There are must-win games, those crucial ones against rivals needed to stay in contention or make a statement. Then there are games that simply have to be won, since losing to a particular foe wouldn’t be acceptable on a given night.
Last night was a perfect example of the latter. Luckily, the Cardinals prevailed in a 10-5 win over the Astros — baseball’s worst team that was swept by the Cubs over the weekend and was 35 games under .500.
It was a nice (and necessary) win, especially because of those providing the Cards offense. None of the 2011 Big Three had an RBI — Albert and Matt Holliday each hit a single and Lance Berkman didn’t play because he has a right rotator cuff strain. Instead, it was two guys continuing hot streaks they started over the weekend … plus a new field that was only a problem for the Astros.
Yadi’s been as hot as the weather lately. Since Thursday, he’s hitting .563 (9 for 16) with two doubles, three homers and five RBI. Last night he was once again a triple shy of the cycle for the second time in three games. This is the third time this year he’s been one hit shy of the cycle — on May 22 at Kansas City, he actually had the triple and just needed a homer — so it’s got to happen this season. Right? Bengie can’t be the only Molina who hits for the cycle.
There actually was a triple hit last night, although Bono might deserve some of the credit for it. The July 17 U2 concert, as we know, meant that the entire field at Busch Stadium was torn out and then replaced. It looked good but, of course, playing on the new field is a different matter entirely. Which is what Hunter Pence found out when Nick Punto hit a fly ball to him in the second inning.
Pence slipped as he went to field the ball, which sailed past his outstretched arm. He then slipped trying to get up, prompting Dan McLaughlin to say, “Thank you, U2!” as Pence had to run all the way to the track to retrieve the ball. Yadi scored from first base and Punto wound up at third for a triple — his fourth of the year, by the way. In 102 at-bats. You can see Pence’s misadventures here.
The turf troubles only struck the Astros. Jose Altuve (who’s been given the awesome nickname of Pocket Jesus by Astros fans on Twitter for both his size and savior qualities, according to our friend Terri of Tales From the Juice Box) slipped as he approached first base in the fifth inning and Jason Bourgeois fell in left field while trying to reach a ball. Thank you, Bono, for being a Cardinals fan!
Also having his second straight good game was Colby Rasmus. He drove in the Cards first run of the game on a ground-out in the second inning, then later launched a two-run homer deep into the right field bleachers in the fifth. He also made a great diving catch on a ball hit by Pocket Jesus in the eighth when the score was only 8-5 and the Astros had a runner on first. Yet, still, there was a problem.
Colby declined to talk to the media last night. Because it was Colby, it was a big deal and prompted a flurry of tweets from the St. Louis sportswriters after the game about it — mostly critical. Many many have turned those into articles today — check these from Derrick Goold, B.J. Rains and David Wilhelm.
So, today’s Colby question of the day: what’s his responsibility when it comes to talking to the media? Honestly, I can see both sides of this. Yes, he should talk to the writers after the game. But it’s also his prerogative to talk or not, as he chooses. And, given the trade rumors and all that he’s been part of lately, I can see why he wouldn’t. Your opinion?
One last note: it was nice to see David Carpenter pitching for the Astros last night, even if he had a rough outing and gave up Colby’s homer. The former Cardinal catcher-turned-pitcher was traded to the Astros last year for Pedro Feliz, and he’s obviously risen quickly to make his major league debut. I wrote about his debut (and the time I met him) for Tales From the Juice Box a couple weeks ago.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.