Tidbits: First things first for Dodgers
LA -- and Torre -- wins first playoff game in St. Louis
A couple of firsts: Both Joe Torre (previously 0-2, both games in the 1982 National League Championship Series) and his Dodgers (0-5) registered their first postseason wins in St. Louis.A new season? Not always. Sometimes, the so-called "Second Season" is just an extension of the first one. The Cardinals had gone quietly through September, scoring three runs or fewer in 12 of their final 17 regular-season games -- a trend they continued in the Division Series, scoring a total of six runs in getting swept by the Dodgers.
This might also be a good time to remember that, although several qualifiers limped into the postseason, the Cardinals were the only ones to actually play sub-.500 ball (14-16) through their last 30 games.Hip, Hip, Holliday: There had been speculation over what kind of welcome Busch Stadium would accord Matt Holliday, whose grave ninth-inning misplay had enabled the Dodgers' 3-2 comeback win in Game 2 on Thursday night. Let it be noted that in true Midwest style, Cardinals fans showered Holliday with their loudest pregame cheers. As the starting lineup was announced and the players took turns lining up along the first-base line, Albert Pujols got a predictably big ovation -- which then was dwarfed by the roar for Holliday. Smoltz strikes again: John Smoltz's only Division Series appearance turned into the Game 3 highlight for the Busch Stadium record crowd of 47,296, when he struck out five consecutive batters in his two relief innings. Smoltz already held the NLDS record for career strikeouts, which he increased to 58. In the process, he also passed Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte to rank No. 2 on the Major League list. Mariano Rivera leads with 86. Clinch map: Since relocating to Los Angeles in 1957, the Dodgers now have won 13 postseason series, and Saturday's clincher was their first on the road since they wrapped up the 1988 World Series with a Game 5 win in Oakland. The Dodgers finished off three previous series on the road: the 1981 World Series over the Yankees, the 1977 NLCS over the Phillies and the 1959 World Series over the White Sox. Conversely, the Cardinals have been eliminated at home in their past three postseason losses, following the 2005 NLCS to the Astros and the 2004 World Series to the Red Sox. Traffic crunch averted: No doubt St Louis sports fans would have gladly dealt with it, but the Cardinals' eliminating loss prevented a downtown baseball-football jam on Sunday, when the Rams are hosting Brett Favre's Vikings in the Edwards Jones Dome, about a mile from Busch Stadium. This was a truly rare weekend when all three of St. Louis' pro teams were in home action within blocks and hours of each other. The NHL Blues also played in Scottrade Center on Saturday night -- against the Los Angeles Kings.