Astros lose, 5-3 in NLCS opener
Bottom 1: After an Eckstein single, Pettitte gets Edmonds and Pujols to pop out. But on a 1-2 pitch, Sanders absolutely crushed a fastball over the plate and hit it 445 feet. Ouch.
Top 3: An Ausmus single and consecutive walks to Biggio and Taveras (!) load the bases. With one out, Berkman swings away at the first pitch he sees and grounds into a double play.
That was the ball game right there. The Cards would tack on a few runs on a suicide squeeze -- obviously -- and RBI singles by Eckstein and Pujols in the fifth. Oh, Ensberg got thrown out at the plate in the fourth after a leadoff double. That didn't help.
Although the score was 5-0 for a couple of innings, this game could and should have been closer. Berkman needs to see a few pitches in his bases-loaded at-bat. He smacked a double in the first, and maybe figured he saw a pitch he could handle. To his credit, he hit it hard but directly at Grudzielanek.
Pettitte apparently got hit in the knee by a batting practice grounder while he was warming up before the game. He said he was okay to pitch, but there was considerable swelling. I don't know how much this affected his performance, but he should have been able to keep the fourth adn fifth runs off the board.
So: Game Two, Oswalt vs. Mulder. This time Mulder's the one with a lingering injury: his left arm was struck in the Padres series. We need to make sure we score early... it sucks having to come back in Busch Stadium. Burke gets the start tonight in left. More homers, anyone?