August 4, 2008

Cards can't spoil Lidge's perfection, edged 5-4

Brad Lidge almost choked bigtime, but held on to close on the Cardinals and keep his perfect save record intact at 28. To be clear, this season, Lidge has never blown a save.

He allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth as Troy Glaus hit himself a birthday present, a solo blast that ricocheted off the facing of the second tier, down the left field line, to the left of Big Mac Land, the ball coming back to strike the foul poll.

The skyshot brought the Cardinals within one run at 5-4, and before the inning was over, the Cards would fill the bases. Lidge, however, bore down on a couple of rookies, Nick Stavinoha and Joe Mather, both of whom struck out on a steady diet of perfectly placed sliders on the outside corner and low and away as well.
Starter Brett Myers matched up well against Todd Wellemeyer, Myers pitching six innings, giving up only two runs on four hits. The Cards were leading 2-1 when Phillies' manager Jerry Manuel began going to his bullpen.
Wellemeyer also went six innings before Cards' manager Tony La Russa gave him the hook. The right-hander allowed four hits, struck out three, and gave up one run, a homer to Chase Utley.

Left-handed reliever Ron Villone started the bullpen parade for the Cardinals, as La Russa would be forced by game circumstances to rifle through several relievers. After Villone, in order of appearance: Kyle McClellan, Jaime Garcia, Russ Springer, and Ryan Franklin.

La Russa admitted in post game interviews that he made a mistake by using Springer too many days in a row (last three game and four out of the last five). In a Phillies' four-run, eighth inning, Springer gave up a three-run homer to pinch-hitting Shane Victorino in the eighth, the runs produced enough to provide the game-winning punch.

Ryan Ludwick hit a solo home run for the Cardinals in the fourth, keeping his bat hot since the All-Star break.
Chad Durbin (4-2) recorded the win for the Phillies while Garcia (0-1) absorbed the loss.
The Cardinals have today off, then start the last half of their six-game home stand versus the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow night at Busch Stadium.

Cardinal Nation will get a chance to see hitting standout Manny Ramirez, as he was recently traded to the west coast team from the east coast Boston Red Sox.

photo by Barbara Moore