Work in Sports
Cardinals clobber Braves to take 2-0 series lead
Tom Glavine was pounded for seven runs and six hits in 2 1-3 innings -- his shortest outing in seven years -- and the Cardinals beat the Braves 10-4 Thursday to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five NL playoff series.
"It came at a bad time," Glavine said. "I needed to go out there and give us an opportunity to win, and I didn't do that."
Will Clark overcame a 2-0, first-inning deficit with a three-run homer, and Mark McGwire, limited to one at-bat per game because of knee pain, limped out of the Cardinals dugout in the eighth to hit a pinch homer off Mike Remlinger.
"What we were trying to do was go out there and get a good pitch to hit, basically the same thing that we did with Maddux," Clark said. "These guys are awesome pitchers. They're 20-game winners for a reason."
Darryl Kile limited Atlanta to two runs and four hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking two.
The reeling Braves are in danger of failing to make the NL championship series for the first time since 1990. They head home hoping either Maddux on three days' rest or Kevin Millwood (10-13) can win Game 3 on Saturday at Turner Field. Garrett Stephenson (16-9) is likely to start for the Cardinals.
St. Louis essentially is in the same position it was in 1996, when it took a 3-1 lead over Atlanta in the best-of-seven NLCS, then lost three straight.
"It's exactly the same thing," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We could very well pull that off. Heck, we won 15 in a row this year."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa remains wary of the Braves, who find themselves struggling in the '00s after calling themselves the team of the '90s.
"We recognize this is a three-win series, not a two-win series," La Russa said. "So nobody's celebrating."
After Clark's three-run homer started the comeback, Carlos Hernandez had a solo shot in the second and St. Louis made it 7-2 in the third on Ray Lankford's two-run double and Eric Davis' sacrifice fly.
Atlanta's top two pitchers, Greg Maddux and Glavine, who have combined for six NL Cy Young Awards, have given up 12 earned runs in 6 1-3 innings, a 17.05 ERA.
Jim Edmonds was 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBIs for St. Louis, making him 6-for-9 with four RBIs in the series. He also made an over-the-shoulder catch of Rafael Furcal's drive to the center-field warning track in the eighth.
"You'll see him do at least one of these every series," La Russa said. "To the left, to the right, in, back, he's just a complete center fielder."
Kile and Glavine were the only 20-game winners in the NL this season. While Kile evened his career postseason record at 1-1, Glavine dropped to 10-12.
Kile struggled with his control in the first, giving up an RBI single to Chipper Jones and a run-scoring groundout to Brian Jordan. But after Andres Galarraga's two-out double in the first, Kile retired 13 in a row, striking out the side in the second.
"Every game is different," Kile said. "Some days you come out of the chute with your command. I gave up the lead early and fortunately we came back with some big hits."
St. Louis went 6-for-12 against Glavine, who hadn't been chased this quickly since lasting two innings in a 7-5 loss to Los Angeles on Aug. 19, 1993. The Cardinals' three left-handed hitters were for 4-for-6 with a homer, two doubles and five RBIs against them.
His only worse postseason outing was a two-inning stint in Game 6 of the 1992 NLCS against Pittsburgh in which he allowed eight runs.
"Tommy's usually living on the edge," Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone said. "Today, he caught a lot of the middle of the plate. He was hitting the heart of the plate with left-handed pitchers."
McGwire, baseball's biggest star, has hardly played since midseason because of patella tendinitis in his right knee. Two of his 32 homers during the season came after he returned from the disabled list Sept. 8.
He drove a 1-2 pitch from Remlinger 412 feet over the center-field wall. The crowd applauded long enough to get a curtain call.
Notes: Braves pinch hitter B.J. Surhoff, who has a pulled quadriceps, singled off the center-field wall with two outs in the fifth. ... Edmonds was 4-for-28 in the regular season against the Braves. ... The Cardinals outscored the Braves 9-2 the first inning the first two games. They outscored opponents 147-90 in the first inning during the regular season. ... Kile's only other postseason start was a 2-1 division series loss to Maddux and the Braves in 1997, when he was with the Astros. ... Clark was 10-for-19 against the Braves this season with five homers and eight RBIs. .... The last time 20-game winners were matched in NL postseason play was Oct. 4, 1969 when Phil Niekro (23-13) of the Braves opposed Tom Seaver (25-7) of the Mets in the NLCS. The Braves' John Smoltz (24-8) faced the Yankees' Andy Pettitte (21-8) in Games 1 and 5 of the 1996 World Series.