Big inning averted
The Cardinals draw first blood in the fourth on Jim Edmonds' two-run run double, which still leaves men on second and third with one out and Yadier Molina coming up.
Leyland has lefty Nate Robertson intentionally walk Molina to load the bases with another right-handed batter, No. 8 hitter So Taguchi, due up. Leyland is aware of Taguchi's high rate of grounding into double plays (nine, in 316 at-bats).
The Tigers don't get the double play. But they do get out of the inning without further damage, as both Taguchi and pitcher Chris Carpenter pop out.
(grinning) "I don't know if they were scared of me, but I don't think so. With So up, it made sense to walk me and see if he can hit into a double play." -- Molina
The "ZZ" boys are tops
The situation: Robertson pitches well but leaves in favor of a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth. The man who hurt him, Edmonds, is set to lead off the home half for the Cards.
The decision: Leyland calls for Wilfredo Ledezma, another lefty he hopes can put Edmonds back in the funk he endured during the season (.156) against southpaws.
Ledezma fans Edmonds swinging. When Molina follows with a double into the right-center gap, Leyland switches to Joel Zumaya -- who fans Taguchi and gets Carpenter on a soft fly to right.
"That's what my role is, to get those guys out. ... I'm a lot better than that." -- Zumaya
This calls for patience
Zumaya starts the seventh by issuing a leadoff walk to David Eckstein to bring up Preston Wilson, who has been having a horrible postseason time against hard-throwing righties, in an obvious bunt situation.
Wilson never indicates any intent to bunt. Neither does he swing at a pitch, as if Tony La Russa, aware that Zumaya has had some wrist soreness and had already walked a guy, has flashed a permanent take sign.
Wilson walks, too, and the Cardinals go on to double their lead to 4-0 on yet another Zumaya bad pitch -- this one on a throwing error toward third base that chases home two runs.
The skinny: "No way was I in a take mode. He just happened to yank a few balls down in the zone."
"The walk to Eckstein really hurt. I've got to get the first guy, because that's exactly why he's up there, leading off, to try to get on any way he can. Then, everything just turned out bad." -- Zumaya