Cardinals Lose World Series Game 5, Down 3-2

The St. Louis Cardinals stranded a dozen runners and had bullpen problems in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the World Series Monday night. They return home down three games to two in the best of seven series.



The Cardinals' 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the World Series Monday night was a confusing affair. At least there was plenty of confusion between the Cardinals' dugout and the bullpen and also on a key hit-and-run play.

Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski allowed a two-run double with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to Texas catcher Mike Napoli, whom Rzepczynski apparently wasn't supposed to face. Rzepczynski was supposed to retire the previous hitter, David Murphy, but botched a potential double-play ball. That loaded the bases with one out.

Manager Tony La Russa said he had called the bullpen to get Rzepczynski and closer Jason Motte both ready. Bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist heard only Rzepczynski. La Russa said he called back and asked for Motte but, he said, "They heard (Lance) Lynn."

Once Murphy reached base, Rzepczynski was left in to face Napoli, who already had hit two homers in the Series.

Ultimately, Lynn, who was supposed to have the day off, came in to pitch. La Russa had gone to the mound and waved for a right-hander, expecting Motte, but Lynn showed up.

"I went, 'Oh, what are you doing here?' " said La Russa.

Then La Russa had Lynn intentionally walk Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler. Motte finally came in to strike out shortstop Elvis Andrus, ending the inning.

On the offensive end, the Cardinals did nothing after the second inning. They stranded 12 runners and were 1-for-12 with men in scoring position.

One other note of confusion came when right fielder Allen Craig was thrown out trying to steal second for the second out of the seventh inning.

Craig said he saw the hit-and-run sign from third-base coach Jose Oquendo. There was a report that Pujols had suggested that he had put the hit-and-run sign on. La Russa called it a "mixup."

Pujols then was walked intentionally for the third time, with nobody on base ahead of left fielder Matt Holliday, who singled on this occasion after failing the two times before that. Another intentional walk to designated hitter Lance Berkman followed, and then third baseman David Freese flied out.

Forty-one hitters, an astonishingly high number for only a two-run game, came to bat for the Cardinals. Nine of them walked. Seven of them got a hit. One was hit by a pitch. Only two scored.

"We just weren't good with runners in scoring position," said Craig. "We'll get them tomorrow. Or the next day. We're going to come back in Game 6 and give them a run for their money."



Related article at The Cardinal Nation Blog: "Two of a record 65 Cardinals pitching changes that did not work"



RF Allen Craig has ridden the World Series train from hero to not quite as heroic. After getting three hits in his first three-at-bats, including two run-scoring pinch singles and a home run in his first World Series start, Craig is 0 for his last 9. "Unfortunately, it's the nature of the beast," said Craig. "In the playoffs, you're looking at my last 10 at-bats. I was 3-for-3 in my first three at-bats in the World Series and it's kind of magnified. During the regular season, 10 at-bats goes by quick. It's just kind of magnified because it's the postseason."

CF Jon Jay, 0-for-14 in his first four World Series games, took a seat as veteran INF/OF Skip Schumaker started in CF Monday night and had a single and run-scoring groundout. Schumaker, recovering from an oblique injury, had not started since Game 5 of the Division Series, when he opened in center and then hurt himself. "If you know Jay, he's starting to pull his hair out because he's just not right at the plate," said manager Tony La Russa. "There's no reason to bury him." Jay finished up in the field after Schumaker was lifted for a pinch hitter.

SS Rafael Furcal, the leadoff man, was 2-for-16 in the first four games but stayed in the lineup. Furcal is in his first World Series after eight previous playoff appearances, and manager Tony La Russa said, "There are a lot of guys who are tied with him, but he wants it bad. And the harder he tries, sometimes the more he gets in his own way." Furcal was 1-for-4 on Monday.

LHP Jaime Garcia, who blanked Texas for seven innings in Game 1, will work Game 6 on Wednesday in St. Louis. Rain is expected.

LF Matt Holliday had been 2-for-17 and 0-for-9 until he singled in the seventh inning after an intentional walk to 1B Albert Pujols with nobody on base. This was just the third time that one player had been walked intentionally three times in one game.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 - C Yadier Molina had three hits for the Cardinals in Game 5, marking the first time a catcher had three hits in a World Series game since 2006 … when Molina had three hits in the Game 5 clincher against Detroit.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was just a mixup. On our team, nobody gets thrown under the bus. So it was just a mixup."

- Manager Tony La Russa on a seventh-inning hit-and-run that went awry.





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.

NEXT GAME – World Series Game 6


Wed., October 26: vs. RANGERS: Jaime Garcia vs. Colby Lewis, 7:05 P.M. CDT (FOX Network, ESPN Radio, KMOX).


<a href='' target='_new' title='La Russa on 4-2 Game 5 loss'>Video: La Russa on 4-2 Game 5 loss</a>
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa discusses the bullpen mixup and the rest of his thoughts on Game 5.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Cardinals on Game 5 loss'>Video: Cardinals on Game 5 loss</a>
The Cardinals react after falling 4-2 to the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the World Series.

Tony La Russa's post-game comments (from MLB and ASAP Sports)

Q. Could you take us through that sequence with Albert and Craig in I think it was the 7th first?

TONY LA RUSSA: 7th? Oh, yeah, it was just a mix up. It was a mix up, and on our team nobody gets thrown under the bus. So it was a mix up.

Q. Did he miss a sign?

TONY LA RUSSA: It was a mix up, and that's all I'm going to say.

Q. And then the ninth inning was just the play that was on

TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, I trusted Albert could put the ball in play. In fact, the two swings that he fouled the ball off with the second baseman going over, the hole was there and all of a sudden it was first and third and nobody out and the last pitch, the guy has a very live arm and it sailed on him and he missed. I liked sending him and having a chance to open that inning up, and it didn't work.

Q. The ball off Murphy's bat on the come backer, did you at first think that was going to be a double play?

TONY LA RUSSA: I mean, all you had to do is ask Punto and Furcal, that's a tough break, but that happens in the game. But yeah, he made a great pitch, but it happens. Sometimes it happens for us, today it happened against us.

Q. Could you take us through the thought process leaving Rzepczynski in to pitch to Napoli.

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, what happened was that twice the bullpen didn't hear Motte's name. They heard "Rzepczynski" and they didn't get Motte. I looked up there and Motte wasn't going. So I called back for Motte and they got Lynn up. That's why he wasn't supposed to pitch today, so I wasn't going to let him throw that hitter. He just threw the warmups and walked him and Motte behind was ready. I don't know if it was noisy, probably real noisy. They just didn't hear the second time.

Q. (Inaudible).

TONY LA RUSSA: They heard "Rzepczynski" and they didn't hear "Motte", and when I called back I said "Motte", they heard "Lynn". So I went out there, wrong guy. He's not going to pitch today. I said, "Go back, get Motte ready. We'll walk the guy because I don't want Lynn to he is not supposed to pitch. I didn't want to hurt him. And then Motte came in. That's why -- it must be loud. I give the fans credit.

Q. Has that ever happened to you before where you had a call to the bullpen and guys didn't hear you right?

TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, well, sometimes real loud, especially when some of the bullpens that are right amidst the fans and excitement. It happens in Philadelphia. It's hard to hear it there. So it's not unusual. Maybe we need to come up with some ear mikes or something.

Q. Just to be clear, if Motte was ready, he would have faced Napoli?


Q. So you had no choice at that point

TONY LA RUSSA: He was warming up, so I said, "Get Motte up," and they heard "Lynn". But by the way, we had a chance with Rzepczynski's stuff to get Napoli the first pitch, and then he put a nice swing on a breaking ball.

Q. A couple times when you bunted early, it ended up, whether directly or not, with the bat being taken out of Albert's hands. If you have those to do again, do you do them the same way?

TONY LA RUSSA: Let me ask you a question, if a guy was on second base and if Craig doesn't get him in or over, what are they going to do with Albert? They're not going to pitch to him. So what you do is you get the base. We had Matt with a runner at third, we had Craig with a runner at third, and they pitched well and those are the guys we'll bank on the next two games we play. Yeah, it was 2 0, looking for a run, and Albert wasn't going to hit in that situation. This gives Matt a chance, and I'll take our chances with Matt.

Q. Two major things in this game, with Craig in the seventh was a mix up, the bullpen with Motte not being ready was a mix up. How frustrating is it to have two mix ups have such an impact in the game?

TONY LA RUSSA: I was more frustrated the double play ball went off the glove and the fact we had numerous chances to add runs. That's probably more frustrating. The other part just happens. I mean, it's loud down there, and sometimes you call down there and you have to wait until the crowd -- and a guy gets up late. I mean, this is not unusual.

Q. Not to be dense, but what's the sort of procedure in terms of when you guys have the phone call and call down there, who gets the word, and how do they convey it?

TONY LA RUSSA: The bullpen coach hears it, and like he heard "Lynn".

Q. Oh, he heard "Lynn"?

TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, that's why Lynn got up, and I went out there. I thought it was Motte, and they were yelling at me as I went out. I didn't hear them. It wasn't Motte. So I saw Lynn, I went, oh, what are you doing here?

Q. On the telephone he didn't hear it?

TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, when you say "Motte", they heard "Lynn". It wasn't supposed to be Lynn because he wasn't going to pitch today.

Q. I think this was brought up earlier but is there a problem when something like that can happen? Is there a better way to do it, bullpen phones in this day and age?

TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, smoke signals from the dugout. There are times, like what happened in Philadelphia, the phone went out, and so we used cell phones, and then the Phillies brought down walkie talkies, and they fixed the phone. But that phone in a loud ballpark, it's not an unusual problem. I mean, it doesn't make it right, but...

Q. You said it happened twice?

TONY LA RUSSA: When Rzepczynski first got up, I mentioned Motte's game.

Q. So Motte ends up -- did you want both of them to get up?

TONY LA RUSSA: Motte was just going to go along because I was hoping that we'd get the left hander out and then we were not going to pitch to Napoli, and then we were going to go after Moreland. And then Motte would have been ready if they brought a pinch hitter.

Q. I guess this is a protocol question: If Lynn isn't available for this game, doesn't your bullpen coach know that?

TONY LA RUSSA: He's available in an emergency, but I wasn't going to use him. But if he hears "Lynn" and I'm the manager, what is he going to say

Q. That's why I was saying is there a protocol thing. Does he say "Tony, are you sure on Lynn?" Or something like that?

TONY LA RUSSA: I'm sure he's thinking that now, but when you hear something, he had a day off, but like I said, he wasn't going to pitch until Game 6. I saw the big fella come in, and I said, "Why are you here?" He came to pitch. "Walk the guy," because the next guy was going to pitch.

Q. The decision to pass Cruz, was that done with the idea thinking you had Motte for Napoli?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I was more thinking that we had a real good chance with Rzepczynski with a pinch hitter or not, and if we got an out or not we were going to pitch around Napoli and then go after the left hander. And if the worst happens, then we would have stalled and got Motte ready for Napoli. But he wasn't throwing,so we couldn't get him ready. That's when I called the second time and said "Motte" and they heard "Lynn".

Q. One more clarification: Is that conversation between Dunc and Lilliquist?

TONY LA RUSSA: It depends who makes the call. I made the call.

Q. So you made both calls?

TONY LA RUSSA: Today I did.

Q. To what degree do you think Holliday is still limited by the hand?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean, he hit a ball to left center. I think he got pitched tough and he fouled pitches when he had a chance to. I give their pitchers credit. Those were big at bats. That's one of our strengths. You don't pitch to Albert, then you pitch to Holliday. Craig can hit left handers, they punched him out. We had a lot of chances. What did we have, nine or ten times to add a run. And Chris was great, got two outs, nobody on, the guy hits a curveball to tie it. He pitched great. Got the next three outs. It's a really tough loss because we had the opportunity to add the runs where you can make a mistake or have some kind of snafu and you still win the game. So it's a very disappointing, frustrating loss.

Q. With those missed chances to add, to what extent was that those guys pitching are pretty good and to what extent maybe were you guys getting out of their approaches or anything like that?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean, you know, the same guys that produce offense one day that don't produce the other day, they don't stink. We have really good hitters, so if somebody gets them out, give credit to the pitchers. I told the guys, we tried, perfect. There wasn't anything for eight and a half innings that was wrong with the way we went about it. We played our butts off. We tried perfect. We didn't play perfect at times. So give the other guys credit. I do. That's my suggestion.

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