Wow, easy inning for Lieber.
Side trip to St. Louis:
Biggio singles, and Beltran hits a frelling rocket to the right field stands. Astros lead, 2-0. Beltran is amazing.
Pedro walks Jeter on four pitches. Jeter steals, Varitek makes a perfect throw, and Jeter is dead, except Bellhorn can't handle the ball. Pedro nicks ARod with a pitch. Sheffield's bat motion as he gets ready drives me crazy. It's like he's chopping wood. Line drive base hit to center, Jeter scores, 1-0. Matsui up. Varitek and Pedro seem to be on completely different pages. That can't be good. It works, though, as both Matsui and Williams strike out looking. Pedro seems to be on tonight.
Walker triples, and Pujols hits a bomb for the Cards. 2-2.
Cairo walks. Lofton is in because he's had success against Pedro, and he gets a hit. Jeter gives it a ride, but Damon tracks it down. Pedro spends way too much time worrying about Lofton at first, but it doesn't matter, as ARod strikes out looking. Leiter and McCarver are right. The way Martinez is throwing, he shouldn't be worrying about runners at all. He's blowing batters away.
Still 2-2 in St. Louis. Williams strikes out Beltran. Good job.
Sheffield pops up, Cabrera calls for it, and Manny comes within an inch of running him over. No harm done, fortunately. Otherwise, another easy inning for Pedro.
Lieber isn't having much trouble, either. Another easy inning for him, too.
Jeff Kent smacks a two-run homer to left. Astros up, 4-2.
Pedro walks Posada to open the inning, but nothing comes of it.
ARod on first, Sheffield fouls one off his knee that Varitek thinks may be a fair ball. He picks it up and rifles it to second, right through the region of space Pedro was occupying an instant before. Pedro makes like Charlie Brown, glove, cap, and socks everywhere.
Damon is having a great at bat here. Fouling off pitch after pitch while working the count full. Lieber wins the battle, though, as Damon finally lines out to Bernie Williams in center. Bellhorn strikes out, and Lieber is through the inning.
Huh. Astros-Cards is now 4-4. What happened? <runs over to mlb.com...> Ah. The Cards strung together a walk and a few hits.
Pedro walks Posada, then makes a huge mistake, leaving a fastball out over the plate for Olerud. Home run. 3-0. He's still pitching pretty well. He disposes of Cairo and Lofton easily.
Lieber is throwing a one-hitter. Manny grounds out, but Ortiz gets the second hit of the night for the Sox. It's all for naught as Millar grounds into a double play.
Eight Cards have batted so far in the sixth, and they're now up 7-4 with two men on, and the Astros changing pitchers. Another walk, and the bases are loaded.
Timlin replaces Pedro, and gets Jeter. ARod rips a ball towards third, but Mueller is right on it for the out. Sheffield singles, and Francona calls for Embree to pitch to Matsui, who singles. Embree gets Williams, though, to end the inning.
The Cardinals are still batting. Rolen walked to load the bases, and then Edmonds cleared them with a double. 10-4.
Lieber gives up a hit to Nixon, and Torre comes out to get him. Standing ovation from the crowd. Pedro pitched well, but Lieber was better. Here comes Flash. Who gives up a hit to Varitek. First and third, no outs. Cabrera grounds to short, scoring Nixon. Gordon is throwing hard, but he's not really hitting good spots. Mueller grounds to second, moving Varitek to third, and Gordon is done for the night. Here comes Mariano. He shatters Damon's bat on one pitch, then strikes him out looking.
Posada gets a hit. Olerud flies out. Foulke relieves Embree. Foulke hits Cairo with a changeup. Joe Buck is getting a little ahead of himself here. He's already sort of assuming the Yanks are going to lose here. It ain't over yet, Joe. Jeter walks, bases loaded.
Houston is coming back. Beltran singles, and Berkman homers. 10-6.
Foulke is 3-2 on ARod. Foulke got a call his way from the ump on what could've been ball four. Rodriguez flies out, and the Sox get their last shot.
Rivera versus the meat of the order. Bellhorn grounds easily to first. Ramirez smokes one to left center for a double. Ortiz to the plate. He's done well against Rivera in the past, .538 lifetime. Walk him? Nope. Rivera blows the first pitch by him. Ortiz lofts the second pitch foul. Rivera rears back, and blows another fastball by him. Two outs. Millar to the plate. Strike one. A ball, as Millar checks. Another strike. Millar fouls one off and breaks his bat. High fastball, Millar swings through it. Game over.
Back to St. Louis:
It's 10-7 on a pinch hit home run by Lamb, but Beltran grounds out to end that game. Cardinals win.
Two pretty interesting games. Lieber pitched a great game. Pedro pitched well, well enough to win if the Sox could've hit. He made only one mistake. One key was that the Yankees made him work hard in the first two innings (45 pitches), using him up. He was only able to go six, and he made that mistake. The Sox are in trouble, even if they are going back to Fenway. It's not just that they're down 2-0. Schilling may not be back, Pedro got beat, and now it's Arroyo and Wakefield, and maybe even Lowe if Schilling can't go. This is not at all how Theo Epstein planned it.
The Astros are also in trouble. They can hit, but they used up their staff getting to the NLCS. By the time they get back to Clemens, they will likely be down 2-0. Here's the question. Would you rather be down 2-0 with your two best pitchers yet to go, or down 2-0 with your two best pitchers already having lost?