They can do it with long ball and small ball, with pitching and defense. With only six hits and no homers, they still scored six runs. With four more double plays after turning three in Game 1, they repeatedly snuffed out San Diego rallies.
They got gutsy starting pitching from Mark Mulder, who took a direct-hit line drive on his pitching arm and responded by pitching even better than before. They scored two runs without a hit in the third inning and two more runs in the fourth on a fielder's choice grounder and a squeeze bunt.
As a result, St. Louis is doing exactly what it was expected to do when it came into this series with 100 wins compared to San Diego's 82. The Cards have won the first two games of the series for the fifth time in six appearances, including all four that have opened at Busch Stadium. They are now 16-4 overall in Division Series competition.Behind the numbers
After fouling off a pair of bunt attempts with two on and no outs in the third inning, Mulder successfully sacrificed on an 0-2 pitch, moving runners Nunez and Yadier Molina up a base before they both scored without a base hit.
A look at key statistics through Game 2 of the National League Division Series between the Cardinals and Padres.
|ERA||3.50||Mulder was nearly as good as Chris Carpenter, and the bullpen didn't wobble as much|
|BA||.254||Barely hit a ball hard|
|BA w/RISP||1-for-10||Wasn't clutch, didn't need to be|
|Runs||6||More than enough against San Diego's offense|
|Errors||0||Four more double plays|
|Mulder||1-0, 1.35 ERA||The man's got a rubber arm|
|Abraham Nunez||.333 BA, .500 OBP||Doubled and scored twice|
|Larry Walker||.000, 0 HR, 0 RBIs||Three strikeouts, four in series|
After getting smoked on the throwing arm with a Joe Randa line drive, then hitting Xavier Nady with a pitch to load the bases with one out in the second inning, Mulder battled back from a 2-0 count to strike out Ben Johnson, then got Pedro Astacio on a comebacker to turn back the Padres.
Up by three runs with one out in the fourth, manager Tony La Russa gave David Eckstein the squeeze sign on a 1-0 pitch and the shortstop dropped down a perfect bunt to score Nunez with the fourth Cardinals run.
Reggie Sanders' two-run double in the seventh inning gave him eight RBIs for the series, breaking Jim Edmonds' Cardinals Division Series and three-game NLDS record of seven RBIs, set against Atlanta in 2000. Sanders also tied the four-game NLDS mark of eight RBIs, set by Houston's Ken Caminiti against Atlanta in 1999.
"I think it calmed him down." -- David Eckstein, on the positive effect a line drive off Mulder's pitching arm had on the lefty's performance
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.