World Series Game 3 – Tue. 10/24 – Cards 5-0

The St. Louis Cardinals took the third game of the 2006 World Series over the Detroit Tigers on a 5-0 shutout at Busch Stadium on Tuesday night, leading the Series two games to one. Chris Carpenter was in total command, with a three-hit shutout over eight. Jim Edmonds delivered a clutch two-run double. Mistakes by the Tigers' bullpen allowed the final three runs to score.

Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter pitched masterfully, allowing just three hits in eight shutout innings. He fanned six, walked no one and threw just 82 pitches. Braden Looper finished up.

Against lower than low odds, Jim Edmonds collected a two-run double off the lefty Nate Robertson, who was nails against hitters from that side. The final three runs that sealed the Tigers' coffin scored on their "Z" men. First was an ugly throwing error by 100-MPH pitcher Joel Zumaya for two runs, then a wild pitch by Zach Miner for the last run. Guess there is more to the game than just throwing hard.

The match-up
Chris Carpenter vs. Nate Robertson.

The line-up
Eckstein, Wilson (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Belliard, Edmonds, Molina, Taguchi (RF) and Reyes.
Ron Belliard hit fifth only twice all regular season. Jim Edmonds never hit lower than his current sixth except for a few pinch-hit situations during 2006, but against a lefty is the right time to do it. Juan Encarnacion sat.

On to the game…

Tigers first – No runs this time
After allowing six of his ten post-season runs allowed overall in the first inning so far, it was great to see Carpenter retire the Tigers in order.

Cards first – Kept on the infield
Eckstein was out trying to bunt and is still looking for his first hit of the Series. Wilson lined out to former Cardinal Placido Polanco at second base. Pujols was retired 6-3.

Tigers second – Four-pitch inning
Carp is cruising early.

Cards second – Baserunner
Edmond drew a two-out walk, but Molina lined out to left.

Tigers third – 90 feet away
Brandon Inge singled to center with one out and the pitcher sacrificed him to second. A wild pitch that Molina tried to backhand put him at third. Another bouncer almost let the runner in. Curtis Granderson was retired 4-3.

Cards third – Outs
Three fly balls to center.

Tigers fourth – Up and down
Maggio Ordonez lined out to Taguchi in right to finish out a 1-2-3 inning.

Cards fourth – Edmonds delivers two
Leading off, Wilson singled sharply over short. Unluckily, on a ball four pitch, Pujols shot a double the other way, down the right field line. I say unlucky because the ball bounced into the seats, costing the Cards a run, since Wilson was stopped at third. Rolen walked to load the bases. Belliard's chopper caused a lead runner force out at home. Just as Joe Buck goes on and on about Robertson's success against lefty hitters, coupled with Edmonds' season-long struggles against them made him an automatic out, right? His two-run double down the left field line was a great piece of hitting. Molina was walked intentionally to re-load the bases with two out. Taguchi popped up for the second out. Encarnacion could have done better than that. Carp finished off the frame. Cards 2-0.

Tigers fifth – A hit
Sean Casey singled to left with two out. He was stranded as Inge fanned.

Cards fifth – Be a hitter, not a looker!
Eckstein singled leading off and Rolen singled with two down. But, Belliard took strike three looking.

Tigers sixth – Pitching change coming
Alexis Gomez hit for Robertson and was retired, as were the next two batters.

Cards sixth – Two pitchers for three outs
Wil Ledesma took over on the mound. Molina stroked a one-hopper off the wall in right center for a double. Fireballer Joel Zumaya pitched to So Taguchi. That was just unfair as So fanned swinging on a breaking ball after being unable to handle the heat. Carp was out one pitch later.

Tigers seventh – Cramping
With one out, trainer Barry Weinberg and La Russa came out to check out Carpenter's right, pitching hand. He is at only 63 pitches, so it would have been a bad break had he been removed. Despite the thumb cramp, Carp continued as Josh Kinney warmed up. Taguchi made a nice sliding catch off Ordonez, running straight in toward the infield.

Cards seventh – Zumaya meltdown
Eckstein worked a leadoff walk. Wilson showed wonderful and surprising restraint in also taking a walk from the suddenly-wild Zumaya. As Pujols stepped in, the Tigers pen stirred quickly. On a 2-0 pitch, Pujols got anxious, hitting a comebacker to Zumaya, who fired to third, instead of taking the sure double play. Only problem was that Inge wasn't expecting a throw, let alone a wild one. Two runs scored as Albert took second base. Tim McCarver's astute comment: "That was a bad play." No kidding. Rolen's grounder to the right side advanced Pujols to third. Jason Grilli pitched with one out and got Belliard. Edmonds took a free pass with the Tigers figuring Molina will be an easier out for the righty. They were right. Cards 4-0.

Tigers eighth – Three outs to go
Pudge Rodriguez fanned weakly for Carp's sixth K. As soon as McCarver yakked about Carpenter not throwing a curve since his cramp, that is exactly what he did next. I love expert commentators. Sean Casey singled to right. A double play ended the mini-threat.

Cards eighth – More pain for Detroit
Fernando Rodney pitched next and started by walking So. With one out, Eckstein doubled into right to put runners on the corners. Wilson impressed me again, taking another walk to bring up Pujols. Exit Rodney. Zach Miner became Detroit's sixth pitcher. Pudge was injured on a foul ball as the master of the obvious McCarver noted that "balls that come up under the protective cup are very painful". A wild pitch allowed So to score. Pujols was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, but Rolen grounded into a double play. Cards 5-0.

Tigers ninth – Over and out
Braden Looper collected the final three outs of the game as Carpenter was pulled after the long bottom of the eighth. I wonder if we'll see Carp on the mound again this season? I hope not. I think not.

In conclusion Chris Carpenter was as good or better than expected. Jim Edmonds' big double plated two and Joel Zumaya's two-run error ended any hope for the Tigers' this evening.

Upcoming action (times CDT) – probable pitchers
World Series Schedule (All games on FOX, times Eastern)
G4 Wed, Oct. 25 @ 8:00 p.m. - St. Louis (Suppan vs. Bonderman)
G5 Thu, Oct. 26 @ 8:00 p.m.# - St. Louis (Reyes vs. Verlander)
Fri, Oct. 27: Off day
G6 Sat, Oct. 28 @ 7:30 p.m.# - Detroit (Weaver vs. Rogers)
G7 Sun, Oct. 29 @ 7:30 p.m.# - Detroit (Carpenter vs. Robertson)
# if necessary

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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