10/05/06 9:05 PM ET
Padres thrown 0-2 curve by Cardinals
Fastball-hungry Friars held to four hits in Game 2 loss
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Alas, that hit arrived when Mike Cameron singled leading off the second, and he was doubled up on a ground ball."For some strange reason," Cameron said, shaking his head, "they made some quality pitches when they needed them. I try not to look at all the equations that come into play, but we need to find a way to be more productive." The equation that had just been mentioned was a historical matter of no National League team in the 12 years of NLDS play coming back from 0-2 to win. It has happened twice in the American League, and Walker was part of one of those teams, the 2003 Red Sox, who stunned the A's. "That was actually a very similar situation," said Walker, hitless in two at-bats against Weaver. "The A's had a great pitching staff that kind of shut us down the first two games. But then we won the third game and got it going, and we won three straight.
"This team is capable of doing that. We just have to bring our A-game to St. Louis, the way the Cardinals did here. We know we can beat them twice in a row; we just did that. And I almost think this team would rather play on the road."Giles' 400-foot out to left-center, handled by Jim Edmonds on the road, in the third inning was symbolic of the club's ongoing issues at home. The Padres' PETCO frustration peaked in the fifth inning after a two-out walk by Geoff Blum and pinch-hitter Ryan Klesko's single to left, the second San Diego hit. Dave Roberts, seeing nothing but curves, ran the count to 2-2 before swinging through another big bender to shut down the threat. That marked the end of day for Weaver and also for Wells, the big lefty having departed for Klesko. Meredith, Clay Hensley and Scott Linebrink shut down the Cards the rest of the way. A double play tapped into by Pujols got Wells out of the first unscathed. In the second, Juan Encarnacion was thrown out at home by Roberts on a single by Ronnie Belliard. Taking the throw on a short hop and tagging Encarnacion was Bard. "I honestly felt we were going to get something going after that play," Roberts said. "We had momentum. But you have to tip your hat. They made some great pitches." The Cards broke through in the fourth when Preston Wilson's line drive soared over Roberts' glove in left for a leadoff double. Pitching to the game's best hitter with first base open, Wells watched him stroke a two-strike fastball to left to score Wilson. When San Diego botched a rundown, Pujols reached second, scoring when Walker couldn't make a throw after smothering Edmonds' infield hit behind second with a dive. "I'm playing him to pull there," Walker said. "I got to the ball, but couldn't find the handle. If I could have found the handle on the ball, I'd have stayed on the ground and thrown it. It could have been close, but I don't know if we'd have gotten him. "Obviously, it didn't matter, because we couldn't score." Piling up a high early pitch count, Weaver gave way to Randy Flores after five shutout innings, having surrendered two hits and three walks while striking out three. Flores left after Gonzalez's two-out single in the sixth, right-hander Josh Kinney striking out Bard on a slider down and in. After Josh Barfield, who entered in the sixth as a pinch-hitter for Walker, smacked a double with two outs in the eighth against Adam Wainwright -- the Padres' only extra-base hit -- Gonzalez grounded to second. Wainwright set down the side in order in the ninth. "This team's not going to quit," San Diego's conscience, Giles, was saying on the way to St. Louis.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.