10/12/2002 1:50 pm ET
Giants, Cards set to battle
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- As ships crisscrossed San Francisco Bay in celebration of Fleet Week and a layer of fog burned off from around the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon, the Giants and Cardinals prepared to play Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Pacific Bell Park.
For the Giants, who hold a 2-0 lead after winning the first two games in St. Louis, taking the third game would virtually assure them of their first World Series berth since 1989.
"If you're stepping on them, you've got to continue to step on them," said Giants manager Dusty Baker. "So [Saturday] is a big game."
They will put their faith in 28-year-old right-hander Russ Ortiz, who won two of the three games San Francisco captured in defeating the Braves in the Division Series. He didn't face the Cardinals this season but went 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA in two 2001 starts.
The Cardinals can get a big boost by cutting into the Giants' two-game lead with a victory in Game 3. Lefty Chuck Finley is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in two career starts against the Giants, both of them when he was with Anaheim.
In an effort to add more punch to the lineup, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa shook up the lineup for Game 3. Shortstop Edgar Renteria moves up to second in the lineup, and J.D. Drew will now hit fifth, one spot ahead of Tino Martinez. Eli Marrero will hit seventh and play left field, with cleanup hitter Albert Pujols moving from left to third base in place of Miguel Cairo.
Since the inception of the seven-game format for the League Championship Series in 1985, no team has ever lost the first two games at home and then come back to win the series. But the Cardinals, who have faced adversity all season, including the sudden death of pitcher Darryl Kile in June, could be just the team to make history.
"It isn't much of a stretch to explain to the guys that it's been hard all year, so this is hard," said Cardinals skipper La Russa.
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.