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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dodgers Beat Cards In A Solid Game 1: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 3

Randy Wolf didn't stay on the mound long enough to collect a potential win in his first postseason appearance, but the Dodgers won anyway, with Jeff Weaver coming in to finish the fourth and all of the fifth, getting the win in relief, his fourth in postseason play. It wasn't easy: after Wolf plunked Matt Holliday, Weaver had to face Ryan Ludwick with the bases loaded and two out, with Yadier Molina on deck. But after a scary 0-1 pitch got hammered inches foul down the right field line, Weaver got Ludwick to tap one back to the box for the final out.

That, really, was the best chance the Cards had for the balance of the night, save possibly for the seventh, when Hong-Chih Kuo gave up consecutive singles to Molina and Mark DeRosa, but again got out of it with a strikeout to pinch-hitter Troy Glaus, who never looked good in the at-bat. He was swinging at pitches well high out of the zone, and his rust is clearly showing. (He's played in only 14 games this year, all of them in September/October, and has the .172 batting average to prove it.)

Meantime, I've said nothing at all about Cards ace starter Chris Carpenter, who picked a terrible time to have a bad game. He was about as bad as I've ever seen him, walking four batters and plunking Andre Ethier, one of two to be hit by St. Louis pitching last night; the other was Russell Martin in the sixth (by reliever Kyle McClellan), an act which drove in a run, the bases being loaded. That itself was fairly memorable, because the Dodgers walked away from that game with 16 stranded baserunners, leaving the bags juiced three different innings. That is to say, you can see, at some level, the Dodgers weren't necessarily hitting well once men were in scoring position, but they got on so frequently it hardly mattered.

So the Dodgers go up 1-0 on the Cards, and I have to confess to a sigh of relief. Losing game 1 at home would be an awful blow, especially given the Dodgers' poor record against St. Louis in recent years.

Update: Jon notes that the combined 30 men left on base (between the two teams) set a postseason single-game record. And of course I failed to mention the Dodgers' stirring comeback after a sloppy first, which included a two-run jack by Matt Kemp.

ESPN BoxDodger recap

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