching Mark McGwire on deck and then having someone pinch hit for his last at-bat. Walker strikes out in what is looking to be his final game. If so, I applaud him on his career. John Mabry is up. I saw John Mabry come up with the Cardinals organization. Two outs. Not Today. We don't lose today. Grudzielanek, come on! Base hit! Can we have a rally?!? Yadier Molina :( makes the last out at Busch Stadium.

I will miss Busch Stadium.

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