With Chris Carpenter, not sharp in pitching for the first time on three days' rest in his career, out of the game after three innings Sunday night and the Cardinals down four runs to Cliff Lee, their chances of evening their National League Division Series at one game apiece did not look promising.
"Had it been the seventh or eighth inning, I think it would have been a different story," said second baseman Ryan Theriot, who had two key doubles that sparked the Cardinals' comeback. "It would have probably been more of a panic-type feeling. But it was early in the game.
"Our offense has been wonderful all year and, at that point, we had a lot of outs to give. What was it? The second inning, third inning, 4-0? Yeah, plenty of time."
The Cardinals' offense in their 5-4 win was resourceful against Lee, banging out 12 hits, five for extra bases. But the Cardinals' bullpen, having to rescue Carpenter earlier than expected, held the Phillies to one hit over the last six innings. That included six relievers.
Before Sunday's game, La
Russa had talked about a potential fifth-game dream matchup between two former
"I mean, that would be an experience of a lifetime for any of us," said La Russa. "But we're making it a series, which is fun.
LF Matt Holliday probably won't be of much use to the Cardinals in this series. Holliday, who has been out much of the last three weeks because of a tendon problem in his right palm, struck out as a pinch hitter to end Saturday's first game of the series and felt pain. "I'm more concerned than I was before yesterday's game," manager Tony La Russa said Sunday. "He did feel some pain when he swung (Saturday), so that's not the best news."
1B Albert Pujols, who has a sore right heel, felt better Sunday, according to manager Tony La Russa. "He may go several days without feeling it again where it's really painful. But he plays with it," La Russa said.
La Russa, in a televised interview during the game, criticized home-plate umpire Jerry Meals' strike zone, calling it "pitching to two different strike zones." Later, La Russa, who barked at Meals when both were at the pitchers' mound, said, "I've never had a problem with Jerry ever before. Whatever the strike zone is—it makes no difference to us—we'll adjust to it. That was my only point. He had to figure out what the strike zone was."
2B Ryan Theriot and CF Jon Jay, the seventh- and eighth-place hitters, each had two hits and combined for three runs batted in.
RHP Fernando Salas, who led the club with 24 saves, warmed up in the second inning and then pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth as manager Tony La Russa went through his entire bullpen, save for the extra starting pitchers. "I'm not going to lie," Octatio Dotel, the winning pitcher, said. "I didn't expect to see Salas warming up in the second inning."
BY THE NUMBERS: 1999 -
The year RHP Octavio Dotel scored his only other postseason win. He was pitching
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not going to say I was surprised because I always expect a lot out of myself. It's like my momma used to tell me, 'Reach for the stars. Because even if you don't get there, you might land on a cloud.' "
- Rookie OF Adron Chambers on making the postseason roster after having only eight regular-season at-bats.
LF Matt Holliday
(strained tendon in right palm) re-injured his hand Sept. 27 and left the game,
and he didn't play Sept. 28. He didn't start the opener of the NL Division
Series, but he appeared as a pinch hitter. However, he felt more pain during the
at-bat and is not likely to be able to contribute much the rest of the series.
He is scheduled to be re-examined in
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season. Wainwright was getting closer to throwing a full-strength bullpen session in September, but he will not be allowed to throw his signature curveball until next year.
Mon., October 3: No game
Tue., October 4: vs. PHILLIES: LHP Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56) 4:07 P.M. CDT (TBS, ESPN Radio, KMOX).
VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
Tony La Russa, Ryan Theriot and Jon Jay share their thoughts following the victory in Game 2 of the NLDS.
Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Tony La Russa sound off on the battle against Philadelphia and getting the win in Game 2.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel speaks with the media after the close loss to St Louis on Sunday.
Tony La Russa's full post-game comments
Q. You guys were down 4-0 to one of the best postseason pitchers right now. What does it say about your team, or what was the attitude as you guys were going through that game?
La Russa: Well, I mean, we were not happy because it's -- we know who he is, how he pitches, the team he pitches in front of. But we keep things real simple. We just are going to play nine, come [heck] or high water. The club has been so consistent about that.
I said before, if you watch us play a lot of times, we're not perfect, but we try to be perfect. In baseball, you get a base hit there and put a ball in play, good things happen.
Q. When you saw that Chris was struggling a little bit, were you OK with him starting for the first time on three days' rest in his career, can you evaluate his performance a little bit and whether you thought what he was doing or not doing to be effective?
La Russa: I think it should be obvious. To make a decision like that, Dave [Duncan] and I gave it a lot of thought. We've been around a long time, we know the risks. But you know, you have to prove to your team that you're going to take your best shot. If we would have won Game 1, maybe it would have changed it. But you can't leave here with the caliber of Lee out there and not put Carp out there. We had the perfect chance because of the really good game he pitched. So we were going to watch him, and we always watch him close, and we were not going to let him get to a place where he was real labored. But there was a couple there just missing. They're so explosive, he did a good job with getting out with what he did.
But at one point we just tied, I said, Dave, I feel good, he's not going to be the losing pitcher. We care that much about him.
Q. In the telecast you expressed some frustration about the strike zone. Can you expand on that? How big of an impact was that early in the game?
La Russa: Well, I don't think there's a manager around, coach, that doesn't watch the game and think about how you want it to be. You know, we care. I care, our team cares, and it's not a great comment to make, but I was upset. I've never had a problem with Jerry before, ever. The only thing I had a problem with -- one of the things, you go out there, whatever the strike zone is, it makes no difference to us, we'll adjust to it. That was my only point, he had to figure out what the strike zone was.
Q. You shuffled your bullpen a lot during the course of the season. Tonight every move you made worked. Just comment on the bullpen's effort tonight.
La Russa: You know, I think ... I mean, this is a players' game. The guys are put in tough situations because Carp left early; Salas was the seventh-, eighth-, ninth-inning pitcher, and he pitched early because he was rested and he has the ability to get right and lefts. Any one of those guys does not do the job, you know, we're not going to win the game.
At the end, Motte had to get four outs for a save. So it was just a matter of it's the playoffs, we're off tomorrow, you put the guys out there, and they came through. I mean, what Boggs did on Pence, Arthur striking out, Howard, I mean, they were heros all the way through the bullpen.
Q. Can you just speak to your seven and eight hitters in the lineup tonight really had their fingerprints all over it? Speak to the impact they had.
La Russa: If you watch us play, it happens so often that you expect it. That's one of our assets. I know we had a good year hitting this year as far as runs scored, and the reason is that we tried out eight tough outs. Guys take a lot of pride in competing, and it's a compliment, really, to the gentlemen that started yesterday and the gentlemen that started today. These guys are great competitors.
We know we're going to face Hamels and Oswalt, so we just try to compete as hard as they're going to compete against us. You got eight guys doing it, and we're never surprised when any part of the batting order does it. It happens often.
Q. People said, 'Why Lohse in the first game, why Carp pitching with three days' rest?' And it seems like this is really a pivotal game, now you go home with Garcia coming against this ballclub, am I right?
La Russa: Well, Lohse or him will start. I mean, if we hadn't had to use Carp on Wednesday, he would have pitched Friday I mean, Saturday. But Lohse, he did a good job yesterday. He made two bad pitches and gave up five runs, give credit to the Phillies. But like I said, it's tough.
Q. Now you're in pretty good shape with Garcia going against this ballclub, right?
La Russa: Yeah, we've got Garcia and then probably Edwin pitches Game 4. I said when I came here before the game started, I hope it comes down to Halladay and Carpenter. I mean, that would be an experience of a lifetime for any of us.
But we're making it a series, which is fun, exciting, and Garcia we expect to pitch well. I think Jackson will pitch well. But I know the other two guys are going to pitch well, too. It's fun to play against these guys.