Cardinals defeat Tigers
4 games to 1
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Oct. 21||STL 7||DET 2|
|2||Oct. 22||DET 3||STL 1|
|3||Oct. 24||STL 5||DET 0|
|4||Oct. 26||STL 5||DET 4|
|5||Oct. 27||STL 4||DET 2|
Managers: Tony La Russa, STL; Jim Leyland, DET
MVP: David Eckstein, STL: .364, 8 H, 4 RBI
Path to the World Series
ALCS: Detroit over Oakland (4 games to 0)NLCS: St. Louis over New York (4 games to 3)ALDS: Oakland over Minnesota (3 games to 0); Detroit over New York (3 games to 1)NLDS: New York over Los Angeles (3 games to 0); St. Louis over San Diego (3 games to 1)
In 2006, neither the Tigers nor the Cardinals entered October playing their best baseball of the season, yet both clubs battled their way to the World Series. Detroit struggled mightily in the regular season's second half, letting a 10-game August lead in the American League Central slip away before settling for the AL Wild Card. The Cardinals, likewise, let a sizable division lead shrink down the stretch courtesy of a seven-game late-September losing streak, yet they held on to win the National League Central despite a modest 83-78 record.
Nonetheless, both clubs hit their stride in the postseason. After dropping Game 1 of the ALDS to the Yankees, Detroit rattled off seven straight victories against New York and Oakland. St. Louis needed a little more time, ultimately riding a Yadier Molina two-run home run, followed by a devastating Adam Wainwright curveball to Carlos Beltran, in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the NL Championship Series to get past the Mets.
As for the World Series, the Cardinals wasted little time snapping Detroit's winning streak. The Redbirds jumped all over AL Rookie of the Year and Game 1 starter Justin Verlander, to the tune of four runs in the first three innings, including home runs from Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols. Verlander went on to allow seven runs (six earned) over five innings, while fellow rookie Anthony Reyes stole the show for St. Louis. In the first Game 1 matchup of rookie starters in World Series history, Reyes picked up the win by turning in eight-plus strong innings, at one point retiring 17 straight hitters in the Cardinals' 7-2 victory.
The Tigers bounced back to even the series in Game 2 behind a dominant pitching performance from Kenny Rogers. The left-hander tossed eight scoreless innings and Craig Monroe hit his second home run in as many games to lead Detroit to a 3-1 triumph.
That would be the Tigers' final win of the series, however, as the Cardinals' pitching staff limited Detroit to just six runs over the final three games. Ace Chris Carpenter twirled eight scoreless frames in Game 3 and eight-time Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder Jim Edmonds provided all the offense Carpenter would need with a two-run double in the fourth inning. The Cards later added two more on a Tigers throwing error and another on a wild pitch to account for the game's 5-0 final score.
Game 4 was pushed back a day due to rain; when it was ultimately played, Detroit came out with a vengeance. The Tigers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but the Cardinals chipped away by scoring one run each in the third and fourth before taking a 4-3 lead with a pair of runs in the seventh. Detroit came right back to tie it in the top of the eighth, but David Eckstein delivered the decisive blow in the bottom half of the inning with a run-scoring double, his third two-bagger of the day.
The Cards wrapped up the Fall Classic one day later, taking advantage of a crucial throwing error by Verlander en route to a 4-2, Series-clinching victory. With the Tigers clinging to a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, St. Louis put runners on first and second with one out for pitcher Jeff Weaver. Weaver laid down a bunt in an attempt to advance the runners, but Verlander -- in trying to peg the lead runner at third base -- threw the ball away into left field, allowing the tying run to score. Eckstein, who would be named World Series MVP, then stepped in and drove in what proved to be the game-winning run on a groundout.