Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26, 2006: The Cards Move One Step Closer To a Title

October 26, 2006,  in front of more than 46,000 fans at Busch, the Cardinals moved one step closer to a World Championship with a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of the Fall Classic. The game didn't look like it was going the Cardinals way early on, Sean Casey took Jeff Suppan deep in the 2nd that gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Casey came up big again in the third with a two out RBI single then Ivan Rodriguez followed it up with an RBI of his own. With the score now 3-0, the Cardinals needed to get to work if they wanted to stop the Tigers from evening the series at two games apiece. To work they went. In the bottom of the third, David Eckstein delivered with a two out RBI double off of Jeremy Bonderman that scored Aaron Miles to put the Birds were on the board. They continued to peck away at the lead in fourth, the Tigers lead shrank to 3-2 when Yadi connected with a 2 out double that brought Scott Rolen into score. The score stayed the same until the seventh, Eckstein began the inning with a double, then pinch hitter So Taguchi went to the dish with a sacrifice bunt in mind, he laid it down perfectly, while Eckstein was on his way to third, Fernando Rodney was airmailing it over Placido Polanco's head at first. What should have been a simple sacrifice, turned into an E1, and a tied ballgame as Eckstein capitalized on the error. Three batters later Preston Wilson put the Birds in front with a two out RBI single and just like that the score was 4-3 Cards. The lead didn't last long, Braden Looper got into a bit of trouble in the top of the eighth, he allowed a leadoff double to Ivan Rodriguez, then Polanco moved him over on a groundout. The Cardinals skipper, Tony LaRussa then went to his young rookie Adam Wainwright who had suddenly found himself closing out games with the hopes of a Championship on the line. Unfortunately for Waino he couldn't keep Rodriguez from scoring, Brandon Inge tagged the Cardinals hurler for a double that tied the game which just set the table for someone that had been tearing it up all night long. Jim Leyland sent Joel Zumaya out to pitch the bottom of the eighth, he led the inning off with a walk to Yadi, the Cardinals backstop was eliminated from the basepaths on a fielder's choice off the bat of Aaron Miles. Zumaya got his second out of the frame with a strikeout of Juan Encarnacion but not before a wild pitch put Miles at second base. Then came David Eckstein, he had done damage all night long and he wasn't done just yet, the scraptastic shortstop came up with his fourth hit and third double of the game that brought Miles into score what proved to be the game winner. Waino put the exclamation point on it with a 1-2-3 frame and the Birds were one win away from the first title the team had seen since 1982.

Check out the box score:

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