World Series | Sweet start for scrappy St. Louis

October 22nd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: World Series | Sweet start for scrappy St. Louis
DETROIT Anthony Reyes might not score any style points with the flat bill of his cap, but the St. Louis rookie made his own fashion statement Saturday night.
Reyes pitched eight-plus innings of four-hit ball and retired 17 consecutive batters with pinpoint control in leading the underdog Cardinals to a surprisingly cozy 7-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series.
Reyes clearly outdueled 17-game winner Justin Verlander in the first matchup of rookies in a World Series opener.
Reyes' dominance was amazing, considering he won only five games and had a 5.06 earned-run average during the regular season. But he was a large reason the Cardinals snapped the Tigers' seven-game playoff winning streak.
"I don't know if I can top this," said Reyes, who became the first rookie to win a Series start since the Angels' John Lackey in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series over San Francisco.
Reyes was supported by home runs from Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols as St. Louis played with confidence in overcoming a 1-0 deficit in the first inning.
"You saw the Anthony Reyes that we've seen for the prior two years," said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who snapped a personal eight-game Series losing streak dating to Game 1 of the 1990 Series, when he managed Oakland. "He doesn't scare. He has great composure and gets it rolling. He has good weapons."
Reyes, 25, has had those weapons since his sophomore year at USC in 2001, where he actually pitched better than the more heralded Mark Prior late in the season. He was 4-0 with a 0.27 ERA in four starts before the College World Series.
"He was our best guy down the stretch," USC pitching coach Dave Lawn recalled in a telephone interview. "Mark was getting tired down the stretch. Everything Anthony threw was a strike, just like tonight.
"It was movement on his pitches and hitting his spots. It was awesome."
Until Saturday, Reyes had gained more attention for his goofy cap and high socks than for his ability.
"I'm not a real style master, but that style is not that attractive," La Russa quipped. "He's a good-looking guy. ... I don't think it's going to be copied widely by the kids of America."
La Russa jokingly flattened the bill of his cap after his news conference.
Reyes said he has worn his socks high since Little League and flattened the bill of his cap to see the catcher's signs better.
Reyes admitted he was a little nervous, but he didn't walk a batter after issuing one to Magglio Ordonez in the first. Reyes threw fewer changeups after the first inning and used his fastball frequently to set up his curve.
"The presence he had on the mound and the confidence he was throwing with, I think, is what everyone was most impressed with," Pujols said.

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