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10/28/06 1:00 AM ET

Cardinals Short Hops: Game 5

Opportunistic Cards snag first World Series title since 1982

ST. LOUIS -- Fielding the Cardinals' World Series-clinching 4-2 victory over the Tigers in Game 5 Friday night on the short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Right-hander Jeff Weaver, discarded by the Angels on June 30, turned in the pitching effort that Cardinals fans will treasure forever.

Frozen moment
Right fielder Chris Duncan, who dropped a fly ball earlier to turn Sean Casey's fourth-inning home run into two runs, misplayed a Casey fly ball into a double with two out in the sixth. But Weaver blew two pitches past Ivan Rodriguez, then caught Rodriguez looking at an unhittable slider to end the threat.

Big number
4 -- Hits against Weaver.

Game ball
Eckstein -- Five balls: Eckstein turned it up the last two games, with four hits on Thursday night and two hits and a key run scored on Friday night.

Sense of October
Cards first baseman Albert Pujols is expected to make the big plays, but usually with the bat. However, Pujols made a diving catch on a Placido Polanco grounder that led off the seventh, rolled over and threw to Weaver covering the bag to stop the Tigers from beginning a rally.

Lines of the game:
Catcher Yadier Molina
4 AB, 2 R, 3 H
Comment: It wasn't like the National League Championship Series, which Molina won with a Game 7 home run. But he singled in each of his first three at-bats and came around to score twice.

Right-handed starter Jeff Weaver
8 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 SO
Comment: Weaver was nothing short of dominant. He retired the first seven batters he faced. Just twice, in the third and fourth innings, did he face more than one baserunner in an inning.

"It's a great honor, but I feel like I was just trying to do what I usually do. I just got very fortunate. I found some holes." -- Eckstein after being chosen the World Series Most Valuable Player.

Next step

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.