The Cardinals won dominantly yesterday over the Pirates, 7-4. The game had some great defensive highlights, while the Cardinals beat up on Pirates starter Ian Snell for 5 runs in the second.
After the Pirates scored one run to go up 1-0 in the top of the 2nd, the Cardinals put together a rally of 5 singles and a walk, reminiscent of Whitey Herzog's small ball (though without the beating out ground balls and peskiness at the plate, which is nearly uncopyable by anyone except Whitey). The rally was capped off by a 2 run single by Skip Schumaker. What's amazing is that the two key players, Pujols and Ludwick, went hitless. A great way by the rest of the team to step it up and play. Schumaker also drove in a run later with a double. Skip finished the game 2 for 4, with 3 RBIs. The starting pitcher, Braden Looper, helped himself twice by going 2 for 2, driving in a run, and scoring twice. Overall, Cardinal pitchers have been very strong offensively compared to other pitchers this year. Troy Glaus put the game totally away in the 7th with a solo homer. He finished 3 for 4, scoring twice and driving in one. Every starter got on base except for Ludwick. Joe Mather also got a hit in pinch hit duty.
Now let's talk about what was fun. The defense. Rick Ankiel made a Jim Edmonds-esque catch. He wasn't playing as shallow as Jim-E used to do, but probably one of the hardest balls to catch is when it is hit to dead center-the deepest part of the field, right over your head. That's exactly what Xavier Nady did. And Ankiel dove head first, about 5 feet from the wall, caught the ball, and then slid on his chest on the warning track. He got a standing ovation, deservedly so. Go to stlcardinals.com and see the highlight on the right side of the home page on the video corner, if you didn't see it. It was amazing. Skip Schumaker also made a nice diving catch in left field after a bad jump on the ball. Troy Glaus had a solid defensive game too. He snagged a sharp grounder to 3rd and gunned down the runner by a step at first. He also started one of two Cardinal double plays.
Braden Looper went 5.2 innings, giving up just 3 runs on 8 hits. He was an out away from getting a QS. He pitched well enough for the win, though. I think once the offense gave him 5 runs of support, he was able to relax and just pitch. I think that's been important for the Cardinal starters this year to give them some more experience. The bullpen gave up just one run, which may not have scored had Ludwick not made an error in right. Ryan Franklin added a bit of drama to the 9th, but still got the save without giving up any runs.
The Cubs keep winning, unfortunately, and lead the Cardinals by 2 1/2 games, even though the Cards are 10 games above .500. The last time the Cubs had the best record in baseball was 1908...I think we all know what they did that year. Hopefully, that won't happen this year.
So...I have two pictures that represent the past 100 years of Cub history: