Brandon Backe had a bit of trouble finding the strike zone in the first – as usual, he was a bit too pumped up to start out and over threw – maybe the excitement of starting off with a 3 run lead, who knows.. The Pest singles (I hate that guy), then a FC, then another single, then an RBI sac fly, another single, then a groundout. He settled down, had a nice 1,2,3 second and third, but had a leadoff double in the 4th. Then Molina hit a pitch back up the middle, which Backe grabbed, fired to Ransom, who tagged the runner off second, then fired a ball offline to Berkman, who made an incredible grab to make the DP on Molina, who was all Carlos Lee dogging it down the line.
In the 5th, Aaron Miles bunted a ball between 3rd and the mound and Wiggy rushed in, trying to field it, blocking Backe, who actually was in a better position to field it, and then bobbled the ball. Then with 1 out, That Dratted Pest singled Miles to third. Then Ankiel grounds into what should have been a perfect 1-6-3, but Ransom threw the ball in the dirt in front of Lance and the run scored. In the 6th, Brandon gave up a leadoff walk, but then got the next 3 guys. He did look pretty tired, agree with Coop that he needed to come out.
Decent outing – 6 IP, 87 pitches, 52 strikes, 6H, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 ER (should have been 1)
Sarfate came in for the 7th. He walked the first hitter, got a GO, then That Dratted Pest singled, so with men on first and third, Sarfate struck out the next 2 batters. It wasn’t the 1,2,3 mowem down innings he had had before, but I like how he stuck in there and didn’t let a run score – and this was with a 1 run lead.
Qualls came in to pitch the 8th and got 2 quick groundouts and then should have had an easy FO to right, but Bruntlett dropped the ball. Yeah, Brunt was playing right, what can I say. So poor Qualls had to keep going – gave up a single before getting the remnants of Jim Edmonds to groundout.
After Towles drove in 2 (yeah, him again) and Anderson drove in another to make the score 6-4, Steve Randolph came in. He was lousy, as usual. He could barely find the strike zone. First hitter, 3 straight balls, 2 strikes then a popout on ball 4. Second hitter, strike, foul, ball and a popup. Then, facing a lefty, 3 balls, a gift called strike, a foul on ball 4, then ball 4. Then, facing a righty, ball, hey a strike at LAST, 3 more balls. Coop leaves him in. Another righty – 2 balls, then a pitch down the middle, a gift strike, a foul, 2 balls. Bases loaded.
We are talking 28 pitches, 16 balls, 12 “strikes” and I am sorry, but for whatever reason, Randolph can’t seem to throw strikes very well in the bigs.
So in comes Brad Lidge and up comes Albert Pujols, bad legs and all. And to my surprise, Towles stays in. Let’s see if he can catch that nasty stuff. He pitches VERY carefully to Pujols and 4 straight balls and in comes one of Randolph’s runs. Very smart. And Towles does a great job blocking 2 balls in the dirt. I am not sure why the Organization was badmouthing this guy’s ability behind the plate (throwing, yes…) And, by the way, in spite of all the Press about Brad vs Albert, Brad like OWNS Albert, who is 3 fer 14 (2 singles, 1 double) in the regular season and 1 fer the postseason with 5 Ks in 11 AB. Anyway, Brad gets Molina to GO to save the game and get Randolph off the hook.
As for hitting, again, every single batter got a hit. Towles hit a double with men on second and third. Burke hit a double, then Lance drove him in with a homer to dead center, which would have just been a long out onto that stupid hill in the Box. Lucky 7 indeed. Carlos doubled, then Wiggy drove him in and yes, Carlos WAS safe – TLR went out and protested, but he was in LONG before the tag.
Oh yeah – and Rick Ankiel did NOT steal a base on Towles – it was most definitely defensive indifference – they didn’t even LOOK at him for goodness sakes.
Tomorrow, it’s Matt Albers vs Brad Thompson.
Guess it will be Q catching. Because you KNOW he’s not gonna be catching Roy on Sunday.