St. Louis Beats Detroit, Takes 2-1 Series Lead
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
The Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals played Game 3 of the World Series last night without any controversy. No foreign substances detected on pitchers hands. No umpire meetings with managers on the field. Just a baseball game, and a good one if you're a fan of St. Louis.
From St. Louis, NPR's Tom Goldman has more on the home team's five to nothing win.
TOM GOLDMAN: Tony La Russa, a thinking man's baseball manager, was clueless. Before last night's game, La Russa was asked why his St. Louis Cardinals have so much trouble hitting against left-handed pitchers. No explanation, he said. We'll just have to see tonight.
With Detroit's left-hander Nate Robertson pitching, the troubles continued until the bottom of the fourth inning.
(Soundbite of crowd cheering)
GOLDMAN: Jim Edmonds, St. Louis's veteran left-handed batter, hit a shot off Robertson that hugged the first base line and scooted into the outfield. The bases were loaded and two runs scored. As it turned out, those were all the runs St. Louis needed. For Edmonds, it was another clutch hit, the kind that has earned him the nickname Hollywood for performing well when everyone's watching.
Mr. JIM EDMONDS (Centerfielder, St. Louis Cardinals): When you play in the post-season, you have to focus a little bit more or, you know, stay calm, stay under control. And those are the only things I really try to do is just really not try to get too excited. And I think things can happen really quick. I think some of the things we talk about is not letting at-bats get away from you too quickly and to take your time.
GOLDMAN: Good advice for the Tigers, perhaps, who have scored a paltry total of five runs in three World Series games. Detroit manager Jim Leyland praised St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter, who held the Tigers scoreless and gave up three hits in eight innings last night. But Leland also said, if you want to win a World Series, you've got to get hits off good pitchers.
Mr. JIM LEYLAND (Head Coach, Detroit Tigers): You know, basically what this means is that the Cardinals went up two to one. And if we don't swing the bats better, they'll go up to three to one.
GOLDMAN: From St. Louis' perspective, it was a great game. From Major League Baseball's perspective, it was the second most important baseball moment yesterday. Ninety minutes before the first pitch, commissioner Bud Selig and union head Donald Fehr got as close as they ever have to joining hands and singing Kumbaya.
Long-time adversaries when it comes to negotiating labor deals, the two made a stunning announcement: a new five-year collective bargaining agreement agreed upon by players and owners a month and a half before the deadline. Remember, these are the two sides who had eight work stoppages between 1972 and 1995. But thanks to a league flush with cash - $5.2 billion in revenue this season - there's plenty to go around for players and the owners.
In announcing the deal, which makes minor changes to the prior agreement, Selig could barely contain his emotions.
Mr. BUD SELIG (Commissioner, Major League Baseball): When you have a goal and you do it with the kind of respect and professionalism that didn't exist here for a long time, it's a wonderful day. And quite frankly, this is a wonderful story.
GOLDMAN: There wasn't much chatter yesterday about baseball's not-so-wonderful story. Still, the Kenny Rogers and the mystery sludge controversy may rear up again. Rogers is scheduled to pitch Game 6 back in Detroit. Of course, that's if the series goes that long. Which gets us back to Jim Leyland and his non- hitting hitters and whether they can swing their way back into contention.
Tom Goldman, NPR News, St. Louis.