Facing elimination, the Cards last night took on the Astros down in Houston. We’d lost three in a row — the last time the Cards lost four games in a row was last season at the hands of the BoSox in the World Series. Could we avoid four in a row against the Astros?
We had Carpenter hurling for us, and they foisted Pettitte on us — a great pitching matchup. The Cards, though, looked like they did against Boston last year in the World Series — spent, lackluster, and missing the fire in their eyes. It was a close game until the bottom of the 7th when Berkman popped a three-run homer, giving Houston a two-run lead. The Houston fans and bench were dancing and screaming, carrying on like they’d already won.
Fast forward to the top of the ninth. Lidge came in to pitch and struck out our first two batters, and then had to face Eckstein. The little man worked Lidge for a hit, which brought Edmonds to the plate as the tying run. Now, Edmonds hasn’t been impressive lately with the bat, but somehow finessed a base on balls out of Lidge. This brought up Pujols as the potential winning run. Obviously Pujols wanted to play more — he cranked a huge three-run homer to give us the lead for good. That was the longest home run I’d seen hit in the series, and it could’ve have come at a better time! Had Fox not had already named Berkman as the player of the game, I’m sure Pujols would’ve gotten the nod — like Fox says on their commercials, you can’t script October, and even they thought the game was a done deal. Not quite.
What was amazing to me was the deafening silence that ensued after Pujols did his damage. It went from raucus to stone dead quiet, almost like someone flipped a switch. And of course, the Astros bench was devastated. To be as close as one strike to going to the World Series, and then have it all yanked away… well, that’s gotta be a tough deal. However, I think with that huge win, and the focus moving to St. Louis, I like the Cards’ chances.
So, Busch Stadium gets a reprieve from the wrecking ball, and baseball once again will grace the grass field come Wednesday. Ya-hoo!