09/15/2004: Magic Number Watch:
Still 5. The Cardinals lost to the Astros, 7-5, featuring a last ditch, bottom-of-the-ninth, four run, almost-coulda-been-but-not-quite-there rally which saw Albert Pujols, the potential tying run, being intentionally walked so that Brad Lidge, the Houston closer, could pitch to So Taguchi, who'd come into the game as a defensive replacement for Jim Edmonds (Oh, to have had Edmonds batting in that situation). The win for Houston represented Roger Clemens's 327th career win. Meanwhile, Chicago apparently pulled off a 12th inning victory against the Pirates, so Pittsburgh let us down, too.... *grin*
UPDATE: Brian Gunn at Redbird Nation has a great description of the bottom of the ninth of last night's game (which, I have to reiterate, was a hell of an exciting time, especially when it looked like we might just pull it out):
What happened in the bottom of the ninth was one of the damnedest things I've seen on a ballfield. The score was 7-1 going into the last frame and, as I said, the Cards were just going through the motions, playing out the string. But with one out they built a rally on a walk to Luna, a single by Matheny, a single by Marlon Anderson, and a double by Cody McKay. Luna, Matheny, Anderson, McKay! They didn't all get hits in a row (Mabry struck out in the middle of all that), but each of those guys has an OBP well south of .300. The chance that they all reach base in the same inning can't be much greater than, say, 2 or 3%.
But that wasn't even the weirdest part of the inning. That would be with two outs, during Reggie Sanders' at bat, when he popped up between short and third. Joe Buck declared the game over, probably took off his headset, and might have been in his car traveling down highway 40, when the shortstop and thirdbaseman got tangled up and the ball dropped in the infield! You see that kinda thing -- what? -- maybe once or twice a decade? And how many times do you see it to keep the game alive? Never?
That brought Pujols to the plate as the tying run, which would have been great and all, but Brad Lidge was coming in from the pen, So Taguchi was on deck, and all Lidge had to do was issue a pass to Pujols then carve up the Gootch. Which is exactly what happened. It's a shame SoTag came in to spell Edmonds in the 7th, with the Cards down by six runs, or it would have been Lidge vs. Edmonds for all the marbles (or at least Lidge would have been compelled to come at Pujols). Oh well. I guess it was too much to ask for back-to-back miracles, and the Cards took a 7-5 loss. And truth be told, losing to the Astros (a great story this Fall) and Roger Clemens (great, period) doesn't hurt much at all.
Len on 09.15.04 @ 06:05 AM CST