Padres win

San Diego goes with a new lineup and I’m happy to see Brian Giles is batting third. Todd Walker is batting 2nd, not quite what I had hoped.  Gonzales is batting 5th, wise move.

One more Red Sox 2004 reference. I’m told the Red Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS just in case anyone has been on Mars.

Top 1st: Nice start for the Padres. Roberts singles and moves to third when Walker’s fly ball bounces off left fielder Chris Duncan. Great sign for San Diego.  Giles weakly ground out to pitcher Jeff Suppan. Piazza does a little better, he manages to hit the ball to Pujols who throws out Roberts at home.  San Diego ends the inning with another horrendous situational blunder when Piazza gets picked off first by catcher Yadier Molina. Horrible!

Bottom 1st: Eckstein leads off with a single, Duncan strikes out and Pujols flies out. Eckstein steals second and Edmonds walks before Rolen strikes out. This might be a five-inning Chris Young outing the way it’s going. Too many pitches.

I just found out that Nomar Garciaparra and Jim Thome were named Comeback Players of the Year. Great choice for Nomar.  The AL criteria must have been the following

a) Must vote for a Chicago player

b) Must not have any long term memory (no recall of anything before January 2005).

c) Must not have heard of Frank Thomas

I think the “fans” voted for this. Credit Chicagoans for voting along party lines.

Top 2nd: Gonzalez ends a 5-minute at bat by striking out. Cameron doubles to left. Branyan flies out. No.8 batter Geoff Blum is intentionally walked. Okay, I know this is strategy to get to the No. 9 spot, Young. Blum is for 9 for 16 against Suppan. But still, why couldn’t Suppan try to get Blum out? San Diego’s offense hasn’t done much. This way, Young leads off the 3rd and likely is an easy out.  Now, Young strikes out and the top of the order is leading off the third instead of the pitcher. So if Roberts leads off the third with a single, instead of 1 out and a possible double play with Walker at the plate, he’s on with no one out.

Bottom of 2nd:

Great inning for Young. Eight pitches, three up, three down.

Random thought: If the Padres get swept, does Bochy keep his job? I mean to go three and out two straight years, wouldn’t that be cause for alarm?  You figure changes will be made.

Top 3rd: Roberts reaches on an infield single but gets erased on Walker’s double play. Great theory to have a slow runner behind a fast one at the top of the order. Still think Cameron should’ve been in the 2 hole today. So much for whoever leads off the inning because the same thing happens-no runs. Giles pops out to Eckstein. Batting third isn’t going so well for Giles Yeah, the Padres should upgrade offensively in the offseason. I know I’m repeating myself. Eesh! 1 run in 21 innings now.

Bottom of 3rd: Seven in a row for Young. He throws 12 pitches, too bad seven were to Suppan, who struck out.  However, the 4th inning has been San Diego’s downfall this series. We’ll see.

Top 4th: Ladies and gentlemen! The Padres offense, once missing, has been found.  Branyan smacked a changeup down the right file line for extra bases scoring Gonzales and Cameron. Branyan slides into third. Geoff Blum drives in Branyan with a sac fly. In its previous 21 innings, they scored 1 runs. In the fourth inning, the Padres triple their output. Branyan’s hit ended the 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position slide. Happy day for San Diego. 3-0 Padres. First lead in a postseason game I think since 1998.

ARod is batting eighth today for the Yankees. I just received the mail. I’ve been invited to the farewell party for his confidence after the season ends!  He’s never going to win with the NY faithful unless he becomes 1977 Reggie Jackson. 

Bottom 4th:

When was the last time a pitcher struck out Pujols, Edmonds and Rolen in an inning? I don’t know either but Chris Young just did. Young’s been fantastic through 4 retiring the last 10 in a row. Awesome pitching by Young

Top 5th: Roberts singles to left and is 3 for 3 on the day. He doesn’t stay at first long stealing 2nd on a pitchout and advancing to third as Molina’s throw sails into centerfield. Great move considering Walker has already hit into one double play on the day. Walker grounds to second, on a 2-0 pitch (ugh) as Roberts stays at third. Giles walks. Suppan is lifted for Josh Hancock, who strikes out Piazza and walks Gonzales to load the bases. Hancock escapes the inning as Cameron grounds into a fielders choice. The Padres are squandering way too many opportunities today. These wasted chances have a way of coming back at you later.  Thankfully, Young has been solid

Bottom 5th:  Young gives up a single to Belliard but gets out of further trouble as Molina grounds into an inning-ending double play.  If the Padres can get at least two more innings out of Young, that would be fantastic.

Top 6th: Blum bloops a 1-out double to left. I have no clue why Young isn’t trying to bunt Blum to third here to set up Roberts’ at bat. Young flies out to right. Roberts is 3 for 3 on the day.  Roberts walks and Walker grounds into a fielder choice to end the inning.

Bottom of 6th:  Eckstein’s one out single is the third hit of the day off Young. Duncan follows with a walk to excite the Cards faithful. Up comes the man, Pujols. Bochy comes out to talk to Young. Thank heavens he didn’t lift him as the Padres bullpen starts warming up.  Young challenges Pujols and strikes him out with a high fastball. I’ve never seen Pujols strike out more than once in a game. Edmonds drives one to the fence in left but Roberts makes a tremendous catch to end the inning. Let Young start the seventh and see how far he goes. 

Top 7th: Fourth straight inning Padres put runners in scoring position.  Again, the Padres come away with zilch. They’ve left 10 men on base today. Khalil Greene bats for Branyan as the Padres ground into another inning-ending fielders choice. I’m watching the same thing over and over again.  I do like Gonzalez’ patience at the plate drawing two walks today.

Bottom 7th: Young gets Rolen to pop up to Piazza, an adventure in itself. Encarnacion stirkes out, Young’s ninth of the day.  Belliard follows with his second hit of the day, a two-out double down the left field line. Blum, who moved to third, came within an inch of a fabulous inning ending foul pop grab. Only Belliard, seventh in the lineup, and Eckstein, batting leadoff, have hits today as each have two apiece. 

Spiezio is announced as a pinch hitter for Molina. Bochy lifts Young for Embree. Great day from Young as he gave the Padres 6 2/3 innings of outstanding work. Embree gets Spiezio on a called third strike to end the inning

Top 8th: another inning, another runner in scoring position, same old result.  I think they’re 1 for 13 risp, 11 men on base. Walker grounds out again with a runner in scoring position.  San Diego needs 6 more outs. 

Bottom 8th: Linebrink comes on and gives up a home run to pinch hitter So Taguchi. Eckstein grounds out on a pitch that should’ve been ball four. Duncan walks to bring Pujols up as the potential tying run. Pujols does his best ARod impersonation and grounds into an inning-ending double play. St. Louis’ 2-6 batters are 0 for 14 with three walks. Pujols is 0 for 4. I wonder who San Diego will bring in to pitch the ninth? Hmmm

Top 9th: Tony LaRussa makes another pitching change. Brad Thompson is the Cardinals 6th pitcher of the game.  The Cards have had more pitchers than runs allowed. Then again, St Louis has given up 7 walks and 10 hits.  The Padres offense hasn’t taken full advantage of this.

Note: How much longer do I have to hear about the sun playing a factor in these games? I heard it in San Diego and St. Louis. Memo to broadcasters: The sun is bright, day games are played in the sun. It’s part of the territory of playing a day game. Jeez!

Cameron draws a one out bases loaded walk. Khalil Greene steps up to the plate and strikes out. 1 for 14 risp. Geoff Blum comes up with two outs and flies out to center. 1 for 15 risp, 1 for 25 series. They’ve stranded 14 on base today.  Just awful! Now it’s up to Trevor.

Bottom 9th:

Three up, three down as Hoffman strikes out Encarnacion to end it. The Padres finally beat St Louis in a playoff game ending an 0 for 8 lifetime slide. Great pitching by Young. The offense finally showed signs of life.   St Louis’ 2-6 hitters end up 0 for 17 on the day.

Notes: Cardinals are starting Carpenter for Game 4. San Diego is undecided. Let me help solve this.  Peavy is 0-2 in his playoff career having not lasted longer than six innings. Woody Williams is the veteran who has playoff experience. I hope they don’t start Peavy for Game 4. All of this is pointless if the Padres offense can not improve

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