The Cardinals walked into Yankee stadium with nothing to lose in the imaginary alternate World Series.
Down three games to one, no one even expected a game seven. Yet, here they were with Cy Young favorite Adam Wainwright on the hill against New York's high dollar free agent C.C. Sabathia in a winner take all game.
The Yankees drew first blood in the opening inning when first baseman Mark Teixeira hit a towering two-out solo homer to give New York a 1-0 advantage. The game threatened to get out of hand early when third baseman Alex Rodriguez drove a ball to the wall in right field. But Cardinals flychaser Ryan Ludwick leapt and snagged it for the third out.
In the fourth inning, Yankees DH Hideki Matsui singled to right center and it looked like the Cardinals would again wiggle off the hook when catcher Jorge Posada swung and missed for strike three to record the first out and second baseman Robinson Cano popped up to center for the second. But centerfielder Nick Swisher topped a slow roller to second for an infield single and Melky Cabrera grounded one past St. Louis second baseman Skip Schumaker to make it 2-0.
Still, it could have been worse. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter walked to load the bases with two outs. Then Johnny Damon hit a long, high fly ball to right field that Ludwick snagged on the run for the third out.
In the top of the fifth inning, Ludwick led off with a single to right and catcher Yadier Molina followed with a single back through the box to give the Cardinals two on with no outs. But third baseman Mark DeRosa struck out looking and shortstop Brendan Ryan struck out looking to dim the Birds' scoring chances. St. Louis DH Brian Barden was hit in the leg with a pitch to load the bases and then Schumaker grounded one past Rodriguez to cut the Yankees lead to 2-1.
In the top of the sixth, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols doubled to left to lead off the inning and Ludwick walked following a strikeout by left fielder Matt Holliday. Molina singled to load the bases to load the bases with one out. Needing only a sacrifice fly to tie the seventh game of the world series and a single to give St. Louis the lead, DeRosa struck out again... The Brendan Ryan waved at a ball in the dirt to end the inning.
The inning started a lot less optimistically in the seventh when Barden and Schumaker quickly grounded out. But Rasmus drew a two-out walk and Pujols pulled a homer just inside the left field foul pole to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
Enjoy the moment while you can. Because that's where it all started to fall apart.
Trever Miller came in to pitch in the bottom of the seventh and walked Rodriguez with one out. He got Matsui to fly out to right and seemed like he might get out of the inning. But he got a ball up in the strike zone to Posada and the Yankees catcher parked in the left field bleachers to regain the lead for New York 4-3.
Dennys Reyes relieved and hit Cano right in the middle of the back with the first pitch he threw and walked Swisher after four more deliveries. Cabrera then singled to drive in another run. The Yankees added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, and what was a hard fought an interesting game fell apart. The Cardinals lost 7-3.
2009 Cardinals 3 8 0
2009 Yankees 7 13 0
New York wins four games to three.
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