2001 MLB Postseason
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MLB SCOREBOARD: Recap
ScoreCast | Recap | Box Score | Game Log | How They Scored | Today's Scoreboard
St. Louis Cardinals 4
Arizona Diamondbacks 1
Posted: Saturday October 13, 2001 11:43 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks
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ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Fernando Vina went deep and brought back memories of Ozzie Smith and St. Louis Cardinals' playoffs past.

Vina hit an unlikely two-run homer in the third inning that gave rookie lefthander Bud Smith some breathing room as the Cardinals posted a 4-1 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks, tying their National League Division Series at two games each.

In the 1985 NL Championship Series, the slap-hitting Smith delivered a game-winning homer in Game Six, perhaps the most famous in franchise history.

The blast from Vina -- another slightly built middle infielder -- was not as dramatic, but it helped keep the Cardinals alive and forced a decisive Game Five.

Vina hit just nine homers in 631 at-bats during the regular season but lofted a 1-0 pitch from Arizona starter Albie Lopez (0-1) into the right-field stands to give the Cardinals a 4-1 lead. It scored Smith, who opened the inning with a 10-pitch walk.

"It was a 1-0 count and I was seeing the ball pretty good today and just trying to get a good pitch to hit," Vina said. "Albie threw me a cutter inside and I was able to get the good part of the bat on it."

"He's definitely one of those guys you don't think is going to hurt you and here he is, he ends up hurting you," Arizona first baseman Mark Grace said.

Smith, who tossed a no-hitter just over a month ago, was solid in his first career postseason appearance. The 21-year-old lefthander allowed a run and four hits over five innings. He walked four but kept Arizona's sluggers off-balance through much of his stint.

"He's been doing a great job ever since he got called up," St. Louis center fielder Jim Edmonds said of Smith. "We know that when he's on the mound we've got a good chance to stay in the game and if we score some runs, win the game. And he did that today."

Dustin Hermanson was spectacular in three innings of perfect relief and Steve Kline worked around two hits in the ninth for his second save.

Lopez, who lost a combined 19 games during the season, was tagged for four runs and four hits in three innings. Brian Anderson, Greg Swindell and Mike Morgan combined on five scoreless innings in relief, but the Diamondbacks were unable to rally.

The series returns to Arizona for Game Five on Sunday night 7:30 p.m. EDT, with the Diamondbacks turning to Game One star Curt Schilling. The Cardinals are banking on Matt Morris, who nearly matched Schilling in Arizona's 1-0 victory.

"It's classic. It's what it's all about," Vina said. "Matt Mo against Curt Schilling, it's going to be fun."

"We're all on the same page now and we are ready to go to Phoenix and take on Curt Schilling and let Matt Morris try him again," Smith said. "We're excited and on a high right now."

Schilling also was excited.

"It comes down to one game," he said. "It's the best-of-nine tomorrow. We've got to come out and we've go to get it done. You figure out how you're going to get it done and you go about doing it tomorrow."

Arizona, which captured Games One and Three, got off to a quick start Saturday as Reggie Sanders walked with one out and stole second. Smith also walked Gonzalez on a 3-2 pitch and Greg Colbrunn grounded into a forceout. Steve Finley came through with a single to right for a 1-0 lead, but Smith retired Matt Williams on a grounder to second.

Williams is 0-for-12 with four walks in the series.

Vina got the Cardinals going in the bottom of the first with a single. He stole second and was sacrificed to third. J.D. Drew followed with a bouncer to first and reached when Lopez was slow to cover the bag.

Edmonds opened the second with his second homer of the series for a 2-1 lead, and Tony Womack ran Arizona out of potentially big inning in the third. Womack led off with a double and Luis Gonzalez walked one out later.

Womack was inexplicably picked off second and the blunder proved even more costly when Cardinals third baseman Placido Polanco threw away Greg Colbrunn's grounder. But Smith picked up his teammate by retiring Finley on a grounder to second.

"It was a heads-up play on their part," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "We know both (shortstop Edgar) Renteria and Vina were active with runners at second base. But Smith is a tremendous athlete. It was something we were aware of. They like to use that play, but it happened so quickly and Vina, I believe, stepped on Tony's hand to keep him from getting to the base. But that was a big play."

"We work on it," Smith said. "We work on our pickoffs and stuff. It was a big-time pickoff there. Vina was trying to go to the bag the pitch before and I saw him and I was going to the plate. And then he did it again the second pitch, and I turned and fired, and he was caught leaning. So it worked out."

Smith opened the third with a classic at-bat, falling behind 0-2 and fouling off a series of pitches before drawing a walk. Vina followed with his homer for a 4-1 lead and, two outs later, Albert Pujols and Edmonds drew back-to-back walks. But Mark McGwire flied to the wall in right-center field to end the inning.

The Diamondbacks had two aboard in the fourth, but Smith retired pinch hitter Jay Bell on a lineout and Womack on a flyout.

Kline started the ninth for St. Louis and allowed a leadoff single to Finley, but Williams grounded into a double play. Craig Counsell, Arizona's hero in Game Three, singled to right, but Damian Miller bounced to shortstop for the final out.

 

   
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