Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cards slug their way back to even series

A see-saw slugfest ends with St. Louis scoring 3 in the 9th off Billy Wagner to win Game 2, 9-6

Say it ain't So! Taguchi's 9th inning HR provided winning margin for Cards

WP: Kinney
LP: Wagner
HRs: STL: Taguchi, Edmonds; NYM: Delgado (2)

I'm still not sure as this one was what everyone expected of most games in this series due to lack of pitching depth, but not with St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter on the mound. New York jumped all over Cy Carpenter early and often, starting with a Carlos Delgado 3-run bomb in the 1st inning and ending with another Delgado shot in the 5th. With his line(5IP, 6H, 5R, 4BB), you would think the high scoring Mets would have had a "W" for sure. Ah, but not on this wacky night, because that lack of pitching depth caught up to New York as well; rookie starter John Maine had an awful outing (4IP, 4R, 5BB, 88 pitches) including a 2run double to Yadier Molina in the 2nd and a 2-run HR to Jim Edmonds in the 3rd that knotted the game at 4. It would remain that way until the 5th, when the Mets got the lead run on Delgado's 2nd HR, then added another in the 6th when Paulie LoDuca doubled in Jose Reyes(3-4, 2R, 1RBI, 1BB) to take the 6-4 lead.

But the Cardinals would strike back against Guillermo Mota in the 7th. Scott Soulpatch Spieizio, a hero from the Angels World Series winning club 3 years ago, hit a deep flyball to rightfield with Pujols and Edmonds aboard. As the ball appeared to go over the fence, rightfielder Shawn Green knocked it back off the top of the wall and back onto the field. Meanwhile Pujols and Edmonds had motored around for a 2-run triple and the contest, or circus, was tied again, 6-6.

Remeber back in my NLCS preview to what I said about the Mets bullpen: "The Mets enjoy a decided advantage in the bullpen. Hard throwing closer Billy Wagner has lost some gas but can still be unhittable- when he isn't allowing game-winning bombs."
Okay, call me Nostradamus if you must, because as soon as you can say Armageddon, Wagner allowed a leadoff solo shot to light-hitting, seldom-used utility outfielder So Taguchi, who now has 2 hits, both HRs in this postseason after not hitting one since June 21st. Only in the playoffs, man. Just to make sure the Mets weren't coming back again, Wagner gave up another big hit to Spiezio (RBI 2B) and a run-scoring single to Juan Encarnacion for the final losing margin of 9-6.
I know Wagner has given up some big, game-blowing meltdown bombs before, but in this situation, when the Mets would have had a commanding 2-0 series lead, this one has got Brad Lidge Breakdown written all over it.

The only other multihomer game for the Mets in the NLCS was by Rusty Staub in Game 3 in 1973 against Cincinnati.
The Mets were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 2-for-15 in the series.
Delgado is making the most of his first postseason appearance:10-22 (.455),3HRs,6RBI.
Albert Pujols finally had a decent game (2-4, 3R)perhaps feeling the pressure to perform after his embarrassing comments regarding Glavine after Game 1-very out of character for the normally likable Phat Albert-hopefully it was a motivational ploy, as some analysts have suggested.

"I can't explain. It's unbelievable," he said. "Who expected that I would hit a home run? Maybe nobody. Even me."
Taguchi on being the unlikely homer hero

Game 3 switches to St. Louis tonight at 8Pm on FOX. The matchup will be Steve Traschel (15-8, 4.97) for the Mets vs. Jeff Suppan (12-7, 4.12) for the Cards. Thanks to the rainout, even though Carpenter didn't get the win, the Cards now have the rotation in their favor, being tied going home with their 2nd best pitcher on the mound. Look for the Cards to ride some of that momentum, plus the noise of all those mad Redbird fans, to another thrilling win.

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