But like their manager, who went bass fishing on Friday morning, the Cards weren't about to panic. They were, after all, home on their carpet for Game 3. They came out running in a contest that lasted three hours and 21 minutes, and featured 13 walks and more than 30 pick-off attempts.
They created two runs in the first on one single and pure speed. Coleman outran a pitchout, and McGee walked. Then Bob Welch threw a pickoff attempt into center, scoring Coleman and sending McGee to third, from where he scored on a groundout. The top of the order accounted for two more runs in the second, one coming on Herr's solo homer.
Trying to hold the 4-0 lead was Danny Cox, who won 18 games this season yet drew more notice for flying back home to Georgia on an off-day two weeks ago to punch out his ex-brother-in-law, who had allegedly been harassing Cox's family. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," Cox said upon returning.
When Cox's elbow tightened in the seventh, he yielded to Herzog's bullpen by committee. Ken Dayley got the official save, but Pendleton was the real savior in the 4-2 victory. He made a sparkling over-the-head catch of Brock's foul pop in the eighth and a diving catch of a sure double by Maldonado in the ninth.
The bizarre tarpaulin accident occurred two hours before the start of Game 4, when rain interrupted Cardinal batting practice. As the St. Louis players were leaving the field, a member of the Busch Stadium grounds crew activated the mechanized tarp system. A 1,200-pound rolled tarp rose from an underground chamber along the first-base line and began advancing across the infield. Coleman was standing near home plate.
"He didn't see what was going on," Pendleton, an eyewitness, said later. "He turned around to toss his glove to a coach, and as he did, the tarp caught his foot. It sort of like swallowed him. It was a scary feeling, because there was nothing you could do but watch."
Coleman, screaming in agony, was pinned beneath the tarp from the hip down. It took six men to lift the tarp. A stretcher arrived and carried Coleman to a trainer's room.
Amazingly, no bones were broken, though Coleman's left leg was badly bruised and abraded. His teammates were shaken. "We weren't even thinking about the series," said Herr. "We were worried about Vince's career."
The word was that Coleman would be ready to play in Game 6 in L.A., and the Cardinals made sure there would be a Game 6 by routing the Dodgers 12-2.
In the second inning alone, St. Louis battered Los Angeles pitching for eight hits and nine runs, with Clark and Tito Landrum, Coleman's replacement, each singling twice. In the L.A. dugout Lasorda kicked the trash cans.