In Game 1, the Cardinals tied a postseason record with five home
runs. They stayed in the ballpark for Game 2 on Thursday, but the
result was exactly the same: another 8-3 win over the Los Angeles
"I think we're capable of playing a lot of different ways,"
manager Tony La Russa said. "Sometimes you take whatever the
pitcher gives you."
A trio of MVP candidates has carried the Cardinals' offense much
of the year, with Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds each
driving in 100 runs. Those three were 1-for-11 in Game 2, but the
bottom of the order picked them up by going 8-for-10 with five RBI
and five runs scored.
"It's always nice to take a little pressure off those guys and
make them feel like they don't have to carry us every game,"
Matheny said. "It's amazing to watch those guys day in and day
out, to see how consistent they are."
Following a sweep at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals will head to
Dodger Stadium with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five NL playoff
series. The third game will be Saturday night, with Matt Morris
trying to wrap it up against Jose Lima.
"It's not going to be easy, that's for sure," Dodgers manager
Jim Tracy said. "But I'm not going to sit here and say it can't be
Milton Bradley, Shawn Green and Jayson Werth homered for the
Dodgers, who lost their eighth straight playoff game and remained
winless in the postseason since beating Oakland in the 1988 World
Series. Los Angeles dropped to 0-5 at St. Louis this year.
The Cardinals combined eight singles, two doubles and one
triple, and the closest they came to a home run was Tony Womack's
triple off the base of the wall in the second and a drive to the
wall by winning pitcher Dan Haren.
Seven of their eight runs scored with two outs as St. Louis used
a small-ball approach to chase Jeff Weaver in the fifth inning.
"They made things happen when they got men on base," Weaver
said. "Vice versa, we didn't do that. It was the bottom of the
order that hurt us."
Matheny, the No. 8 hitter, became the first Cardinals player to
get four RBI in a division series game with two-run singles in the
fifth and seventh. Matheny is a career .239 hitter, but is
15-for-39 (.385) during an 11-game postseason hitting streak.
Renteria, the No. 6 hitter, was 3-for-4. His two-out, go-ahead
single was the key blow in a three-run fifth that broke a tie and
put St. Louis ahead 6-3.
Reggie Sanders was 3-for-3 and scored twice in the No. 7 slot.
"It is gratifying to have the bottom of the order come
through," Sanders said. "This is a collective effort."
The Cardinals overcome a shaky outing by 15-game winner Jason
Marquis, making his first career postseason start. He couldn't hold
a 3-1 second-inning lead, allowing homers to Werth in the first and
to Green and Bradley on consecutive at-bats to start the fourth.
The homer by Bradley, the Dodgers' troubled right fielder who
had a run-in with a Los Angeles reporter on the off-day Wednesday,
was a drive estimated at 461 that ricocheted off the right-field
Marquis lasted only 3 1-3 innings -- his shortest outing of the
year -- and allowed three homers for the second time of the year.
Both came against the Dodgers and both had added pressure -- his
Sept. 10 outing in Los Angeles came on the day his first daughter,
Reese, was born, and he was unable to get a flight in time to be
present for the birth.
Haren worked two scoreless innings, allowing one hit with three
strikeouts. He's projected to be in the rotation next year, with
both Morris and Game 1 starter Woody Williams eligible for free
"Dan, he's a cool dude," La Russa said. "He's tough as nails
and gave us two good innings."
Marquis was done after a one-out walk to David Ross in the
fourth, but the Dodgers missed their best chance to break the game
open. Cal Eldred walked Cesar Izturis and Werth with two outs and
went to a 3-0 count against Steve Finley before getting him on a
fly out to center on a full-count pitch.
"That was our opportunity and I think that was a big key to the
game," Tracy said. "If we can get the lead there, we put
ourselves in a pretty good position."
Weaver made his first career postseason start and endured his
second straight shaky postseason outing, giving up six runs on
eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. Last year, he was with the Yankees and
surrendered a 12th-inning, game-winning homer to Alex Gonzalez of
the Marlins in the pivotal Game 4 of the World Series.
Weaver worked around two walks in the first when he struck out
Edmonds for the final out. He had another shaky inning in the
second and the Cardinals capitalized, with the first run scoring on
Weaver's wild pickoff throw to first.
With two outs, Tony Womack hit an RBI triple off the right-field
wall and Larry Walker followed with a run-scoring double just
inside the first-base line for a 3-1 lead.
Weaver faced the Cardinals twice in September and was 0-0
despite allowing nine earned runs in 13 innings. ... Marquis was
1-3 with a 5.34 ERA in his last five regular-season starts. ... The
game lasted 3 hours, 36 minutes, the longest in division play for
the Cardinals. ... The Cardinals' bullpen has allowed one run in 8
2-3 innings in the first two games of the series.