Cardinals win wild Miami opener Monday night

The St. Louis Cardinals overcame a late deficit, shaky relief work and an umpire error to beat the home Miami Marlins in 10 innings on Monday night.



In essence, the Cardinals beat the Miami Marlins, 8-7, in 10 innings Monday night both in spite of themselves and because of themselves. Home-plate umpire Bob Davidson had a little to do with it, too. But if the Cardinals' season amounts to anything, they may well look back at this game as a watershed moment.


In the seventh, after the Cardinals had cut Miami's lead to 2-1, left fielder Matt Holliday, who has 11 hits in his last four games, batted with the bases loaded and two outs. Holliday sent what might have been a two-run, go-ahead single to right field but the smash hit center fielder Shane Robinson, the baserunner at first. Holliday had his hit, officially, but Robinson was declared out, ending the inning.


Then in the bottom of the inning, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought in right-hander Eduardo Sanchez, the reliever with the least control on the Cardinals' staff, with runners at second and third and one out and Miami shortstop Jose Reyes the hitter.


Matheny had Sanchez walk Reyes intentionally, loading the bases. The Cardinals still had two outs to get and Sanchez is said to have the best swing-and-miss stuff on the staff. But, sometimes, the opponents don't have to swing.


After getting ahead of third baseman Hanley Ramirez 1-2, Sanchez threw three straight balls to force in a run. And then he walked right fielder Gioncarlo Stanton to shove across another run. Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski relieved and was nicked for a forceout grounder and an infield hit, which scored a run apiece, and it was 6-1. Sanchez has walked 13 hitters in 14 innings.


The Cardinals scored one run in the eighth and than blindsided Marlins right-hander Heath Bell, their closer, with a four-run ninth, capped by catcher Yadier Molina's two-run homer with two out.


The eighth-inning rally had been cut short, in part, because of three called third strikes by Davidson, who then appeared to mess up Matheny's double-switch lineup move in the bottom of the ninth.


Matheny had wanted to bring in right-hander Victor Marte and take out third baseman David Freese, who had made the final out of the ninth. Freese was the No. 7 hitter, but Davidson somehow put Marte in the No. 5 spot on his card and conveyed that to Miami manager Ozzie Guillen.


After Ramirez singled off Marte, Guillen brought up his lineup card to Davidson, saying that Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig, the No. 5 hitter, should be out of the game, and, after many conversations between the umpires and both managers and the umpires among themselves, Craig had to come out and Tony Cruz, who was the Cardinals' last position player, entered the game at first base.


Matheny, in his first year as a manager, said he had listened to veteran managers discuss how best to let the umpires know of a complicated lineup change -- write it down in front of them at home plate. And so, he wrote Marte in the No. 7 spot on his card. He also was noting that Tyler Greene was coming in at second base in the No. 9 position and that second baseman Daniel Descalso was going to third base.


"I don't know where it got switched to '5.' Somehow, the '5' hole came up," said Matheny. "If that what's he heard, that's what he heard and I screwed up."

Guillen actually would pay for the lineup mixup. After the Cardinals had gone ahead, 7-6, in the 10th inning on shortstop Rafael Furcal's double, Guillen intentionally walked Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran to load the bases for Marte in the No. 5 spot, knowing the Cardinals were out of position players. Matheny sent up right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly, a former outfielder at Cal-Riverside.


Kelly, after falling behind 0-2, legged out an infield hit to plate what proved to the winning run. Closer Jason Motte allowed one run in the home 10th before getting Reyes on a liner to center with two on to end the game.


"Unbelievable," said Matheny of the whole night's proceedings.



RHP Joe Kelly, pinch hitting in the 10th inning because the Cardinals were out of position players after a lineup mixup, got his first big-league hit, a run-scoring infield single with the bases loaded. Kelly, a rookie who has been in the majors less than two weeks, said, "They told me to get loose and I started swinging. I was the most nervous I could be. I was thinking I might actually come up in a situation where I'd have to hit. The first couple of pitches (from Miami right-hander Chad Gaudin) were nasty sliders. I thought I was going to get a first-pitch fastball because I'm a pitcher. I just put (the 0-2 pitch) in play and started running. I knew I could beat out the ball."

SS Rafael Furcal's double in the 10th inning gave the Cardinals their first lead Monday night. Furcal sliced a hit to left field, scoring 2B Tyler Greene, who had singled, from first base. When you've got a team like we have, we play like a champion," Furcal said. "We never give up. As soon as (Greene) got that base hit, I said, 'It's my turn.' I was 0-for-4."

RHP Chris Carpenter did not face hitters, as scheduled, before Monday's game, because he had felt on Sunday a renewed weakness in his right shoulder. That was the issue, caused by a nerve irritation, that had shut him down in spring training. "We need to find out why it's doing it," Carpenter said. "That's what we don't know. … It's just not strong enough to throw." General manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter would be re-examined when the team returned to St. Louis on Thursday. Carpenter, progressing quickly, seemed headed for a rehabilitation assignment, and Mozeliak said, "Anytime you come off a planned program, it's not perfect. But, rather than jump to conclusions, we'll give it a few days and re-evaluate it."

CF James Ramsey, the club's second pick in the first round of the recent first-year player draft, has agreed to terms and, after he takes a physical later in the week, will report to one of the team's Class A affiliates.

3B David Freese has hit safely in six straight games at 10 for 24 and is over .280 after dipping into the .250s.

By the Numbers:

19-5 - Cardinals' record against the Marlins in Miami since the start of the 2005 season.

Quote to Note:

"The only thing I can say is that he's been doing this a lot longer than I have."

- Manager Mike Matheny, referring to home-plate umpire Bob Davidson and a lineup-card mixup in the ninth inning.


LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6. After further examination, it was determined that he has tearing in his rotator cuff. He won't throw until at least late July and is out until at least mid-August.

1B Lance Berkman (torn meniscus in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list May 20. He had arthroscopic surgery May 25, and no ACL damage was found. He might be able to resume baseball activity in late June.

RHP Kyle McClellan (strained right ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18. He won't need surgery but likely will be sidelined until at least late July.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He was expected to get a few more days off before trying again.

Link to boxscore: St. Louis 8 at Miami 7 (10 innings)

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