10/22/2004 12:07 AM ET
Edmonds' catch deflates Astros
Highlight-reel dive snuffs potential rally in second
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
|Jim Edmonds flashed his Gold Glove on this second-inning grab. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Jim Edmonds on his catch: 56K | 350K
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ST. LOUIS -- While everyone was asking him questions about Cardinals sluggers Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen, the hitting heroes of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell made it a point to talk about St. Louis' defense, which not only ranked eighth in the Major Leagues during the regular season, but helped the Cardinals win the pennant.
"They are not just an offensive machine," Bagwell said. "Everyone always points to their offense, but people forget what they bring defensively."
Bagwell and the Astros saw firsthand what the Cardinals could do on defense. In fact, it killed a Houston rally in the second inning, thanks to center fielder Jim Edmonds.
Houston was leading, 1-0, and looking to add more runs. With runners on first and second and one out, Astros catcher Brad Ausmus hit what looked to be a double to left-center field. But Edmonds caught up with the ball that was headed toward the gap and made a sensational diving catch that saved two runs.
Astros starter Roger Clemens was the next hitter, and he struck out to end the inning.
"If the ball gets by Edmonds, you probably have two runs in and a man on second. It's a 3-0 game," Ausmus said. "It was a spectacular play. It not out of the ordinary for Jimmy Edmonds. That may have saved the game for them."
The champagne was flowing in the Cardinals' locker room, and Edmonds admitted that he was speechless about his game-saving catch.
"I don't know what to say, I really don't," Edmonds said. "It's something you can't explain. You have to ask somebody else. I haven't seen it. I don't know what it looked like. I was doing the best that I could to get to the ball. If I didn't catch that ball, it's 3-0."
Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and catcher Mike Matheny saw the play and believed it helped the Cardinals advance to the World Series.
"We play defense," LaRussa said. "That was probably the game-saving play. That's going to be two runs, who knows how many more."
Said Matheny: "Edmonds is an amazing player. He never ceases to amaze me."
Bill Ladson is
a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.