ST. LOUIS -- Greetings from Busch Stadium, where we had a bright, sunny day and will be enjoying a clear, crisp night for Game Two of the World Series. The wind doesn't seem to be nearly as harsh as it was last night, when it was swirling around the park. Seems to be blowing more out to center, which means the park is blocking some of it from the fans and us media types on the outdoors.
(I'm in the Stan Musial room in Section 313 down the right-field line. A terrific view, and we have a dedicated Diet Coke line in the suite behind me so that's clutch!).
I've been tied up on early print duties so be sure to read my report in Wednesday's paper on Josh Hamilton's nagging groin and the unusual season of Cardinals reliever Arthur Rhodes, who started the year with Texas and is just the third player in history to play for both Series teams in the same year (Bengie Molina, 2010; and Lonnie Smith, 1985).
Funny pregame scene: Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig, whose pinch single drove in the winning run in Game One, was brought into the media interview room prior to Thursday's game. Reporters were told Craig was not fielding any questions about his pet tortoise, which actually has its own Twitter account (@TortyCraig).
Then he followed with this recap of a "conversation: "Merry World Series, Master Allen." "Did you like your gift?" "The hit?" I asked. "Yep," he said. I'm a bit misty eyed."
Odd. Anyway, we're getting set to go and I'll give you some updates and thoughts as this one gets going.
Top-1st: We're under way at 7:06 CT as Jaime Garcia throws a strike to Ian Kinsler. It's warmer than last night's 48 degrees but I didn't hear the announcement of the temp (muffled PA..sorry)...Update: In fact, it's a balmy 50. The Rangers went down 1-2-3. Hamilton ended it with a broken-bat grounder to third. The bat shattered everywhere and Hamilton barely ran to first. He checked a swing a pitch earlier -- something he said before the game he was no longer going to do -- and the FOX camera clearly caught him exhaling and in pain after it.
Almost forgot to relate the best pregame scene: The famous Budweiser Clydesdales paraded around the warning track and the crowd roared as flashbulbs popped and the organist rocked the famous Bud ditty. Great fun.
End-1st: Both teams go 1-2-3 in the first. There is a Hardee's hamburger stand here on the upper level behind third base with a beautiful red Cardinals marquee on either side of the Hardees sign. Smells great. How do I know? Some burgers must be well done because there is a ton of smoke coming out of that side and wafting across the field.
We're so peppered with Yankees and Red Sox on the East Coast that it's easy forget what a great baseball town this is. I loved their statue garden by the team shop I blogged about yesterday (you didn't see it? Go back and check it out!). And I love how they can trot out legends.
Bob Gibson and Bruce Sutter threw out first pitches last night and tonight's turn went to 88-year-old Red Schoendienst, left, and Lou Brock, who is now 72. (72?? I grew up watching him in the 70s. Not possible). And they just announced that Stan Musial is here and put his picture on the jumbotron. The 91-year-old gave a big wave. They should have left his picture on the board longer so the ovation would have been stronger. Adam Wainwright got a bigger roar last night when he threw a first pitch. Kind of like when Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez can bring the house down at Yankee Stadium and guys from the 60s and 70s, other than maybe Reggie Jackson, get barely a ripple. People simply think of them all as "old fossils", one of the great Jeff Manto-isms I learned in the late 90s Bisons clubhouses.
End-3rd: Locked in a scoreless duel. Furcal got the game's first hit for the Cardinals, a two-out double down the RF line, but was stranded there. Garcia (right) has thrown only 35 pitches (21 strikes). Lewis is at 45-29. Great job by both thus far. Garcia, the first Mexican to start a Series game in 30 years, is doing Fernando Valenzuala proud.
Mid-4th: Garcia is no longer perfect and he had to work hard -- throwing 21 pitches -- to escape without a run. He walked Kinsler on 3-2 pitch to end the perfect game and lost his no-hitter on Young's two-out single that Jay short-hopped in center as Kinsler went first-to-third. Beltre then fanned on a full-count pitch with the crowd roaring and waving their white towels. During their at-bat, Beltre scorched a one-hopper foul down the third-base line and it rocketed off the back of Kinsler's right shoulder. Undaunted, Kinsler got up and gave the brush-off motion to his teammate like it was no biggie. Sorry. That's gotta hurt.
Halfway home: Still zip-zip through 4 1/2. The Rangers have one hit and they're 7-46 thus far in the series, or a robust .152. They hit .190 last year and said they would definitely do better. Uh-huh.
End-5th: Elvis Andrus flashing a GOLD GLOVE two innings in a row. He ended the fourth by starting a spectacular 6-4-3 double play, with Kinsler taking his flip and firing bare-handed to first. This was even better as Furcal lashed what looked like an RBI single up the middle with men on first and second and two out. Andrus gloved it behind second and flipped with the glove to Kinsler, who took the ball in stride and ran to the bag to beat Garcia after the pitcher had kept the inning going with a walk. Sensational play.
End-6th: Still scoreless and, for once, some starters are going to the seventh inning in this postseason. Huge outings from both guys as each is spinning a two-hit shutout. Garcia has struck out six, walked one and is at 75 pitches (47 strikes). Lewis has fanned three walked two and is at 86-46. So he's looking at one more inning most likely.
This just in from MLB: This is just the second time in Series history (joining Reds-Yankees, 1961) that Games 1 and 2 have been scoreless through three innings. And at God Bless America, we're still scoreless and the Rangers are batting .170 for the series.
Bot-7th: Suddenly, both pitchers are out. With two out and Freese on first, Punto lined a one-hopper that Young butchered at first on the backhand. Freese went first to third on the ball, somehow scored a hit and not an error. With Garcia's spot up, the Cardinals are pinch-hitting Game One hero Craig. And Ron Washington comes out to lift Lewis for Alexi Ogando. Same matchup as last night. And Craig does it again with an RBI single to right to put the Cardinals up 1-0 and the place is absolutely shaking. Just like last night, a decent pitch, down and away. A fastball at 96 mph and Craig beats Ogando.
End-8th: Another 1-2-3 inning for the Cards bullpen. Three outs away from a 2-0 lead.
RANGERS WIN 2-1. Sorry, folks. When the game changes, you're hitting the delete key on large chunks of your print story and you won't hear from me here. Motte blows the save, sac flies in the ninth by Hamilton off Rhodes and Young off Lynn gives Texas a clutch victory. The series is tied. First time a team reversed a deficit in its final at-bat since Arizona came back on the Yankees in Game Seven in 2001.
Photos: Associated Press
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