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Homer puts Cards in 3-1 hole
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 4      3   Final
10/13/2002 11:04 pm ET 
 Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
 Cardinals 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 12 0
 Giants 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 X 4 4 1
Homer puts Cards in 3-1 hole
By Matthew Leach /

Andy Benes pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up two runs in Game 4 of the NLCS. (Justin Sullivan/
SAN FRANCISCO -- They've seen plenty of challenges on and off the field this year. But as for the stuff between the foul lines, this is as big an obstacle as the Cardinals have faced in 2002. After watching a 2-0 lead turn into a 4-3 loss on Sunday night, St. Louis trails San Francisco three games to one in the National League Championship Series.

The Giants can secure their first NL pennant since 1989 with a win on Monday at Pacific Bell Park. Since the inception of the best-of-seven LCS format in 1985, only three teams have overcome 3-1 deficits to advance to the World Series. The last time it happened was 1996, when the Braves bounced the Cardinals.

Benito Santiago hit a two-run homer off Rick White in the bottom of the eighth inning for the winning runs. St. Louis had intentionally walked Barry Bonds to get to Santiago. White's first pitch to the catcher was his 36th of the evening, matching a season high. On pitch No. 41, Santiago went deep.

Back to Steve Kline was warming up, and Dave Veres and Jason Isringhausen was available, but manager Tony La Russa stood by his decision to stick with White.

"He's been really good for us," La Russa said. "He was so fresh. ... A game like today, he was fresh enough to go that far. Look at the outs he got. How many did he strike out?"

Jim Edmonds drove in a run with a groundout and Tino Martinez added an RBI single, both in the first inning. But the Cardinals didn't score again until Kerry Robinson came home on Edmonds' ninth-inning single off Robb Nen. The Cardinals stranded 11 baserunners, including seven at third base.

"We scored right away," said Albert Pujols. "Two runs right away and we actually got a lot of hits, but we didn't get the big hit. I think that the only big hit in the whole night was the one that Jimmy got in the ninth with men on third and second. But we left a lot of men on base including myself."

Fernando Vina, who has always hit Livan Hernandez well, got it going for the Cardinals immediately. The second baseman laced a double to left field on the game's first pitch, then took third base on Edgar Renteria's fly ball to right field. Edmonds followed with a grounder to second, and St. Louis had a 1-0 lead.

With two outs and the bases empty, Hernandez hit Pujols in the back with a pitch. J.D. Drew followed with a single to center. Martinez, mired in a 1-for-22 slump entering the game, looped a single to shallow left that scored Pujols to make it 2-0.


Starter Andy Benes, who gutted out 5 1/3 strong innings, got into a little trouble in the bottom of the first, walking Jeff Kent and giving up a single to Barry Bonds. But Santiago flied out with two on, and from there the big right-hander settled in. He retired the next eight batters and didn't give up another hit until the fifth inning, when Reggie Sanders singled sharply to left.

Finally in the sixth, Benes ran into some trouble. He walked Kent with one out, then issued Bonds what could fairly be called an intentional unintentional walk. That was all for the 35-year-old, who gave way to White. White struck out Santiago, but J.T. Snow ripped a double to the wall in left-center to tie the game.

"I was trying to make a good pitch, have (Kent) put the ball in play, and I walked him," Benes said. "The bottom line was, I knew at the time that was gonna be big, especially with Barry. We were gonna have to get Benny out, and Snow out unless we got a double play. Snow came up with a huge hit."

White cruised after that, pitching a perfect seventh and dispatching Rich Aurilia and Kent to start the eighth. But the Cardinals elected not to pitch to Bonds with two outs and the bases empty, then stayed with White rather than call on another reliever. Santiago made them pay with his second homer of the series, and now the Cardinals are in a deep hole.


  LCS Comebacks

Since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1985, only three teams have rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to advance to the World Series:

• The '85 Royals over the Blue Jays
• The '86 Red Sox over the Angels
• The '96 Braves over the Cardinals
"I was on the other end of a 3-1 situation in '96," Benes said, "and Atlanta threw (John) Smoltz and (Greg) Maddux and (Tom) Glavine at us and won three in a row. We have (Matt Morris) going tomorrow and Woody (Williams) and (Chuck) Finley, and I still think everybody in here believes that we're gonna win. It was a tough loss but I think we'll bounce back and have a good chance to win (Monday) with Mo throwing and then get it back home. If we can get home I think we have a good shot."

That was the echo throughout the St. Louis clubhouse. Get it back home. Get another shot at Busch Stadium.

"We're still in a position to win three out of four," White said, referring to the team's situation at the beginning of the day. "If we had won tonight and lost tomorrow, it's the same as if we lost tonight and won tomorrow."

To a man, the Redbirds repeated the same mantra. If they can just win one game, with their ace on the mound, no less, it's a different series. And they can get ready to play one game.

"We win tomorrow, we're back, we've got the home-field advantage," Kline said. "It will be nice to see St. Louis again. I'm tired of being out here. We come out here tomorrow, beat these guys, go home and just get on a streak. That's all we need. Just need three games."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for He can be reached at This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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San Francisco Giants 4, St Louis Cardinals 3
Vina, 2B 5130002.263
Renteria, SS 4000004.067
Edmonds, CF 5022001.375
Pujols, 3B 4110013.267
Drew, RF 5020014.417
Martinez, 1B 3011101.143
Marrero, LF 4010005.250
Kline, P 0000000.000
Matheny, C 4020001.333
Benes, P 2000003.000
White, P 0000000.000
Robinson, LF 1100010.000
2B: Vina (2, Hernandez), Matheny (1, Hernandez).
RBI: Edmonds 2 (4), Martinez (1).
2-out RBI: Martinez.
S: Benes, Renteria.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Marrero 2, Renteria, Benes, Pujols, Matheny, Drew.
GIDP: Drew, Vina.
Team LOB: 11.
SB: Martinez (1, 2nd base off Worrell/Santiago).
Lofton, CF 4000021.118
Worrell, P 0000000.000
Nen, P 0000000.000
Aurilia, SS 4000010.308
Kent, 2B 2100200.313
Bonds, LF 2210200.333
Santiago, C 3112114.353
Snow, 1B 4012011.313
Sanders, RF 3010011.063
Rodriguez, P 0000000.000
Eyre, P 0000000.000
Goodwin, RF 0000000.000
Bell, 3B 3000011.385
Hernandez, P 1000010.000
Shinjo, RF-CF 1000000.000
2B: Snow (1, White).
HR: Santiago (2, 8th inning off White, 1 on, 2 out).
RBI: Snow 2 (2), Santiago 2 (6).
2-out RBI: Snow 2, Santiago 2.
S: Hernandez.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Santiago, Lofton, Sanders.
Team LOB: 5.
E: Aurilia (1, fielding).
DP: 2 (Kent-Aurilia-Snow, Snow-Aurilia).
Benes 5.12224503.38
White (BS, 1) (L, 0-1) 2.12221314.50
Kline 0.10000000.00
Hernandez 6.19221002.84
Rodriguez 0.20000000.00
Eyre 0.11000000.00
Worrell (W, 1-0) 0.20000003.38
Nen (S, 3) 1.02110302.70
WP: Nen.
IBB: Bonds (by White).
HBP: Pujols (by Hernandez).
Pitches-strikes: Benes 86-49, White 41-24, Kline 4-2, Hernandez 85-58, Rodriguez 11-6, Eyre 2-2, Worrell 5-4, Nen 25-17.
Ground outs-fly outs: Benes 5-6, White 3-1, Kline 1-0, Hernandez 12-7, Rodriguez 1-1, Eyre 1-0, Worrell 1-1, Nen 1-0.
Batters faced: Benes 22, White 10, Kline 1, Hernandez 29, Rodriguez 2, Eyre 2, Worrell 2, Nen 6.
Inherited runners-scored: White 2-2, Rodriguez 1-0, Worrell 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Jeff Kellogg. 1B: Tim Welke. 2B: Charlie Reliford. 3B: Randy Marsh. LF: Jeff Nelson. RF: Dale Scott.
Weather: 77 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 8 mph, Out to RF.
T: 3:26.
Att: 42,676.
Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner