:: Thursday, October 13, 2005 ::

Cardinals beat the Astros in NLCS Game 1
Overshadowed by an umpire's controversial call in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, the St. Louis Cardinals took care of business in Game 1 of the NLCS, beating the Houston Astros, 5-3.

And let us now praise uncommon heroes, like Cards shortstop David Eckstein. From ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski:
[W]atch the Cardinals enough times and it becomes as obvious as a Clydesdale horseshoe why this team won 100 regular-season games, why it swept the San Diego Padres in the NL Division Series, and why it owns a 1-0 lead in this series. The Cardinals do the supersized things, such as hit home runs (Reggie Sanders's two-run monster mash -- 445 feet -- gave St. Louis a first-inning lead) and take advantage of Astros starter Andy Pettitte and his gimpy knee. But they also do the things not easily seen on your baseball menu.

The crowd needed a dose of Prozac after Sanders' homer, but it was professional pest David Eckstein who began the inning with a single to right. Eckstein is 5-foot-7, 165 pounds (so says the Cardinals' media guide) and looks as if he needs a parents' permission slip to stay out past 10 p.m. His cap nearly engulfs his head.

But ask St. Louis manager Tony La Russa about the 30-year-old shortstop and he starts dropping compliments as if they're available in the gift shop.

"Toughest guy I've been around," said La Russa.

It was Eckstein who singled in the first, and scored. ... Eckstein who turned an inning-ending double play in the third with bases loaded and Astros runner Willy Taveras so close on the slide that the Cardinals' shortstop can tell what you brand of gum Taveras chews. ... Eckstein who singled home St. Louis' fourth run, took second on the throw home, and later, when Albert Pujols singled to right, sprinted to the plate as if his cleats were in flames.
Game 2 is tonight. Go Cardinals!

, , ,

:: Andrew 06:37 + ::

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