Game one is now in the books, and the St. Louis Cardinals came out on top 3-2. Tony La Russa, skipper for the Cardinals and the famous “chess player” of the grassy chessboard, put his team in position to come out with a great win on Wednesday night.
La Russa started with his ace this postseason, Chris Carpenter. Texas countered with their ace C.J. Wilson, and the stage was set. The Cardinals jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the fourth on a bloop single by Lance Berkman (which scored Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday). In the sixth, Texas slugger Mike Napoli tied the game with a two run shot to right-field bleachers. With the game tied, it was up to both pitchers to keep it that way so their team could capitalize on a mistake.
That “mistake” came in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and David Freese (Cardinals’ third baseman) on third, Punto stepped up. Punto, who had been hitting a paltry .143 in the postseason, ought to have been an easy out for Wilson, but Carpenter was up to bat next. So, Wilson unintentionally intentionally walked Punto (by bouncing two curveballs and throwing two more wild pitches) to get to Carpenter. La Russa, playing the odds, pulled Carpenter for pinch hitter Allen Craig. Once LaRussa pulled the trigger, Texas skipper Ron Washington pulled Wilson for starting-pitcher-turned-reliever Alexi Ogando. Washington thought this might prompt LaRussa to pull Craig for a left-handed hitter, but LaRussa stuck with Craig (who had been warming up since the fourth).
It was a good thing La Russa decided to stick with Craig, because he sent a two-strike pitch to right-field line. Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz dove for it, but didn’t have a chance to get there on time. Freese came in from third, and Craig had a go-ahead single in the sixth. Now, with Carpenter out, the pressure was on the Cardinals’ bull pen to close the game out. Five relievers came out for the Cardinals, and they were instrumental in putting up zeros in the final three innings. Game, set, Cardinals.
We will have to see if La Russa can keep his winning ways up and give his team three more victories in October. If so, that would make La Russa the only manager, besides Joe Torre, who has won three World Series and isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but you know that’s where he’ll end up.
Jordan Freis is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses they can choose from to reach their goals. The site even helps students decide if online schools are what they are looking for.