Jake Westbrook definitely deserved a win Saturday, after allowing only four hits in eight scoreless innings. Thankfully, Matt Holliday came through with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth as the Cards shut out the Royals 3-0.
Wait, that’s not enough on the homer. It was a bomb into the left field fountains at Kauffman Stadium, 433 feet total. And it left male Cards fans on Twitter and broadcaster Dan McLaughlin gushing about their man-crushes on Holliday. I mean big-time gushing — click here for Danny Mac’s call. (He was still talking about it during the bottom of the eighth inning, and probably still talking about it this morning.)
True, it was impressive. And it had been a very frustrating game on offense for the Cards to that point — they were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position through seven innings. But I was more impressed with Westbrook getting out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth inning.
First, he got Jeff Francoeur to ground the ball right to him for a 1-2-3 double play. (Come on, how often do you see that particular play?) Then, Ryan Theriot (yes, really) made a diving stop of a grounder hit by Billy Butler and an equally good throw to first for the out.
Thankfully, Dave Duncan agrees with me about the importance of that fourth inning, as Rick Hummel pointed out in his Post-Dispatch article:
“That was the real key in the game,” said Duncan. “If something happens there, you don’t know how that game is going to go.”
The Theriot play plus his sacrifice fly in the ninth were enough to get the Theriot Fan Club back out in force. Club secretary Kelly reminded us of some rules
she just made up for the fan club too: membership is for better or worse, until free agency or trade do us part, in errors and RBI hits. (No mention of TOOTBLANs in the made-up rules?) Well, then, yay Ryan! This was definitely a “for better” game.
And, in the end, that’s all that does matter — the final score and that it indeed was a winner. For the moment we’ll forgive everyone their lack of timely hitting. We’ll also praise Yadi for another pick-off at first base (love when he makes those snap throws down there) and Westbrook for his pick-off as well.
In addition, Fernando Salas deserves a high-five for earning his sixth save — particularly since Fox Sports Midwest flashed a potentially ominous graphic on screen as the bottom of the ninth began: the Cardinals lead the majors with seven blown saves on the road, while the Royals lead the majors with seven walk-off wins at home.
Ah, well. Thankfully not this time.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Milesâ€™ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.