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Game balls: Rating Game 2
10/08/2004 12:32 AM ET is awarding "game balls" -- or, in this case, Arches, to represent the Cardinals as the Gateway to the West, and Dodger Dogs, that culinary delight of Dodger Stadium -- for performances in the 2004 National League Division Series.

Five Arches: On top of the world
Four Arches: Clear view down river
Three Arches: Walked underneath
Two Arches: Saw it in the guide book
One Arch: I thought you said, St. Paul

Five Dogs: The Works
Four Dogs: That and a cold one
Three Dogs: No onions
Two Dogs: Ketchup only
One Dog: Cold wienie


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Bullpen: With starter Jason Marquis struggling, the Cardinals bullpen stepped in with some playoff-quality clutch relief, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings. After the Dodgers had tied the game in the fourth Cal Eldred and Danny Haren held the line until the offense could rally. Ray King, Julian Tavarez and Steve Kline handled the final three frames.

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Mike Matheny: Batting in the eight-hole, the Cardinals backstop drove in four runs Thursday. Matheny hit a big two-run single to center off Jeff Weaver as St. Louis took control of the game in the fifth. Then in the seventh, Matheny knocked in a pair by drilling a hanging curveball to left off Dodgers reliever Giovanni Carrara and the Cardinals grabbed a 2-0 lead in their National Division League Series with the Dodgers.

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Edgar Renteria: The Cardinals shortstop made his presence known again in Game 2 of the NLDS. Renteria went 3-for-4 on Thursday, scored three runs and knocked in the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the fifth. Over the first two games of the series, Renteria is 4-for-6 with three RBIs and two doubles.

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Reggie Sanders: The well-traveled left fielder reached base in each of his four at-bats Thursday, getting three singles, two of the infield variety, and got aboard in the pivotal fifth when he was hit by a pitch from Weaver. Sanders also scored twice on the night.

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Jason Marquis: Though he posted a 15-7 record with a 3.71 ERA in the regular season, Marquis struggled in his first postseason start. He didn't make it out of the fourth inning while allowing three home runs. Fortunately for Marquis, all three were solo shots and the Cardinals right-hander was taken off the hook.


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Milton Bradley: The mercurial Dodgers right fielder proved his value by going 2-for-3 including a game-tying homer in the fourth Thursday. Bradley drove a full-count pitch off Marquis to right as the Dodgers fought back from a two-run deficit.

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Jayson Werth: Continuing his strong series, Werth drove in the Dodgers' first run for the second straight game. The left-fielder homered off Marquis in the top of the first and walked in two other plate appearances as he went 1-for-3 on Thursday. Werth is 3-for-7 over two games and is a triple shy of the cycle for the series.

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Steve Finley: A hero during the Dodgers' stretch run to the National League West crown, Finley has not pulled his weight in the series with the Cardinals. After the Dodgers tied the game in the fourth, Finley missed a chance to blow the game open when he left the bases loaded to end the inning. The center fielder is 0-for-8 in the series, reaching base just once when he walked Thursday. Finley is also 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position over the two games.

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Jeff Weaver: The Dodgers right-hander was saddled with the chore of holding the Cardinals' offense in check and pitching his club back into the series. After getting in an early hole, the Dodgers handed Weaver a tie ballgame, but he couldn't hang on. In the decisive fifth, Weaver allowed three runs and three hits and hit two batters to take the loss.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.