Both Santana and Lohse got out of their respective first innings with the help of double plays.
After David Wright flew out to shallow center, Carlos Delgado hit a longer fly to center, J. Reyes scoring on a tag up at third while center fielder Skip Schumaker alertly fired back in to second base, almost, but not quite doubling off Chavez. With the Mets up 1-0, Carlos Betran drove a single to right field, Ludwick firing to the plate, but short-hopping the throw which got away from Yadier Molina. Chavez was beat by the throw, but safe on the play.
The game seen a total of 18 runs on 37 hits, no errors.
Sixteen pitchers threw, eight from each team.
Skip Schumaker went 6-for-7, scoring three of the Cards’ runs and seeing his batting average rise to .302 due to the bevy of hits.
Albert Pujols went 5-for-8 with three RBIs and the game-winning hit, a home run.
The Mets tallied four home runs in their loss, all of them solo shots.
Mets’ pitchers walked five and struck out 12.
Cards’ pitchers walked nine and struck out nine.
Mets’ pitchers threw a combined 256 pitches.
Cards’ pitchers threw a combined 261 pitches.
The Mets used all their relief pitchers.
The Cards had only one pitcher remaining in the bullpen: Randy Flores.
Albert Pujols — 65
Troy Glaus — 57
Ryan Ludwick — 38
Skip Schumaker, Chris Duncan — 34
Rick Ankiel — 33
photo by Alan Penner
Like La Russa said, it ain’t the bullpen. Or, even if he didn’t say that, it wasn’t the bullpen tonight.
Lack of offense; starter not going deep enough into the game. Bullpen hanging on by a thread.
The Cardinals suffered their sixth loss in a row tonight at the hands of starter Mike Pelfrey, who came right at the Redbirds, allowing them only one run in his seven full innings of work, striking out five. Pelfrey threw 103 pitches in his duration on the mound.
Tony La Russa had a choice between Mitchell Boggs and Brad Thompson to start against the New York Mets in the first game of a three-game series in New York. Shy a starter and with an overworked bullpen, it was six of one, half a dozen of the other, and Boggs got the nod.
It’s possible the hope was to get more than five innings out of whomever the starter would be, with anything over five a bonus. Boggs didn’t make it five innings, lasting only until he got one out in the fifth before La Russa pulled him, handing the ball over to Randy Flores.
The Mets were first on the board, scoring a run in the third, two in the fourth, and rallying for three runs in the fifth, leading 6-0.
The Cards didn’t get on the board until the sixth, Ryan Ludwick scoring on a Troy Glaus single up the middle.
Boggs gave up six runs on eight hits, walking four, but if he failed at anything, it was that he burned up far too many pitches, reaching 95 in a little more than half a game. Whether it was a lack of control or trying to pitch in too precise a manner, neither way will work, and things didn’t work out for Boggs. Much easier said than done, Boggs would’ve been better off pitching to contract, especially considering how good a defense the Cardinals possess. In this way, Boggs would’ve lasted longer, even if he gave up just as many runs.
Flores cleaned up the rest of the fifth and then threw a scoreless sixth, a good piece of middle relief, which encouraging.
Thompson took over from there, starting the seventh, striking out a couple, but getting touched up for the longball, a solo homer by Argenis Reyes. Thompson continued pitching well in the eighth, a scoreless frame this time.
Meanwhile, the score is 7-1 with an inning of outs left to hit with.
The never-say-die attitude of the Cardinals kicked in, loading the bases on an Adam Kennedy single, a Brendan Ryan walk, and a Joe Mather single. The Mets brought in reliever Pedro Feliciano; Schumaker popped out. The Mets then went with reliever Aaron Heilman to face Ryan Ludwick, who took him a full count, fouled off a bevy of pitches, then flew out to deep right, Kennedy tagging up and scoring to cut the lead to 7-2.
Albert Pujols got a shot at continuing the rally. He had struck out three times in the game. Pujols grounded out to third baseman David Wright, however, and the Cardinals suffered their fifth loss in a row.
Boggs took the loss, now 3-2. Mike Pelfrey took the win for the Mets, his record now 9-6.
The Mets used four relievers, but none of them for more than three outs, and manager Jerry Manuel avoided using his best closer, Billy Wagner.
photo by Alan Penner
On deck: The Cards are in New York for what will probably be their last games ever in Shea Stadium as the Mets will be moving to a new facility next season. The Cards will be in New York to start a seven-game road trip; three games with the Mets and four in Atlanta. The road trip will take the Cards through the July 31 trade deadline.
Game time will be 6:10 p.m. CDT.
Probables: STL-Mitchell Boggs RHP (3-1, 6.59) vs. NYM-Mike Pelfrey RHP (8-6, 3.81)
Boggs has been a welcome fresh arm for a troubled starting Cards’ rotation, winning three in a row before the Mets roughed him up pretty good in his last outing before being sent back to Class AAA Memphis. The 10 out of 11 earned runs the Mets pounded Boggs for accounts for most of high lofty ERA.
Pelfrey has given up the longball lately, according to the St. Louis Cardinals Official Web Site, but his prior record suggests that was an unusual occurrence.
Birds’ Perch: The Redbirds are roosting in third place these days, not yet close to any danger of slipping into fourth in the NL Central, but slipping into a slightly uncomfortable zone in relationship to the second place Breweres and first place Cubs, three and four games behind, respecively.
Streaky worries: The Cards current lock on third is due to a several-game spread between them and the teams above and below. But the first place Cubs have won their last two in a row, the second place Brewers are on an eight-game tear, and chasing, the Reds have won their last two while the Pirates have a four-game winning streak alive. About the only team not on the positive streak is the last place Astros, who, like the Cards, have lost their last four. Yikes!
Whatcha done for me lately? These are the Cardinals with the most in the last seven games.
ABs: Skip Schumaker — 28
Runs: Albert Pujols — 6
Hits: Skip Schumaker — 9
Doubles: Troy Glaus — 4
Home Runs: Ryan Ludwick — 2
RBIs: Rick Ankiel — 7
Total bases: Troy Glaus — 14
Walks: Skip Schumaker, Troy Glaus — 4
Strikeouts: Ryan Ludwick — 11
Stolen bases: Cesar Izturis — 2
On-base percentage: Albert Pujols — .429
Slugging percentage: Aaron Miles — .579
Batting average: Aaron Miles — .368
photo by Iscan
The rookie pitcher, Mitchell Boggs, no longer has the pressure of carrying a perfect record. Lately, the Cardinals’ starters have had their turns (except for Lohse) at having “one of those games.” Tonight was Boggs’ turn.
The Mets got to Boggs early, scoring three in the first inning, then another six runs in the third. The game was getting out of hand at 5-0, but really got away from Boggs and the Cards when Jose Reyes tripled over the head of Rick Ankiel. Manager Tony La Russa made a trip to the mound, but already, the strategy was obvious: Boggs would have to go as far as he could with no relief, as there was no need to burn up the bullpen on a game so far out of reach.
Such a strategy forced the young pitcher to gut it out, to take one for the team. To the new baseball fan, leaving the rookie out on the hill like that seems unfair, cruel, even, but one must understand that the team wouldn’t want to use up a lot of relievers, only to become severely limited for the weekend series versus the Chicago Cubs.
At the end of the third inning, the Mets held their 9-0 lead. And into the fourth went Boggs, getting strikeout and a couple ground outs for a one-two-three inning, probably wondering why it couldn’t have been that easy in the previous innings. Continuing his odyssey, he struggled through the fifth, then suffered a bit more in the sixth when Carlos Delgado blasted a two-run shot out in field, making it 11-0.
The Cardinals would ruin the shutout in the sixth, finally scoring off of Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey, Adam Kennedy scoring on a Chris Duncan ground out.
Boggs’ turn at a terrible night ended when reliever Ron Villone took over to start the seventh.
Scott Schoeneweis then took over for Pelfrey to start the eighth. The Cards left the bases loaded.
Jason Isringhausen took a turn on the mound, not having pitched since last Sunday. Pitching to contact, Isringhausen was able to set down the Mets in order, the bullpen now able to have full availability if the Cardinals couldn’t win.
Shoeneweis shut down the Cardinals in the ninth, and the Mets secured a series split, 2-2, with the 11-1 victory. Mike Pelfrey improved to 6-6 with the win while Boggs took a hard first loss, his perfect record tarnished to 3-1.
Boggs stated afterward that any time you go out on the field and put your teammates in the hole the way he did, you’re going to get beat.
When asked about having to remain on the hill for the six innings he pitched, Boggs said: “It was good for me to stay out there, take my lumps, and get better.”
photo by Alan Penner
Probables: The Cardinals’ will throw rookie Mitchell Boggs RHP (3-0, 4.37) against the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey RHP (5-6, 4.47) in the last of a four-game set at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
50th? The Cards are going for their 50th win of the season tonight.
300th? Albert Pujols has struggled for hits, although he has hit the ball well in many ABs. Whatever his batting status, the three-hole hitter hasn’t reached the milestone mark of 300 home runs. Some believe he is pushing, widening his strike zone, not a good thing. Some believe he is simply in a slight lull.
Whatcha done for me lately? He has registered 22 total bases in the last week, tops on the Cards. Who is he? (answer below)
The Boggs Perfection: It’s only 3-0, but it is a perfect record, so far. Boggs has settled into the starting rotation for manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan, but regardless of how well he has done so far, he will have to continue to add to a growing number of good innings and outings. If Boggs wants to get his work in tonight, he’ll have to get through the Mets leadoff-through clean-up portion of the order without getting scarred. Keeping the ball down and proving is off-speed is the only way he’ll stay in this game.
Beltran has cooled: In his last 26 ABs, Carlos Beltran is hitting a lowly .154 with one dinger and one double. The Mets have scored their runs versus the Cardinals in the first three games of their four-game set, but Mets fans have to be wondering if they might’ve turned at least one of the scores around in their two losses. When Beltran is hitting snuff-up, the first half of the Mets lineup is as tough as any in baseball.
Miles to play before I sleep: Aaron Miles has now reached a 14-game hitting streak. More importantly for the Cards, he has provided solid defense at second base and a lot of productive ABs. It might be a good idea to let him ride out this stretch of good ball-playing. Not sure? Ask yourself: If Albert Pujols or Rick Ankiel were on a hitting streak, would you platoon them? It’s a tough argument that Miles isn’t ordinarilly a regular, either, because that is how a player becomes a regular.
Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak may need to make a hard choice on what to do with the rehabbing right-hander, Matt Clement, now working the bullpen in Triple-A Memphis.
Cards’ affiliate pitcher of the month, June: Nick Additon. June’s record, 2-0, 1.53 ERA, 27 Ks, OBA .192. (Quad Cities River Bandits)
Cards’ affiliate player of the month, June: Jon Jay. BA .385. (Springfield Cardinals)
Whatcha done for me lately? He has registered 22 total bases in the last week, tops on the Cards. He plays third base, #8, Troy Glaus.
photo by Alan Penner
Troy Glaus electrified the Busch Stadium crowd last night with some ninth inning heroics, a two-out walk-off home run to give the St. Louis Cardinals an 8-7 victory over the New York Mets.
Glaus had homered earlier in the game, but he wasn’t the only Card playing longball. Rick Ankiel went deep in the fifth and Chris Duncan a two-run shot in the eighth. The Duncan homer tied the game, setting up the opportunity for Glaus to win it in the Cards’ last at-bats.
The late-game homers, however, were necessary after the Mets had fought their way back from an early four-run deficit, tying the game in the fourth inning. Joel Pineiro didn’t exactly cruise through the Mets’ lineup, and by the time he’d pitched five innings, he’d given up 11 hits. The Mets’ four runs to that point were all earned.
After the Cards edged ahead a run in the fifth on Ankiels solo homer, Tony La Russa brought on Kyle McClellan in relief to start the sixth. Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel also changed hurlers, bringing in Joe Smith, closing the book on Pedro Martinez, who, after getting thwacked in the first inning, settled more and more as he went through his five innings or work. Martinez allowed 7 hits, but all five Cardinals runs were earned.
The seventh inning found the Mets rallying, showing the kind of offense they displayed the night before, not hitting for as many extra bases as one might imagine, but making a lot of contact. La Russa used three relievers in an effort to quell the Mets’ surge.
McCllellan started off what would be the most disasterous inning for the Redbirds by walking David Wright, the potential tying run. McClellan did manage to get Cardinal-killer Carlos Beltran to pop out, but got the hook at that point, La Russa bringing on the left-hander, Mark Mulder, to face Ryan Church.
Mulder pitched Church well, but fell victim to a flare hit to left field. Compounding the problem of Mets’ base runners while holding a scant one-run lead, Mulder threw a wild pitch, allowing both Wright and Church to advance. Carlos Delgado made Mulder and the Cards pay then, driving a line shot back up through the box, scoring that tying run in Wright, Church moving over to third base.
The Mets put forth more fundamental run-scoring strategy, Damion Easley hitting a sacrifice fly to left field, Schumaker too deep and with no forward movement to have a chance at throwing out Church at home. The sac-play nudged up the Mets’ lead to one at 6-5. When Mulder hit the next batter, Brian Schneider, La Russa had little choice but to replace him, calling upon Russ Springer, who allowed a bloop hit from pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis. Delgado scored on the play, putting the Mets up 7-5 but.
Down two runs, the innings became more desperate for the Cardinals. Manuel called upon Aaron Heilman to make sure the Cardinals could not inch their way back. Neither Albert Pujols, Ankiel, and Glaus could reach against Heilman.
La Russa used more of the Cardinal bullpen, relieving Springer with Chris Perez. The Mets threatened when Wright ripped a one-out triple, but Perez fought out of the jam, striking out Beltran and getting Church to ground out.
Trailing 7-5, it was the Cardinals turn to take advantage of a mistake. After Heilman hit Ryan Ludwick, Chris Duncan pinch-hit for Jason LaRue. Manuel countered with Pedro Feliciano. The strategy failed, however, when Duncan took Feliciano deep to right field, the two-run shot tying up the game at 7-apiece.
Closer Ryan Franklin turned away any chance for a Mets rally, stopping Delgado, Easley, and Schneider.
Carlos Muniz was charged with stopping the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth, staring off by getting Pujols to foul out. Ankiel then flew out to center.
Down to the last out and the possibility of extra innings, Glaus delivered the game-winner, a walk-off home run to give the Cardinals an 8-7 win.
The thrilling win gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead in the four-game series with the Mets and their 49th victory of the season.
photo by Barbara Moore