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Cardinals short hops
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10/05/2004 9:34 PM ET
Cardinals short hops
Redbirds don't flinch in opening game
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
ST. LOUIS -- In the top of the third inning Tuesday at Busch Stadium, the Dodgers' Jayson Werth hit a pop fly into the sun that was caught by third baseman Scott Rolen. What made it notable was the fact that Werth's bat flew out of his hands and whipped end over end, dangerously, right beside Rolen as he kept his eyes pointed to the sky the entire time.

He didn't even flinch.

That was somehow symbolic of the Cardinals' opener in this National League Division Series. They didn't even flinch. Amid all the talk of whether St. Louis could "turn it on" again after the post-clinch lull, they got strong pitching, errorless defense, clutch two-out hitting and that big five-run fifth.

At the end of the day, the bottom of that third inning and especially Larry Walker's contribution is what people will remember most. But what happened in the top of the inning is worth remembering as well. The Dodgers were the "hot" club and the Cards were seen by some as "vulnerable." In Game 1, the home team didn't flinch.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 1 of the NLDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 3.00 easy to pitch when your team slugs like that
BA .257 five of nine hits came in one monster inning
Runs 8 that kind of production gets you to NLCS
Errors 0 Walker said he should have had one, but who really cares?

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Walker .500 BA, 2 HR, 2 RBI playoff layoff was worth the wait
Kiko Calero 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K good signs for middle relief so far

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Tony Womack 0-for-5 no leadoff noise made Game 1 more amazing

Behind the numbers
As Jim Tracy noted often, St. Louis batters were 7-for-15 with three homers and six RBIs in two-out situations.

Frozen moment
Walker's homer with two out in the third was the key. Instead of just another out for him vs. Odalis Perez, it led to five runs.

Slick move
Tony La Russa batted Edgar Renteria fifth and Jim Edmonds sixth instead of vice versa. They reached base a combined five times.

A Murderers Row of their own
The Cards tied a postseason record with five homers in a game. They're in good company. In the World Series, the 1928 Yanks did it against these Cardinals (Babe Ruth had three of them) and La Russa's 1989 A's did it against the Giants. The Cubs did it against San Diego in the 1984 NLCS.

Eight for Edmonds
Edmonds hit his eighth career postseason homer and added to his club record with his sixth career Division Series homer, which he hit in his 12th NLDS contest and 44th at-bat. He has now driven in 14 runs in Division Series play.

Last word
"I wish you could experience it one time and see what it's like."
-- Walker, on those five curtain calls

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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