Thursday, October 20, 2011
Cardinals get right combo for Game 1 win
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Allen Craig came through in a pinch and the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen came through every time it needed to make the right pitch in a Game 1 World Series win.
Chris Carpenter's diving swipe of first base was one of many key outs in the Cardinals Game 1 win.
Craig’s pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth inning gave the Cardinals the lead for good. It was the first go-ahead RBI by a pinch-hitter in the World Series since Wade Boggs walked in the 10th inning of Game 4 for the 1996 New York Yankees in their win over the Atlanta Braves.
Craig, who was 7-for-22 as a pinch-hitter in the regular season, became the first Cardinals player with a pinch-hit go-ahead RBI game in the World Series since Brian Harper in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series (the game that featured the famous missed call at first base in the ninth inning by Don Denkinger).
That play made a winner of Chris Carpenter, who won his sixth straight postseason decision in Busch Stadium (both the old one and the current one).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the fourth pitcher to win his first six home decisions in postseason play, joining Mariano Rivera (7), Curt Schilling (7) and Orel Hershiser (6) (the latter two are covering the World Series for ESPN).
Lance Berkman continued his history of timely postseason hitting with two RBI. According to Elias, Berkman has the most RBI for any player within the first five World Series games of his career, with eight (six for the 2005 Astros).
C.J. Wilson fell to 0-3 this postseason with his Game 1 loss. He’s the first pitcher to lose Game 1 of the World Series and the All-Star Game in the same season since Dock Ellis in 1971.
It is the second time in team history that the Cardinals won Game 1 of the World Series by one run. The other instance was against the Boston Red Sox in 1967. That 2-1 win was headlined by a complete game victory from Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, four hits from Hall of Famer Lou Brock, and two RBI from Roger Maris.
Winning Game 1 of the World Series has been significant recently. In the previous 23 World Series, the Game 1 winner won the series 19 times.
ST. LOUIS BULLPEN CONTINUES TO SHINE
The Cardinals are the third team to have four relievers make scoreless appearances of less than an inning in the same World Series game, the most such appearances in one game in World Series history. The other two teams were also managed by Tony La Russa -- the 2006 Cardinals (Game 2) and 1988 Athletics (Game 5), each of whom lost that game.
Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski continued his impressive run this postseason with a pair of strikeouts to escape a seventh-inning jam.
Rzepczynski had only fanned one of the 14 right-handed hitters he’d faced in the LDS and LCS, but got the needed whiffs to preserve a one-run lead on seven pitches, six of which were offspeed (three sliders to Craig Gentry, and then three more sliders to Esteban German.)
He was followed by Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes, the latter of whom turns 42 on October 24th and became the oldest pitcher to earn a hold in a World Series game.