ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- The St. Louis Cardinals try to terminate
the Arizona Diamondbacks' efforts at defending their World
Series title on Saturday when they play Game Three of their
National League Division Series.
The Cardinals shocked the Diamondbacks by taking the first two
games of the series against aces Randy Johnson and Curt
Schilling in Arizona.
In Game Two on Thursday, reserve Miguel Cairo singled in the
go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning and five pitchers
combined on a six-hitter as the Cardinals edged the
Diamondbacks, 2-1, to move within one win of their second NL
Championship Series appearance in three years.
Blanked for 6 1/3 innings by Chuck Finley, Arizona tied it in
the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double by Quinton McCracken.
But Edgar Renteria led off the ninth with a single off Mike
Koplove and was sacrificed into scoring position by Mike
Matheny. Cairo, waived by the Chicago Cubs last season, bounced
Koplove's next pitch up the middle to score Renteria without a
"It's tough," Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said of losing
both games with Cy Young candidates Johnson and Schilling on the
mound. "It means you're in an 0-2 hole going back to their
ballpark. It's probably the understatement of the season that
our work is cut out for us now."
"We have done an excellent job for a long time at not getting
carried away," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "I mean,
this is a three-out-of-five series. We know who we're playing
against, the defending champions. We have total respect. We're
really excited that we've got two. But trust me, there will be
nobody that's half-stepping on Saturday because we know how
dangerous the Diamondbacks are."
The Cardinals will be without third baseman Scott Rolen, who
suffered a sprained left shoulder when Arizona pinch runner Alex
Cintron ran into him on a ground ball in the seventh inning.
Rolen will be out for 10-14 days, meaning he should be available
should St. Louis reach the World Series.
"My heart is really warm about the way we're playing and I'm
sick to my stomach about Scott," La Russa said after Game Two,
when it appeared that Rolen might be out for the remainder of
the postseason. "It's not really (that) he is just a good
player, but he's really excited about the postseason. He played
at such a high level."
Cairo or left fielder Albert Pujols, who played third base until
Rolen was acquired from Philadelphia in July, could get the
start at third. If Pujols moves to the infield, Eli Marrero
most likely will start in left field.
Andy Benes (5-4, 2.78 ERA) gets the baseball for the Cardinals.
Benes was 2-0 in his last six starts since a loss to
Philadelphia on August 24. He went 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two
starts against the Diamondbacks this season and is 0-2 with a
3.86 ERA in three career starts vs. them.
Benes went 0-0 with a 5.14 ERA in one NLDS start against San
Diego in 1996, giving up four runs and six hits in seven
innings. He also went 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts for
Seattle against the New York Yankees in the 1995 ALDS.
Arizona's Miguel Batista (8-9, 4.29) made one relief stint
against the Cardinals this year, giving up two runs in 1 1/3
innings of an 8-4 home setback on April 7. He is 0-3 with a 7.32
ERA in 15 career regular season games, including six starts,
against St. Louis.
Batista faced the Cardinals in last year's NLDS, going 1-0 with
a 2.70 ERA in one start and one relief appearance.
"There's no pep talks, there's no magic words that are going to
suddenly make everything OK," Brenly said. "You just keep
grinding. You keep playing the game. You keep doing the things
you've been successful doing and hope for the best."