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Cardinals short hops

Cardinals short hops

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ST. LOUIS -- The mighty Cardinals' offense sputtered against the fiery pitching of Houston's Roy Oswalt in Game 2 on Thursday.

Albert Pujols hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, but the Cardinals had trouble generating any more offense. A 2-1 deficit turned into a 4-1 deficit in the eighth when reliever Julian Tavarez gave up a two-run triple to Adam Everett.

Behind the numbers
The Cardinals had runners in scoring position four different times, three times with one out or less, and were unable to drive home any runs in those situations.

Frozen moment
Tavarez gave a up a two-run triple to Houston's No. 7 hitter, Everett. The ball trickled off the top of left fielder Reggie Sanders' glove as he leapt to try and catch the ball. Sanders fell to the ground head-first and was unable to get up for several minutes. He later was able to walk off the field, but suffered a lower back sprain.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 2 of the NLCS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 2.50 Inched up from their 2.00 ERA in Game 1
BA .230 (22-for-61) Dipped from .288
Runs 6 (1 in Game 2) Down from the five runs scored in Game 1
Errors 0 No errors, but Yadier Molina's passed ball allowed Chris Burke to score from third

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Yadier Molina 2-for-4 (2-for-7 series) Molina hit two doubles in Game 2

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Jim Edmonds Struck out and grounded out with RISP Edmonds continues to struggle in the No. 2 hole.

Second guess
Should manager Tony La Russa have brought in the right-hander Tavarez in the eighth inning? After giving up a double to Lance Berkman to lead off the inning, Tavarez threw a wild pitch -- allowing Berkman to advance to third base -- then gave up a single and a two-run triple with two outs in the inning.

Modern history
Pujols' home run in the sixth inning was his sixth of his career in the NLCS. That is just two behind the all-time NLCS home run leader, Steve Garvey, who has eight.

Last word
Asked if a closed roof at Minute Maid Park in Houston will affect the Cardinals at all since it makes the stadium louder, and if he thought it was an unfair advantage, La Russa responded:

"They are trying to win, aren't they? So all's fair as long as it's legal, and it's legal to close the roof."

Stephen A. Norris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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