Well, that was unusual. It’s not every day that Raul Mondesi hits a walkoff home run. Or that Dan Kolb pitches a perfect ninth, striking out Larry Walker in the process, to get the win.
I was ready to strangle Mondesi — more than usual — early in the game, when he came in with Andruw at second, nobody out, and flew out weakly to left. He made up for it some by drawing a walk to load the bases in the seventh, though a couple of the balls looked like they should have been strike three. (The Cardinal pitcher was thrown out for whining about it, but was leaving the game anyway.) Then, leading off the ninth, Mondesi hit a rocket to left field, ending the game.
The Cards got their runs early, one in the first, one in the second. All of this was happening in the rain, but the umpires never stop games anymore because there aren’t enough chances to make up games, so they played through. The Braves got one back in the second when LaRoche doubled, went to third on a long fly, then home on another one.
They tied the score in the seventh, one of the odder innings you’ll see. In the Cards’ half, Foster got one out but allowed a single to Walker and was lifted for Gryboski, who promptly hit Pujols, bringing up Edmonds. Who singled — but off of Pujols, who was automatically out. Gryboski struck out Rolen — nearly as remarkable as Kolb striking out Walker — to end the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, Estrada singled to lead off. Bobby, as he’s been doing, ran for him with Langerhans. Hey, at least Ryan gets to get his uniform dirty. Andruw singled to left, his third hit of the day, but Langerhans stopped at second. Then came Mondesi’s walk. Bobby played the Chipper card — I wonder if Chipper could have started if not for the terrible weather. And the first pitch hit Chipper in the injured foot, only the umpire didn’t catch it and called it ball one. Chipper eventually worked him for a hobble to tie the game. (Bobby ran Jorge Sosa for Chipper.) Furcal flew out weakly to right so Andruw couldn’t score. Then Bobby hit Franco for Orr, blowing the rest of his bench (because now Betemit would have to enter the game) even though Orr’s been a better hitter than Julio and would be tough to double up. Julio struck out, and Marcus couldn’t beat out a grounder, and I’m thinking this is going thirteen, but then Mondesi came through.
Each team used five pitchers. Bobby lifted Reitsma even though he’d only thrown eight pitches in the eighth… Betemit hit a two-out triple over Walker’s head in the eighth, the last base because Walker fell down.
Rubber match tomorrow afternoon, Suppan versus Smoltz, which looks like a mismatch except that Suppan’s throwing to our hitters… The Marlins are leading the Phillies in the sixth.