09/23/2002 9:23 pm ET
Cardinals thrash Arizona, 13-1
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Don't make your travel plans just yet, Cardinals fans. You might be
staying home for the start of the National League Division Series.
St. Louis closed within two games of NL West-leading Arizona for the second-best
record in the league by thrashing the Diamondbacks 13-1 at Busch Stadium on
Monday night. The Cardinals have clinched the NL Central and will play the NL
West champions in the first round of the playoffs. Home-field advantage will go
to the team with the better record.
The Cardinals have won six of their last seven and 16 out of 19. Arizona has lost four in a row, and its magic numbers
remain one to secure a postseason berth and three to win the West.
A close game turned into a blowout when St. Louis put up 10 runs in the seventh
inning. At one point the Cardinals recorded four consecutive infield hits, and
they also tallied nine straight base hits. The 13 runs were a season best for
the Redbirds, who have scored 63 runs in their last seven games.
Jamey Wright pitched five solid innings in his first start since Sept. 4,
allowing a run on three hits and walking five. But it took Wright a few batters
to shake off the rust. With one out in the first, Junior Spivey cracked a solo
homer to put Arizona on the board. Wright walked Erubiel Durazo after that, but
settled down from there. He gave up a hit and a pair of walks over the next
In the bottom of the fourth, St. Louis tied the game. Tino Martinez lined a
one-out double to left, then scored on Edgar Renteria's single to right. The
shortstop had a pair of hits drove in two runs, giving him a career-best 78 RBIs
on the season.
Wright got into some trouble in the fifth. He issued a leadoff walk to
Diamondbacks starter Rick Helling, and Tony Womack followed with a single. But
Spivey hit a ball right at Albert Pujols, who started a 5-3 double play. Durazo
walked again before Quinton McCracken grounded out, and that was all for Wright.
The right-hander had lasted just long enough. In the bottom of the fifth, the
Cardinals offense turned him into the winning pitcher. Marrero continued his
torrid hitting with a single to left, and Jim Edmonds followed with a single of
his own. Pujols lifted an RBI double to right, and J.D. Drew drove in the third
with a sacrifice fly to left.
And then the floodgates opened. Marrero actually started the big inning with a
groundout to short. But pinch-hitter So Taguchi followed with a walk, and Pujols
singled. After Tino Martinez flied out to center, Miguel Cairo knocked a pinch-single for an RBI. Three more infield hits scored
two more runs and loaded the bases, then Marrero struck the biggest blow with a
Run-scoring singles by Taguchi, Pujols and Eduardo Perez (pinch-hitting for
Martinez) capped the 10-run rally. It was the second-biggest inning of the year
for St. Louis, and the team's second double-digit outburst in September. The
Cardinals put up 11 runs in an inning against the Cubs on Sept. 6.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at Matthew_H_Leach@yahoo.com. This
story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.