We’ve waited all season for Albert to become Albert once again. Looks like he’s finally back.
He hit two homers yesterday, including the walk-off winner to give the Cardinals a 5-4 victory in 12 innings. He also had a double — only his seventh of the year, which is as surprising as his home run drought. He’s averaged 43 doubles per season over his career and 41 homers. He now has 12 homers.
Even with the low totals, his numbers are heading in the right direction. Since the Cards began this homestand last Monday, he’s hit .435 with two doubles, four homers and nine RBI.
But back to yesterday’s second homer. First, how did he hit that pitch out? It was a slider at his knees, yet he reached down and pounded it directly into the Cubs’ bullpen. Pitcher Jeff Samardzija’s reaction, shown on replay, summed it up well: “No f—— way.”
Second, is there anything better than seeing the rest of the team race out of the dugout and wait at home plate for Albert to arrive so they can celebrate? Watch it again here.
Albert aside, there wasn’t a lot of offense from the Cardinals — only six other hits. Lance Berkman had an RBI single in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Earlier that inning, Ryan Theriot had a single to give him AN 18-GAME HITTING STREAK. Yes, RYAN THERIOT NOW HAS AN 18-GAME HITTING STREAK! Jon Jay, Yadi and Allen Craig all had singles. And, memorably, Matt Carpenter had a double off Kerry Wood in the bottom of the ninth for his first major league hit. (He also had a great diving stop in the third inning to throw out Starlin Castro.)
One thing there was a lot of: great relief pitching after Kyle Lohse gave up 12 hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Jason Motte, Trever Miller, The Poet Miguel Batista, Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit while striking out four and walking none.
And, of course, The Poet’s appearance merits another poem.
Poem for The Poet — June 4
Seventh inning, one on, two out, The Poet into the game.
One pitch to Geovany Soto, inning done. Everything is still the same.
Eighth inning, very quick, perhaps because of the heat?
Cubs hitters not patient, Cards defense good — that combo can’t be beat.
Ninth inning, more of the same, always good to see.
Seven straight retired, no hits or walks — how much better could The Poet be?
One more note about the end of the game: I was watching it at a family gathering with my Cub fan relatives. After the homer, my Mom asked, “How does it feel to be the only happy person in the room?”
Good, Mom. Very, very good.
The series finale is this afternoon, as the Cardinals go for the five-letter word that starts with “sw” (and which the Cards haven’t been able to do in a three-game series yet this season — thus, not wanting to jinx them). Once again Carlos Zambrano and Chris Carpenter face each other. Zam-Zam broke a bat over his knee out of frustration during his last start, so who knows what he’ll do on a hot St. Louis afternoon. Let’s hope we have the chance to find out.
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.