Tagged: Troy Glaus

Miles’ walk-off grand slam sweeps Padres

2527138360_2f2a24c132_m-miles-photo by Iscan.jpgAaron Miles hit a walk-off grand slam to break a ninth-inning 5-5 deadlock, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 9-5 win and a four-game sweep of the San Diego Padres.

Some ninth inning strategy by Padres’ manager Bud Black backfired, times-4. With the game tied, Black brought on reliever Bryan Corey to attempt to hold so the Padres would get an extra-inning shot at winning. Things started out OK for Corey, getting Jason LaRue to ground out for the all-important first out an inning.

Corey pitched around Albert Pujols, walking him. While on first base, Brad Thompson was sent to the plate, La Russa’s bench short on hitters/position players since he had elected to go with one extra pitcher than the norm. Thompson pulled off an attempted bunt, the pitch a ball, and substitute catcher Luke Carlin threw wild to first base trying to pick off Pujols. The ball rolled far down the left field line, Pujols scampering all the way to third base.

With Pujols representing the winning run, Black intentionally walked pinch hitter Yadier Molina, then Skip Schumaker, loading the bases for either an easier force out at home plate or a chance at an inning-ending double play. The Padres’ outfielders pulled in shallow for a potential fly ball and tag-up situation versus Pujols at third. Miles would be the hitter.

A fly ball to any outfield of moderate depth would give the Cards a win, but Miles launched a fast ball into the Cardinals’ bullpen in right field, a walk-off grand slam that got him mobbed by teammates at home plate.

Brad Thompson (2-2) would pick up the winning, having come on in relief for Jason Isringhausen in the top of the ninth and allowing the P2669894717_d9c85539bc_m-devin kouzamanoff-photo by SD Dirk.jpgadres to tie it up at 5-all on a base runner for which Isringhausen was charged. Kevin Kouzmanoff had delivered the big blow then, a double over the head of center fielder Rick Ankiel to score the fifth Padres’ run.

The Cardinals’ recent call-up, pitcher Jaime Garcia, recorded a no decision in his first major league start. Garcia was greeted to the starting role with a leadoff home run by Scott Hairston. Garcia worked five innings, giving up three runs, all earned, scattering five hits, walking one and striking out four. All in all, a good outing for Garcia’s first start.

During Garcia’s five innings, the Cards could only muster one run when Ankiel drove home Miles with a double to deep right field.

Down 3-1 in the seventh, Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa called upon Albert Pujols to pinch hit with Glaus on third base. Glaus had singled, then advanced to second on a fly ball that Padres’ center fielder Hairston threw to first base trying to double off Glaus. No one was covering the bag, however, and by the time the Padres had recovered the ball, Glaus had tagged up and raced to second base. When LaRue singled Glaus over to third base, Pujols pinch hit for reliever Kelvin Jimenez, lofting a sacrifice fly to left field, Glaus scoring to bring the Cardinals within one at 3-2.

Randy Flores got a shot at relieving, securing two outs in the eighth, giving up one hit before La Russa called on Kyle McClellan, who intentionally walked pinch hitter Adrian Gonzalez, then getting Luis Rodriguez to ground out.

Down one run in the eighth, Schumaker led off with a single. La Russa called for a sacrifice bunt in an attempt to get the tying run into scoring position, but first baseman A. Gonzalez jumped all over Miles’s bunt, snapping a throw to second base to force out Schumaker. Ryan Ludwick singled, but with no base runner in scoring position, there was no chance to score. Ankiel had a shot at bringing home Miles from second base, but struck out. Glaus’s three-run shot made up for all of the failings in the inning, putting the Cardinals up 5-3 at the time.

Struggling reliever Jason Isringhausen got a shot at closing, but the Padres had other ideas. With one out, Hairston singled, followed by a double by Edgar Gonzalez that right fielder just missed cutting off running hard into the alley. Hairston sprinted three bases to score, bringing the Padres within one.

Brian Giles then singled, Gonzalez holding up at third base. That set up the aforementioned Kouzmanoff double that brought home the tying run.

Brad Thompson took over the mound from there, getting some big play help from Pujols and LaRue to get the Cards out of the last inning jam.

Besides winning the game and securing a sweep of the Padres, the Miles’ walk-off grand slam kept the Cardinals’ record perfect since the All-Star break.

Miles went 3-for-5 on the day, scoring three runs and tallying four RBIs. His batting average has risen to .323.

Miles photo by Iscan

Kouzamanoff photo by SD Dirk

Three more homers with a side of Molina-style “RiBIes”

2501334222_d53bc0a8f0_m-maddux-photo by SD Dirk.jpgAfter last night’s game, Cardinal Nation might prefer their next helping of “ribbies” done Molina-style. The Cards’ catcher so well-known throughout the majors for his reluctance to strike out proved the contact hitting produced by the skill can mean more than hitting into inning-ending double plays.

Indeed, Molina’s ability to put bat to ball can also have the effect of making things happen. For instance, a two-RBI single. Molina’s “ribbies” gave the Cardinals the go-ahead runs, breaking a 7-7 tie in the eighth inning.

The recently red hot bats of the St. Louis Cardinals overshadowed a weak outing by starter Braden Looper in a game that saw 18 runs on 29 hits, a slugfest which ended with the Padres outdone for the second night in a row.

Starting Padres’ pitcher Greg Maddux only lasted one inning longer than Looper at four, leaving the game when it was tied at 6-all. With both starters out early, each team used five relievers to get through the balance of the game. Kyle McClellan (2-4) would end up with the win, while the Padres’ Heath Bell was charged with the loss.

The Cardinals drew first blood when Rick Ankiel singled home both Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus in the first inning, the Cards ahead 2-0.

Looper was up on a lot of his pitches, becoming more inefficient with each inning he threw. The Padres did not score in the first, but got on the board in the second on a grapefruit pitch that the season-long struggling Khalil Greene drove to the opposite field, a first row shot in right, luckily, with no one on base.

With a 2-1 score, nothing was out of control, but Looper continued to struggle. To help himself along, he sacrifce bunted Cesar Izturis to second base in the second inning. Izturis took the next base on his own, stealing thrid. Brendan Ryan then got Izturis home on an infield ground out.

The 3-1 lead wouldn’t last long. In the next inning, Looper asked for trouble when he hit Edgar Gonzalez with a pitch. The Padres’ Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, and Kevin Kouzmanoff then punished Looper and the Cards with back to back to back singles, the trio of basehits collectively producing a couple runs and tying the game at 3-each.

The Padres continued the hit parade in the fourth after Maddux held the Cards scoreless. On a play that saw two Cardinals known for their outstanding defensive skills each commit a throwing error, for those moments, the Busch Stadium crowd might’ve thought they were at a youth league game. With Padres’ Nick Hundley on second, Maddux laid down a bunt which Molina pounced upon and fired to Glaus at third. Except that Molina’s throw was nowhere near Glaus, shooting into left field where Skip Schumaker scooped it up and threw home in a belated attempt to get Hundley at the plate. Albert Pujols cut off Schumaker’s throw, however, spinning and firing to Cesar Izturis covering second when Maddux tried to advance on Schumaker’s throw home. Pujols’ throw went wide, the ball shooting into center field where Rick Ankiel scooped it up and fired to third base in an attempt to stop Maddux from advancing once more, another belated throw that Glaus had to block in order to halt the circus production. The Padres took a 4-3 lead on a play that had to have had the TV camera crew in a frenzy.

Looper’s problems didn’t end there, though. With Maddux on third base after laying down a sac-bunt, the Padres’ leadoff man, Jody Gerut, jacked one into the right field seats, stunning the haphazard Cardinals, the Padres taking full advantage of the Cardinals’ defensive miscues as well as Looper’s difficulties on the hill. Now up 6-3, the Padres were praying that Cards’ manager Tony La Russa would leave Looper on the mound.

La Russa had seen enough, however, having stuck with his starter as long as he could have under the circumstances. La Russa brought Brad Thompson from the bullpen, the called up and sent down pitcher that had proven himself on both the major league and Triple-A levels in recent weeks. Willing to take on any role La Russa had for him, Thompson had, out of circumstance, formulated into a middle relief specialist. He would fill that role last night, working two-and-a-third innings, giving up one run while striking out four. The lead may have swung back to the Padres during Thompson’s relief appearance, but only by one run at 7-6, keeping the Cardinals well within striking distance and getting them far enough into the game where La Russa could pick and choose his relievers in a more strategic and efficient manner.

What had also helped keep the Cardinals in the game was a three-run homer in the fourth by Ryan Ludwick. The three-RBI round-tripper was made possible by a couple of two-out singles, one by Brendan Ryan, followed by Schumaker.

In the seventh, Ankiel hit his 22nd homer of the season, a blast that cleared the right field bullpen by six or seven rows. The solo shot tied the game at 7-7.

The go-ahead hit came in the eighth, when Molina punched an outside pitch off the glove of Padres’ second baseman Edgar Gonzalez, the ball rolling on into right field. The bases were loaded at the time, due to a Pujols single, a Glaus walk, and an Ankiel infield single on which Padres’ pitcher Heath Bell failed to cover first base in time.

Ankiel was later thrown out at home on a disputed play in which Padres’ catcher Nick Hundley may missed the tag. Nonetheless, the called out stood. Chris Duncan supplied a pinch hit single, however, bringing home Molina to make it 10-7.

Aaron Miles provided another pitch hit, scoring Izturis and putting up an insurance run, the score 11-7, how the game would finish.

The bullpen held up much better last night, La Russa using, in order after pulling Looper: Thompson, Villone, Springer, McClellan, and Isringhausen. Villone worked from within an inning, two outs worth. The latter relievers each worked one full inning.

Regardless of who was in any particular spot in the lineup, the Cardinals got at least one hit out of every lineup position.

Izturis stole two bases, leading the team with 10.

Pujols went 3-for-4 with a walk, his only out a scortched line drive caught in center field. Pujols’ .354 average is tops on the team.

The defensive play of the game was Ron Villone’s falling, sprawling reception while covering first base to complete a double play.

The Cardinals now lead the four-game home series with the Padres, 2-0.

photo by SD Dirk

Redbird Randoms … Carpenter, Wainwright, Lohse,  Glaus

2504239178_a705c72453_m-glaus-photo by Barbara Moore.jpgOn deck:
The Cards play host to the Padres again tonight at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The game is the second in a four-game series that runs through Monday night, with the first pitch set for 7:15 p.m. CDT.

Probables: SDO- Greg Maddux RHP (3-8, 3.90) vs. STL-Braden Looper RHP (9-7, 4.25)

Chris Carpenter: The former Cards’ ace is set to … more at main site


photo by Barbara Moore

Miles, Ludwick, Glaus go deep in Cards win

2581556817_9808205c56_m-sanchez-photo by David Watson.jpgHome runs contributed by Ryan Ludwick, Aaron Miles, and Troy Glaus accounted for five of the Cardinals’ 11 runs in a first half finale versus the Pittsburgh Pirates today.
The bullpen was able to cool the recently hot Bucs’ bats at the same time, the Cardinals avoiding a repeat of last night’s extra inning loss after a huge Pirates’ comeback. Russ Springer came on for Joel Pineiro in the sixth when the Pirates’ Chris Gomez doubled home Sean Burnett and Nate McClouth to take the lead at 6-5. After Pineiro walked the next hitter, manager Tony La Russ called on Springer, who needed only one pitch to get Jason Bay to pop out and squash the rally.
The Cards had plenty of offense again, Aaron Miles driving a three-run homer into the right field seats in the fourth inning, his blast giving the Cards a 4-1 lead. In the seventh, with the Cards down one run, Glaus doubled home Ludwick to tie the game at six-all. Chris Duncan had an RBI single in the seventh inning, and a few batters later, Aaron Miles hit a two-RBI triple, giving him five RBIs on the day. The Cards had a 9-6 lead.
With bad memories form last night’s game undoubtedly lingering, Ryan Ludwick cracked a home run to left field, tacking on what La Russa could only hope was in insurance run.
Troy Glaus dittoed in the ninth, launching one into the Cardinals bullpen in dead center field, extending the lead to 11-6.
With the offense maintaining good production and Pineiro keeping them close for almost six full innings, the nerves had begun to rattle when La Russa started plucking relievers from the bullpen and planting them on the mound.
Springer held his own, providing a specialist’s display with his one-pitch de-jamming of Pineiro’s rough sixth inning.
Kyle McClellan came on to start the seventh, and worked through the eighth, giving up only one hit. The rookie had a tough outing last night, but held it together well today, paving the way for closer Ryan Franklin.
Franklin worked a scoreless ninth, allowing only Ryan Doumit to get on base with a single.
Rick Ankiel, who had slightly injured his leg while batting last night, made a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh, flying out to right field.
The 11-6 win takes the Cardinals into the All-Star break with a 53-43 record. The next game will take place on July 17, Thursday, when the Cards start a home stand versus the San Diego Padres.
photo by David Watson   

NoteCARDS v Pirates 7/13/08

After 9 innings (Final)

Cardinals 11
Pirates 6

Tyler Yates now pitching for Pirates; (T.J. Beam); (Franquelis Osoria); (Sean Burnett); (starter Ian Snell)
Ryan Franklin now pitching for Cardinals; (Kyle McClellan); (Russ Springer); (starter Joel Pineiro)

Bottom of 9th:
[Ryan Franklin relieves Kyle McClellan]
Chris Gomez hits a weak fly to shortstop Cesar Izturis for the first out.
Ryan Doumit lines a basehit up the middle, just beyond the reach of Cesar Izturis.
Jason Bay strikes out swinging for the second out.
Xavier Nady hits a long fly ball to left, left fielder Ryan Ludwick making the catch at the 383-foot marker for the last out of the game.

Top of 9th:
[Tyler Yates relieves T. J. Beam]
Troy Glaus hit a towering blast into the Cardinals bullpen in center field, the ball carrying 30 feet beyond the 410-foot marker and over the bullpen bench.
Chris Duncan hit one through the box into center field for a basehit.
[Joe Mather pinch-runs for Chris Duncan.]
Yadier Molina hit a line drive up the middle, but second baseman Chris Gomez raced over and stabbed it for the first out.
Aaron Miles laced a line drive into right field for a basehit, Duncan advancing to second base.
Adam Kennedy pinch-hits for Kyle McClellan, check-swinging a hit just beyond the reach of shortstop Jack Wilson, Joe Mather having to hustle to make it to third base to avoid getting forced out.
Cesar Izturis stikes out, not able to hold a check swing on the third strike for the second out.
Skip Schumaker hits a line shot right at center fielder Nate McClouth for the third out.

Bottom of 8th:
Luis Rivas pinch-hits for T. J. Beam, flying out to Ryan Ludwick in left field for the first out.
Jack Wilson hit long fly ball into the right-center field gap, center fielder Skip Schumaker making a diving catch for the second out.
All-Star Nate McClouth grounds out to second baseman Aaron Miles to end the inning.

Top of 8th:
Cesar Izturis hit a sinking line drive into center field, Nate McClouth coming on to make the play.
Skip Schumaker hits a hard ground to ball to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who makes the putout unassisted for the second out.
All-Star Ryan Ludwick drove a long fly ball for a home run to dead center field, 20 feet beyond the 399-foot marker, tacking another run to extend the Cards lead to 10-6.
All-Star Albert Pujols ground out to third baseman Jose Bautista to end the inning.

Bottom of 7th:
[Kyle McClellan relieves Russ Springer.]
Xavier Nady singles into right field.
Doug Mientkiewicz pops out to shortstop Cesar Izturis for the first out.
Jose Bautista hits a line shot that first baseman Albert Pujols snags, stepping on first base to double off Nady for an unassisted double play.

Top of 7th:
[Franquelis Osoria relieves Sean Burnett]
All-Star Ryan Ludwick singles into center field.
All-Star Albert Pujols hit in leg by the pitch, advancing Ludwick to second base.
Troy Glaus rips a line drive down the left field line, doubling home Lucwick with the tying run and third base coach Jose Oquendo holding up Pujols at third base.
Chris Duncan hits through the hole on the right side, singling Pujols home with the lead run, Glaus holding up a second base.
[Osoria gets visit from Pirates’ pitching coach.]
Yadier Molina squibs one in front of the pitcher, the hit working like a sac-bunt, advancing Glaus to third base and Pujols to second base.
Aaron Miles drove a long fly ball to the wall in right-center field, clearing the bases with a triple.
[T. J. Beam relieves Franquelis Osoria]
Rick Ankiel pinch-hits for Russ Springer, flies out to right fielder Xavier Nady, who throws to home plate, catcher Ryan Doumit tagging out Aaron Miles for the third out.

Bottom of 6th:
Jose Bautista lines out to second baseman Aaron Miles for the first out.
Sean Burnett doubles over the head of left fielder, Ryan Ludwick. (Burnett’s first ML hit.)
Jack Wilson grounds out to shortstop Cesar Izturis, Burnett advancing to third base.
All-Star Nate McClouth walks.
McClouth advances to second base on a botched run-down play.
Chris Gomez cracks a long fly ball over the head of a diving Ryan Ludwick in left field, the ball rolling to the wall; Burnett scoring the tying run easily, and McClouth scoring from second base with the lead run, the Pirates pulling ahead 6-5 on the two-out hit.
Ryan Doumit walked, giving the Pirates men on first and second.
[Russ Springer relieves Joel Pineiro.]
Jason Bay hits a pop-fly to short center field, second baseman Aaron Miles making the play for the third out.

Top of 6th:
Yadier Molina singles to center field.
Aaron Miles hits ground ball to second baseman Chris Gomez, Gomez making an error trying to field the ball for doubleplay; Molina advances to third base on the play.
Joel Pineiro strikes out for the first out of the inning.
Cesar Izturis grounds to third baseman, J. Bautista, who throws to second baseman Gomez at
second, but the relay to Meintkiewicz at first base was too late, Molina scoring to put the Cardinals in the lead, 5-4.
Cesar Izturis steals second base (his eighth stolen base in 12 attempts).
Skip Schumaker grounds out for the final out of the inning.

Bottom of 5th:
Freddy Sanchez pinch-hit for Ian Snell, singling to left field.
Jack Wilson singles to right field, Sanchez advancing to second base.
All-Star Nate McClouth flies out to Skip Schumaker in center field for the first out.
Chris Gomez flies out to deep Skip Schumaker in deep center field. Sanchez tags up at second, advancing to third base on the fly ball; two outs.
Ryan Doumit pulls a double down the right field line, Sanchez scoring the second Pirates’ run, Wilson holding up at third base.
Jason Bay hits a single through the hole on the left side, Wilson and Doumit scoring to tie the game at 4-apiece.
Xavier Nady hits a line drive up the middle, Bay advancing to second base.
Doug Mientkiewicz grounds out to end the inning.

Top of 5th:
Skip Schumaker singles to center.
Ryan Ludwick pops out to second baseman Chris Gomez.
Albert Pujols pops out to catcher Ryan Doumit.
Troy Glaus walked, Schumaker advancing to second base.
Chris Duncan grounds out to second baseman Chris Gomez to end the inning.

Bottom of 4th:
Pirates down in order: Nady, Mientkiewicz, J. Bautista.

Top of 4th:
Troy Glaus doubles with two outs.
Chris Duncan doubles down right field line, Glaus scoring to tie the game at 1-1.
Yadier Molina walks on a wild pitch, Duncan advancing to third base.
Aaron Miles launches a three-run homer into the right field seats, Cards now up 4-1
Joel Pineiro walks, Snell gets visit from pitching coach.
Cesar Izturis lofts a lazy fly to Jason Bay in left field to end the inning.

Bottom of 1st:
Xavier Nady singles home Chris Gomez in first inning to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

Bucs’ Michaels trumps Glaus HR with walk-off blast in 10th

2629975046_1ddafb16d3_m-wilson-photo by David Watson.jpgJason Michaels blasted a Chris Perez fastball into the left field seats for a walk-off, two-run homer in the tenth inning, completing a Pirates comeback that started almost from the moment the Cardinals’ starting pitcher Todd Wellemeyer was relieved.

Wellemeyer was lifted in the seventh after the Bucs scored their fourth run. At the time, the Cards were up 9-4. From there, Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa rifled through most of the bullpen, Russ Springer the initial reliever, who pitched out of an inherited Wellemeyer jam when the starter ran out of gas with one out.

The Cardinals tacked on a tenth run in the top of the eighth, La Russa then calling on Ryan Franklin to start the bottom of the inning, now with a six run lead. Franklin gave up a single to Luis Rivas, then a two-out home run off the bat of Jason Bay, the Bucs answering the Cards’ top of the inning run and adding another, closing the gap to 10-6.

La Russa brought in lefty reliever Ron Villone to hold off any further damage.

Jason Isringhausen then got a shot at the closer’s role, taking the mound with a four-run lead. Things looked good for him, too, for one batter,  Jose Bautista, who he struck out. Then he did the unthinkable for a reliever, walking a batter with a decent lead, Jason Michaels more than happy to take first base, the Pirates in desperate need of base runner to bring around.

The troubles got deeper when Jack Wilson beat out a slow-roller to Troy Glaus at third base, and suddenly, the Pirates had two men on and only one out with All-Star Nate McClouth coming up. McClouth delivered, deposting an Isringhausen fast ball into the seats, his three-run homer bringing the Pirates within one run.

La Russa didn’t feel like letting Isringhausen suffer any more than he had already, bringing in rookie Kyle McClellan. Luis Rivis kept the Bucs alive, singling. Ryan Doumit hit a single to right-center, Joe Mather unable to surround the ball and get it back in fast enough to prevent Rivas from hustling from first to third. The Cardinals still had a chance to end the game, should Jason Bay hit into a double play. McClellan got Bay to ground to shortstop Cesar Izturis, but Aaron Miles was unable to execute a clean transfer from glove to throwing hand and never made the throw to first. Rivas coasted home with the tying run. Xavier Nady popped out to Izturis, but the resilient Pirates had forced extra innings.

Troy Glaus put in his bid for hero of the game in the top of tenth, launching a Denny Bautista fast ball far up into the left field seats, putting the Cardinals up 11-10 and a new chance to shut down the Pirates.

The Bucs had other ideas, going to work on McClellan, Raul Chavez leading off the bottom of the tenth with a sharply hit single. La Russa was out to mound almost before Chavez rounded first base, giving the nod to another rookie, Chris Perez.

With the tying run on first base, Perez got Jose Bautista to pop out, but then had the meat of the Pirates’ order if he wanted to save the game. Jason Michaels had other plans. Swinging for contact, Michaels got a lot more of a Perez fast ball then the young reliever would’ve like, blasting the walk-off homer to left field.

The loss highlighted the Cardinals biggest deficiency to date: the bullpen. For several stretches, the offense had let them down, but the bullpen has consistently struggled, tonight’s game just one more example, but amplified by the tremendous Pirates comeback.

photo by David Watson

NoteCARDS v Pirates (compilation) Pirates 12, Cardinals 11

NoteCARDSs reports frequently, sometimes by the half-inning, on the 4thebirds main site on selected Cardinals games.
Top of 1st: Yoslan Herrera made his major league debut. Only Ryan Ludwick reached on a four-pitch walk. The rookie from the Pirates’ Double-A affiliate Altoona struck out both Albert Pujols and Rick Ankiel, both on change-ups, which Herrera is known for. Herrera showed a low-90s fastball, the good change, and a curve you can see coming almost before he makes a motion toward the plate.

Bottom of 1st:
Todd Wellemeyer started for the Cards, looking to improve his performance from his recent outings. He didn’t get off to a good start, walking leadoff man Nate McClouth. Ankiel helped by making a nice catch on a Luis Rivas fly ball, going back to the wall from his normal, shallow positioning in center field. Things looked to be back under control for Wellemeyer after a Ryan Doumit fly out to Chris Duncan in right field, but Jason Bay hit a fast ball up and on the outside of the plate, taking the pitch just over the right-center field wall. The Pirates went up 2-0 on the two-run blast. Xaiver Nady flew out to Ankiel in center to end the inning.
Top of 2nd: The Cards were licking their chops when Troy Glaus, Chris Duncan, and Yadier Molina hit back to back to back singles, loading the bases with nobody out. Yoslan Herrera, however, got Wellemeyer to pop out, then grabbed an Adam Kennedy grounder back to him, throwing to home plate to force out lead runner Glaus, whereupon catcher Ryan Doumit pivoted and fired to first to force out Kennedy to end the inning.

Bottom of 2nd:
Wellemeyer settled down, cruising through Adam LaRoche, Doug Meintkiwicz, and Herrera.

Top of 3rd:
Leadoff man Aaron Miles singled to start the inning, followed by a Ryan Ludwick triple to left-center field, Miles scoring. Albert Pujols then hit a towering fly ball to left, Jason Bay reaching up at the wall to take away a homer. The fly turned into a long sacrifice fly, Ludwick scoring the tying run, 2-2. Rick Ankiel blasted a long ball to center, off the wall. Ankiel stopped at second base. Herrera seemed rattled after throwing another four-pitch walk, this time to Troy Glaus. Herrera pulled out that good change-up on a full-count to Chris Duncan, striking him out swinging. Yadier Molina picked up the club, however, singling through the hole on the left side, Ankiel scoring from second base. With Glaus on second and Molina on first, Wellemeyer got a Herrera curve ball with two strikes, offering a weak swing and striking out. The Cardinals secured the lead, however, at 3-2.

Bottom of 3rd:
Jack Wilson popped out to Miles at shortstop to start the inning. Wellemeyer faced All-Star Nate McClouth with one out. McClouth popped out to Glaus in foul territory on the third base side, Glaus making a nice running grab. Everyone had a scare when Luis Rivas got hit by a pitch, possibly misreading a curve that didn’t break. Rivas was okay and stayed in the game, taking first base. Doumit grounded out to Adam Kennedy at second base to end the inning.
Top of 4th: Kennedy laced a line drive back at Herrera, who made the catch, but got stung pretty good on his glove hand. For some reason, he needed to throw two warm-up pitches. He may been rattled a bit, because he walked Miles. Ludwick took advantage of the rookie next, lifting a fly just out of left fielder Jason Bay’s reach, a two run homer to add to the Cards’ lead, making it 5-2. Pujols added to the rookie’s troubles, hitting a double, sliding safely into second base on a close tag. Mientkiewicz got ejected from the game for arguing the call, which, upon further (fan) review, showed Rivas tagging Pujol on the face before Pujols touched second base with his left hand. Ankiel popped out to Wilson at short for the second out. Herrera committed his fourth walk, giving a free pass to Glaus, putting two Cards on base. Duncan, however, flew out to Bay in left, ending the inning with two Cardinals left of base.
Bottom of 4th: Wellemeyer was breezing through the inning; Bay flying out to Ankiel in center, and Nady grounding out to Kennedy at second. LaRoche ruined Wellemeyer’s roll, though, blasting one well up in the right-center field seats to cut the lead to 5-3. Jose Bautista, who replaced Mientkiewicz at third base, grounded out to Glaus at third base to end the inning.

Top of 5th: Yadier Molina lead off the inning with a basehit. Wellemeyer advancing him to second base with a sac-bunt. Kennedy then got a basehit through the middle, third base coach Jose Oquendo sending Molina to the plate. Molina seemed surprised that he was sent, but slid in safely with no play.
Franquelis Osorio came on in relief for Herrera.
Miles got first crack at him, hitting a ground that Osorio fielded himself on the first base side, then throwing out Kennedy at second base with no choice, as no one was covering first base.
With two outs and Miles at first base on a fielder’s choice, Ludwick, who had homered in his last at bat, ground out to Wilson at short.
Bottom of 5th: Freddy Sanchez pinch-hit for Osoria, but struck out swinging. Wilson flew out to Ankiel in center and McClouth grounded to Kennedy at second base.

Top of 6th: T.J. Beam came on in relief for the Pirates. Pujols jumped on him, hitting a double about 405 feet off the center field wall, then a ricochet to another angle of the wall in an area called the North End Notch. Ankiel then doubled into the left field corner, changing places with Pujols at second base while Pujols scored. Glaus singled home Ankiel. Duncan then hit a shallow fly ball into right-center, McClouth making a spectacular sliding catch, then firing to first baseman LaRoche to double off Glaus. The Cardinals weren’t done hitting off Beam, though, Molina getting the third double of the inning. Wellemeyer flew out to right fielder Xavier Nady, however, to end the rally.

Bottom of 6th: Wellemeyer cruised through the sixth; Rivas lining out to Ankiel in center field, Doumit flying out to right-center, Duncan speeding over to make the play, and Bay striking out.
Top of 7th: The Cardinals tallied another run, this time off of the next Pirates’ reliever, Sean Burnett. Ludwick picked up another RBI, singling home Miles. In the inning, Rick Ankiel was injured on a swing, having to leave the game.
Bottom of 7th: The Pirates’ LaRoche hit a ground rule double, then scored on a Bautista single. Cards’ manager Tony La Russa took out Wellemeyer, calling on Russ Springer to face pinch-hitter Chris Gomez. Springer got Gomez looking. Wilson then flew out to Duncan in right field to end the inning.
Top of 8th: Tyler Yates relieved Burnett. Troy Glaus reached on a slow roller that third baseman Bautista couldn’t get handle on. Duncan followed up with a single to right. Molina then hit into a double play, but Glaus advanced to third base. Joe Mather pinch-hit for Springer, doubling into the left field corner, Glaus scoring the 10th Cardinal run. Cesar Izturis made the last out, lining out to LaRoche at first base.
Bottom of 8th: Ryan Franklin came on in relief of Springer. McClouth struck out swinging to start the inning. Rivas singled to left field. Doumit flew out to Derek Schumaker, who took over for Ankiel in center field, for the second out. Bay then blasted his second two-run homer of the night, far past the center field fence, making it 10-6. When Nady hit a sharp single through the hole on the right side, La Russa yanked Franklin, bringing on lefthander, Ron Villone to face LaRoche. Villone struck out LaRoche, swinging, on a nasty curve ball, ending the Pirates’ threat.
Top of 9th: Damaso Marte relieved Yates. Miles grounded out to second for the first out. Ludwick lined out to Bay in left field. With two outs, Albert Pujols hit another ball hard, singling to center field. Schumaker grounded to LaRoche, who, moving to his right, threw to second base to force out Pujols and end the inning.
Bottom of 9th: Jason Isringhausen came on in the closer role for the first time since early in the season. Isringhausen struck out Jose Bautista looking with a 91-MPH fastball. Jason Michaels pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot, working a full count and then walking. Wilson hit a slow-roller to Glaus, beating out the throw on play that appeared to be an out. Instead of one base runner and two outs, the Pirates then had much better odds of a comeback, now with two runners on and only one out.
And just like clockwork, All-Star Nate McClouth jacked one out to right-center, a three-run homer that brought the Bucs within one run at 10-9.
After Isringhausen threw two straight balls that didn’t come close to the strike zone of Luis Rivas, La Russa yanked Isringhausen for Kyle McClellan. Rivas answered with a sharp single to left field, then advanced to third base on a Ryan Doumit basehit to right-center.
With the tying run on third base and the winning run on first, Jason Bay strode to the plate, having hit two home runs in the game. Bay hit a double play grounder to Izturis at short, but after getting the force at second base, Aaron Miles couldn’t get the ball out of his glove for the relay to first. Rivas scored easily from third, tying the game at 10-apiece. Nady popped out to Izturis to send the game into extra innings.
Top of 10th: Denny Bautista came on in relief for the Pirates in the tenth inning. Troy Glaus jumped on him immediately, launching a high fast ball into the upper reaches of the left field seats, putting the Cards up 11-10. McClellan struck out, an obvious sign since he wasn’t pinched, that the Cards needed at least another inning of relief out of him. Moline grounded out for the second out. Joe Mather struck out to end the inning.
Bottom of 10th: Raul Chaves singled to left, putting the tying run on first base. La Russa pulled McClellan on the spot, opting for the hard-throwing Chris Perez. Bautista popped out to Izturis for the first out. But Jason Michaels, who admittedly was only trying to make contact and keep the inning going, blasted one into the left field seats, a walk-off home run, the Pirates accomplishing a huge comeback victory in extra innings, 12-11.

At the end of 10 innings: (Final)
Pirates 12

Cardinals 11
This post is now updated with some delay from the real time game. (beta)

Glaus spoils Mets comeback with walk-off homer

2504239178_a705c72453_m-glaus-photo by Barbara Moore.jpg

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

Royals turn for two-out scoring

Five of the Royals seven runs came with two outs, an attribute the Cardinals are usually noted for. As it turned out, three of those two-out runs were all it took to take the first game of Round 2 of the I-70 series, this three-game set held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Joel Pineiro, except for a disastrous second inning, pitched far better than his numbers showed. The Cardinals’ right-hander went 7.2 innings, which, in the loss, was probably the biggest bonus to his performance. He threw 110 pitches, and going so deep into the game meant the bullpen wasn’t eaten up on the first night in Kansas City. Only Ron Villone came out of the pen, throwing only nine pitches, and for one out.
Falling to 2-4, this hasn’t been the first time he has pitched well and ended up on the short end. What proved to be all the runs the Royals needed to win came off the bat of Alex Gordon in the second, a bases-loaded (and clearing) double into the right field corner that came after an infield single (which scored a run) when shortstop Aaron Miles couldn’t make the play. The play also points out how the incredible speed of Joey Gathright can put pressure on an infielder. Suffice it to say the man is one of the quickest from the box to first that 4thebirds has reported on this season.
The 7-2 loss became a display of pitching hardship for the Cardinals, but also another frustrating example of how a team can garner multiple hits and never have just enough to do damage in enough innings. The Cardinals scored 10 hits, just one less than the Royals, yet the end result was vastly different.
Scattering those Cardinals’ hits was the handiwork of the Royals’ starter Gil Meche, who went seven innings and allowed six of the 10, only one earned, the seventh inning solo home run by Troy Glaus (11). Glaus added an RBI in the next inning against Royals’ reliever Ron Mahay with a two-out single that brought home Ryan Ludwick.
It wasn’t as if the Cardinals didn’t have opportunities, to expand on the issue of “multiple hits, little to show for it.” An old habit came back, leaving too many ducks on the pond, the Cardinals stranded eight. And to prove the missed load of opportunities, the Cards added to that LOB tally in seven of nine frames.
If there’s a bright side to the LOB situation, it’s that the Cardinals hit the ball hard, with three noted line drive outs, and plenty of well hit ground and fly outs. Outs are outs, but you can tell when the majority of them are hit pretty hard, and that’s where the offense was last night. Hard hit outs are also make for a growing frustration, when the other team’s hits fall in most of the time and your hits don’t. Crying over such occurrences, however, won’t get you prepped for the next games. At this point, considering the Cards did hit Meche well, just not for scored hits, the offense may be primed for a breakout game, especially considering Albert Pujols had rocked one off the right field fence, and adding Glaus’s round-tripper.
The 7-2 loss marks the fourth in a row to the Royals, with two more interleague games to play to finish up the second set of three.