Or Adron Chambers.
In their only-Tony-La Russa-would-do-this roles as pinch-hitters for pinch-hitters last night, each provided multiple RBI in a wild seventh inning against three Mets relievers. (Sadly, none was Miguel Batista, although he was shown warming up in the bullpen.)
Ryan Theriot’s ground-rule bases-loaded double gave the Cardinals a 7-6 lead, while Chambers’ bases-loaded triple added three more runs. The Shredder Nick Punto followed with an RBI single to make it 11-6.
By the way, all these runs scored with two outs.
It was an emotional roller-coaster of a game, but the Cardinals ultimately triumphed — and it’s the end result that matters. Since scoreboard watching is mandatory right now, the win did not gain any ground for the Cards in the wild card race since the Braves beat the Marlins 4-0. But the sneaky Giants, who’ve been creeping into the wild card conversation, lost to the Dodgers 2-1 (with Aaron Miles going 0 for 4, in case anyone besides me wondered) to move 4 1/2 games back.
Edwin Jackson was not at his best last night, giving up a run in the first and three more in the third for a 4-0 Mets lead. He allowed five runs on nine hits and walked four in five innings. Yet the Cardinals scored three in the third, with Jackson helping himself out with a single and run scored on Rafael Furcal’s double, a ground-out from Albert and a very welcome double from slumping David Freese. They followed that up with two more runs in the fifth, again with the small ball: three straight singles from Allen Craig, Albert and Lance Berkman.
Kyle McClellan took over in the sixth and quickly retired the side. The seventh, however, was a different story.
He gave up a walk to start the inning, with Josh Thole then attempting to sacrifice the runner to second. McClellan botched the fielding of it, however, and Thole was safe. The next batter also attempted to sacrifice, with K-Mac again fielding it. This time, mission accomplished and one out. Out no. 2 came when the next batter lined it directly to Albert at first. That brought up Jose Reyes. As Dan and Ricky discussed on TV the merits of intentionally walking Reyes in this situation — they decided no, since Angel Pagan was next — Kyle did exactly that, unintentionally. Bases loaded, Pagan at the plate … and he walked as well to give the Mets a 6-5 lead.
That was four walks for McClellan in 1 2/3 innings, and the Mets walked nine times overall. That walk also was the end of Kyle’s night. Octavio Dotel entered the game and got David Wright looking at strike three. Whew …
So the fun of the bottom of the seventh arrived, though it wasn’t fun until after Furcal grounded out and Craig flied out. Albert had his third of four hits for the night, LB followed with another single and stole second (although he easily could have just strolled over there — the Mets weren’t paying attention to him at all). A walk to Freese brought up Daniel Descalso as a pinch-hitter for Dotel … until the Mets changed pitchers. That set the stage for TLR’s pinch-hitting madness and The Riot’s heroics. An intentional Yadi walk after that loaded the bases again, which prompted another pitching change and Chambers pinch-hitting for pinch-hitter Tony Cruz. And Chambers did this.
It’s definitely exciting to watch Chambers fly around the bases like that. And what a rookie debut for the kid — two big-league hits for him, both driving in crucial runs.
Back to The Riot, it’s obvious that everyone except we members of the Ryan Theriot Fan Club hates him — OK, maybe it just seems that way, but there is certainly no great fondness for him. People were tweeting his failure in this all-important at-bat before he even reached the plate. However, Albert knows who the hero was last night. So maybe the rest of you should listen to Albert, okay?
“Theriot was the one that had the big hit of the night,” St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols said. “Coming off the bench with the bases loaded and driving that ball. We took the lead right there.”
Speaking of Albert, he’s at a season-high .304 with his four hits night. And speaking of season highs, the Cardinals are now 16 games over .500.
Finally, speaking of numbers there is this one: eight. As in eight games remaining. One week from today is the final regular season game — and what a memorable week it is sure to be.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.