Dodgers take advantage of miscue
Instead, the ball smacked him in the gut and dropped to the grass—and the Cardinals never recovered.
Holliday’s crucial error with two outs in the ninth inning led to a two-run rally that gave the Los Angels Dodgers a 3-2 victory Thursday and put the Cardinals on the brink of playoff elimination.
In the other National League game, Yorvit Torrealba hit a two-run homer, Aaron Cook pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the Colorado Rockies beat Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4, to even their NL playoff series at a game apiece.
In the American League, Los Angeles defeated Boston, 5-0.
The Cardinals were cruising until Holliday’s misplay.
“I didn’t see the ball,” Holliday said. “Obviously, I can catch a ball that’s hit right at me. It’s very difficult to swallow. We had a chance to win the game. It was unfortunate that it happened when it did.”
Ex-Cardinal Ronnie Belliard and pinch-hitter Mark Loretta came through with RBI singles off All-Star closer Ryan Franklin, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. They can close it out with a sweep in Game 3 on Saturday in St. Louis.
Holliday, who homered in the second inning, was a huge reason the Cardinals won the NL Central. Acquired from Oakland in a July trade, his hitting tear helped them cruise to the division title. Along the way, he committed one error in 63 regular-season games with his new team.
But his fielding gaffe Thursday cost the Cardinals dearly.
“It’s about as tough a loss as you can have, except we still have an opportunity to play Saturday,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Right now I think it’s important to get upset about the game that got away. We did a lot to win that one and didn’t win it. Turn the page too quickly means you don’t care.”
The Cardinals got a stellar performance from starter Adam Wainwright, who left with a 2-1 lead after eight innings. Still, St. Louis went home empty-handed after opening the series with two Cy Young Award contenders on the mound: Chris Carpenter and Wainwright.
n Rockies 5, Phillies 4—Huston Street pitched out of trouble in the ninth to save it for Colorado. He retired Shane Victorino on a soft liner to second to leave the potential tying run—Game 1 winner Cliff Lee—at second base.
Hamels, the World Series and NLCS MVP last year, looked nothing like the guy who was so dominant during Philadelphia’s championship run last October. The left-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. He didn’t stick around after departing, rushing off to be with his wife, Heidi, who was in labor with the couple’s first child.
The best-of-five series shifts to Denver for Game 3 on Saturday.
Last updated: 11:47 am Thursday, December 13, 2012