About Tigers 3, Cardinals 1
|October 23rd, 2006||#1|
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Tigers 3, Cardinals 1 info
DETROIT - The St. Louis Cardinals never figured out Kenny Rogers, not the smudge on his pitching hand, not the baseballs he was throwing.
Virtually untouchable this October, Rogers smothered the Cardinals on two hits over eight shutout innings, leading Detroit to a 3-1 victory on a chilly Sunday night that tied the World Series at one game apiece.
Was it dirt on his palm in the first inning? A smudge from a resin bag? A magic elixir?
"Somebody said they thought they saw pine tar on him. That's about it," the Cardinals' Aaron Miles said. "Whether he got rid of it, or he never had it in the first place, we don't know. His stuff was good all game."
Umpires and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had a brief discussion at the end of the first inning.
"It was a big clump of dirt, and I wiped it off," Rogers said. "I didn't know it was there, and they told me and I took it off, and it wasn't a big deal."
Maybe not to him. But certainly to most others.
"It's not important to talk about," La Russa said tersely to reporters.
But according to Tigers manager Jim Leyland - La Russa's good buddy - La Russa discussed it with the umps.
"I know Tony said, 'Hey, I don't want to make any issue here, but a couple of my players are saying that the ball is acting a little funny,'" Leyland said. "And obviously they were a little suspicious."
Leyland, who talked to three umps near the third-base line in the middle of the second, joked about the fuss.
"He was pretty clean the rest of the way," Leyland said.
Steve Palermo, one of baseball's umpire supervisors, said plate ump Alfonso Marquez noticed the dirt and asked Rogers to clean up. Palermo brushed off thoughts of any nefarious plot.
"Dirt is not a foreign substance," Palermo said. "That's what we play on. That's the playing surface."
Rogers extended his scoreless streak to 23 postseason innings this year and 24 1-3 postseason innings overall, a streak that began in 2003 with Minnesota. It is the longest streak since Curt Schilling tossed 25 scoreless innings in 1993 and 2001.
Rogers became only the second pitcher to have three scoreless starts in a single postseason. Christy Mathewson had three complete-game shutouts (27 innings) for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1905 World Series.
"I'm no Christy Mathewson, that's for sure," Rogers said, "but I've had scoreless streaks before.
Rogers struck out five and walked three, improving to 3-0 in this postseason. He was 0-3 with an 8.85 ERA in the postseason before this year, and credited his turnaround to his Game 3 start against the New York Yankees in the first round.
"With any athlete I think the longer you fail at something, the harder it is to turn that corner," Rogers said. "Without a doubt I believe going out there and having success against that Yankee team was huge for me, huge for my confidence."
Known as The Gambler, Rogers pitched with as much electricity as the Las Vegas Strip. He spun off the mound when he walked Scott Spiezio, and made huge hops over the World Series logo when he walked from the mound back to the Tigers dugout on the third-base side. The 41-year-old pumped his arm and snapped his head when David Eckstein hit into a double-play grounder that ended the eighth.
"It makes me nervous to see someone that pumped up," Leyland said.
In 2005, Rogers was suspended for 20 games by commissioner Bud Selig for shoving two cameramen while with the Texas Rangers, a penalty cut to 13 games by an arbitrator. He wouldn't discuss how far he's come from then, and appeared to avoid questions from Texas reporters.
On a cold 44-degree night with a biting wind, Rogers allowed an infield single by Scott Rolen in the first that third baseman Brandon Inge could only knock down. He didn't give up another hit until Yadier Molina singled to right leading off the eighth.
Craig Monroe got the Tigers started by homering for the second straight night, a solo shot off Jeff Weaver in a two-run first, and Carlos Guillen and Sean Casey also drove in runs for Detroit. Guillen had three hits, falling a home run short of the cycle.
"I'm shocked sometimes of myself," Monroe said. "I'm relaxed and having fun. I think that's the big thing. I'm not getting caught up in all the things that are going on around me."
Todd Jones followed Rogers in the ninth and allowed Rolen's two-out single, then misplayed Juan Encarnacion's comebacker for an error that put runners on the corners.
"I just missed it. It's embarrassing," Jones said. "I'm going to have 7,000 messages from every coach who ever coached me about that."
Jim Edmonds blooped a double down the left-field line that scored Rolen, and Jones hit Preston Wilson with a pitch, loading the bases.
After a visit from pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, Jones retired Molina on a forceout, preserving the shaky save and completing a four-hitter and sealing the Tigers' first World Series win since 1984.
"He's going to take a little PFP - that's pitchers' fielding practice - before he gets on the bus tonight," Leyland joked.