Live Playoff Blog: Padres Vs. Cardinals, Game 1

You know, it's absolutely perverse that we are expected to sit here and live-blog a Cardinals playoff game. How, exactly, does one spell a primal scream of pain? Last year, during the NLCS, we realized that we were literally running back and forth, stomping our feet, howling at the television screen, cursing, biting, generally acting like an absolute lunatic. And we stopped to ask ourselves? Is this supposed to be fun? This is leisure?

You're goddamned right it is. It might not be healthy, but it's the playoffs, and it's the Cardinals and Padres, and we're going to see the computer through all the blood.

It's the NLDS, and we're absolutely not ready.

It's the St. Louis Cardinals at the San Diego Padres.

The human drama that will be this live blog is after the jump. Feel free to taunt us in the comments and email us with your input. In case we still have some updating problems, we'll be posting each half inning in the comment boxes as well.

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Bottom Of The Ninth Inning

All right. We are about to enter our seventh hour of live blogging. We can't believe we're going to do this again tomorrow. Though if the Cardinals lose here, we probably won't. So root for this to finish up ... or don't, we guess.

Wainwright is kind of cruising. We will say this: We feel about 4,000 times more comfortable with Wainwright closing than if Jason Isringhausen were in right now. Not a Cardinals fan on earth who doesn't think the exact same thing. And hey, it's Ryan Klesko ... alive!

Not for long ... popped to left, and that's the ballgame. That was ... weirdly easy. But don't worry, Padres fans: Did you guys realize that JEFF WEAVER is starting Thursday? Feel better? Because you should.

FINAL SCORE: Cardinals 5, Padres 1.

Top Of The Ninth Inning

Sorry: In a four-run game, the top of the ninth inning is way too early to be giving out players of the game awards. Unacceptable.

Chan Ho "Sometimes When You Have To Make Sure That, If You Have An Automatic Transmission, Your Car Will Not Roll Off The Road, You Have To Shift Into" Park is motoring, but Aaron Miles — a guy who couldn't hit in Denver — singles into right. Tony LaRussa has sex dreams about Miles, we're absolutely certain of it.

Not tonight, though: Miles stupidly gets double off second base on an Eckstein grounder, and we go to the bottom of the ninth. Here we go.

Cardinals 5, Padres 1

Bottom Of The Eighth Inning

Tyler Johnson remains in the game to pitch to Dave Roberts and (presumably) Brian Giles. It's a shame, because Johnson, while a relatively decent pitcher, is neither ole Stinkhat Steve Kline nor the gloriously rotund Ray King. They always added some character to our men in red. Tyler Johnson even has a boring name.

He does fine with Roberts, but Giles plunks — warning: we are starting to run out of verbs — a double into right. Johnson stays in to pitch to this Adrian Gonzalez character, who grounds out to second. Two down. And if that's Tony LaRussa, that's a double switch.

Surprisingly, LaRussa goes to rookie closer — and next year's rotation guy, most likely — Adam Wainwright, who has an extra W in his name, for four outs. And he gets the first one when Piazza grounds out to a diving Pujols, and just three outs to go.

Cardinals 5, Padres 1

Top Of The Eighth Inning

We've got a Chan Ho Park sighting, which is kind of a beautiful thing. Where's Fernando Tatis when we need him? (Oh, that's right, he showed up, strangely, in Baltimore this year.) Rolen takes a plunk in the back, and the sound the thump makes sounds like "Ho" and "Park," but not "Chan."

Belliard takes care of that with a double play, and Chan Ho is ON FIRE.

Cardinals 5, Padres 1

Bottom Of The Seventh Inning

So Taguchi is in the game. Here's something crazy about So Taguchi: He's 37 years old. He's like the Japanese Dick Clark. (Before Dick Clark had, you know, a stroke. You're with us here, yes?) We really wish Berman wouldn't say fuhgedabboutit.

Argh! Branyan drills a triple into the gap ... and Edmonds dives for it! Whaddya doin', Jim? Perhaps he was reacting to a play from half an hour ago; he wasn't actually that close. He stays in the game, but he is twirling an imaginary cane.

By the way, we have NO IDEA what's happening with the site right now. Somehow, we have Defamer and other Gawker Media posts on our site. Look out, it's Fleshbot! Duck! (They're working on it, we're told.)

Carpenter's out of the game, and it's the Cardinals bullpen, where nothing bad ever happens. Tyler Johnson is coming in ... and he immediately hits Josh Bard, and the bases are loaded. And the tying run is at the plate. And ... holy crap.

Mark Bellhorn does what Mark Bellhorn do, baby: He strikes out. Bases loaded, two outs, Todd Walker. Who has power. Just sneak through this, please.

Thankfully ... the Cardinals have a fat second baseman! Belliard makes a waddling, excellent play to throw out Walker, and the Cardinals escape. And a fat second baseman will save them!

Cardinals 5, Padres 1

Top Of The Seventh Inning

Pujols pops out, but we still enjoyed this from a reader: "I like how the Padres refuse to walk Pujols. It's dumb but kinda cute, like when puppies try to run and keep falling over."

You think this is bad? Wait until Thursday, when David Wells pitches and the Cardinals have to play Preston Wilson instead of Edmonds. (Whose brain bleeds when he sees a lefthander, we guess.) If they don't walk Pujols every time then, it will be obvious that Bruce Bochy's brains were in his mustache.

Cardinals 5, Padres 1

Bottom Of The Sixth Inning

One of the million reasons we miss living in Mattoon: Listening to Mike Shannon on the radio. A reader listening in writes: "Just so you know, Mike Shannon is rambling about children in 'Okinawa, Bangladesh, and North Hollywood' and their knowledge of Mike Piazza's catching abilities." That is too brilliant for comprehension.

We understand why Yankees fans are so scared of Dave Roberts; he just knocked his third hit, a triple. We have a feeling we are going to be extremely tired of him by the end of this series.

The Padres are on the board, thanks to a sacrifice fly from Giles. Edmonds made a nice throw home but Roberts still beat it. Berman tells us that Edmonds is "limping" after the throw, which isn't true: He just temporarily thinks he's Charlie Chaplin.

Cardinals 5, Padres 1

Top Of The Sixth Inning

Hey, MIke Piazza just threw someone out!

OK, we don't even understand this one: Rudy "Today's" Seanez. What does that mean?

Ronnie Belliard celebrates the Piazza lunar eclipse by singling and stealing base just to ruin his moment. This decreases the possibility that Molina will hit into a double play, but barely: He's scrappy, he'll find a way.

Maybe we're becoming cynics; months like September will do that to you. But Molina drills a single into center field, and that will do it for Peavy. And it's 5-0. Wow. On The DL fave Todd Walker comes into the game. Even though he appears to be in ideal physical condition, the guy still can't play second base better than Ronnie Belliard. Carpenter strikes out bunting, and gritty gutty fiesty scrappy David Eckstein grounds out, and, well, if you'll forgive us ... 12 outs to go. It's the Cardinals. They won 83 games this season. Baby steps.

Cardinals 5, Padres 0

Bottom Of The Fifth Inning

Tony LaRussa is strangely cordial during an interview with Berman, though we think we saw him sneaking a steak in the dugout. Vegetarian our ass!

Mike Cameron strikes out to lead off the inning. Geoff Blum flies out to right, and, so you know, he's not Jewish, so he did eat yesterday. (You see, people often think Blum is Jewish.) Josh Barfield hits it to I Am Sam in center field — "MATT DAMUHNNNNNNN!" — and it's 1-2-3. It's starting to get late.

Cardinals 4, Padres 0

Top Of The Fifth Inning

Chris Carpenter is an awful hitter, yet he pokes a single into right. Strangely, Eckstein tries to bunt him over, but Carpenter is actually a worse runner than he is a hitter, and he's thrown out at second. And we realize that we've been live-blogging for 4 1/2 hours and screaming for about 1 1/2 of it, and we look at our hands and we're shaking and you know what that means: It's Puntober.

Berman: Not even Glenn Frey mentions "Hotel California" anymore. A tip.

Duncan hammers one to deep right, but the pet store stadium holds everything and he's out. Pujols is up again. WALK HIM. Edmonds thinks he's Billy Blanks right now!

And Pujols singles, which, we hear, is as good as a walk. It's Jedmonds, who, aw, he's got his helmet on backwards. He is Sam! And he is a powerful Sam! He singles to right field, and it's 4-0. And the hands are still totally not calm at all. Rolen flies out, and there's another run on the board.

Cardinals 4, Padres 0

Bottom Of The Fourth Inning

OK, this was a completely useless stat: Hershiser — whom we usually like but must be losing brain cells sitting next to Berman — said that Chris Carpenter is tough to beat when the Cardinals give him a three-run lead. "He's 13-5 with a three-run lead." Wait ... that doesn't seem particularly good, does it?

And here we go again: Back to back singles by Dave Roberts and Brian Giles, and the tying run is at the plate in the physical being that is Adrian Gonzalez. He hits a ball down the line that would have scored two but it went just foul, inspiring Berman to do that "jusssst fowwwwwwwwwwwwwwl" thing that he always does. Our face melts.

And Gonzalez strikes out on a nasty, nasty breaking ball. Bringing up Piazza, who is not gay and has never slept with a New York City weatherman. Full count to Piazza, and it's awfully sweaty in here right now. He dribbles — drools, really — a ball to Eckstein, who forces at second. Two down, and now it's Russell Branyan, who has a really manly fucking name. And he strikes out and Carpenter escapes. We just ate a whole of cigarettes.

Top Of The Fourth Inning

Chris Duncan, who has the worst facial hair in organized sport, leads the inning off with a single. Here comes Pujols, who has looked awful against Peavy and does so again here. But the at-bat continues ... and continues ... and then BAM.

That's a two-run homer right there, a shot to deep left-center. We don't mean to overstate the case here, but you realize you have Kurt Warner on deck, right? Jim Edmonds can't keep his eyes from rolling around his head. WALK PUJOLS.

But we'll take it.

And hey, Edmonds drives a single to right. And he didn't run to third base!

And then, in a frightening turn of events, Berman tells us that Rolen "fists one" — ack! — into right field, and he hustles into second with a double. And just like that, it's 2-0, second and third, nobody out. That happened fast. That really escalated quickly.

Look who's in the pen: Chan Ho Park! Welcome, Chan Ho! We'd love to see you pitch at Dodger Stadium in the NLCS ... well, in theory, anyway. Encarnacion hammers one to right, but a nice catch by half-rabbit Dave Roberts limits him to a sac fly. Wisely, Peavy walks Rafael Ronnie Belliard to pitch to the fantastic out machine that is Yadier Molina. This time, he produces two of them: Double play.

But we'll still take it.

Cardinals 3, Padres 0

Bottom Of The Third Inning

Berman: "Carpenter LITERALLY pulls the string on Geoff Blum." Yeah, see, Chris, literally means ... hey, stop playing with that shiny object. Yes, yes, it's shiny, we know, put it down.

Josh Barfield, who is not the Jesse Barfield son who pushed his dad down the stairs, strikes out. Wasn't Barfield the name of John Candy's character in Spaceballs?

Jake Peavy is about to strike out right here ... yep. That was neat and efficient.

Padres 0, Cardinals 0

Top Of The Third Inning

Ronnie Belliard leads off the inning with a single. Cardinals fans were confused when GM Walt Jocketty traded Hector Luna for Belliard earlier this year, but it is now obvious: It is fascinating to watch a fat man play second base. You wouldn't think it possible, but Belliard's actually quite adept at the position. It seems to defy physics. Yadier Molina hits hit square, dead on, with all his power, and the shortstop catches the soft popup.

Carpenter bunts over Belliard to second; the grounds crew has some work to do after Belliard's little jaunt there. We mean, even Berman's like, "Man, Belliard has let himself go."

Eckstein for the RBI chance ... dinks it to third, Branyan throws him out and a "scoring" "opportunity" goes by the wayside.

Padres 0, Cardinals 0

Bottom Of The Second Inning

Busy inning for Rafael Belliard: Pop up from Mike Piazza — who will never look right in any uniform other than the Florida Marlins' — and line drive from Russell Branyan.

Mike Cameron, whose head injury last year for the Mets would have literally killed Jim Edmonds, grounds out, and it's a five-pitch second. Zoom zoom!

Padres 0, Cardinals 0

Top Of The Second Inning

We don't mean to imply that maybe Jim Edmonds might not be at 100 percent, but doctors wouldn't clear him to fly until yesterday. Realize that Edmonds is suffering from postconcussion syndrome from a concussion he suffered in June. This is why Jim Edmonds doesn't play football. His dazed look of confusion should be a fun motif to this series.

He grounds out, Scott Rolen — who was one of the main reasons for the September collapse — pops up and Juan Encarnacion steps in. He's a lot more popular with Cardinals fans than he was at the beginning of the season, which is to say he's now pretty much just "occasionally noticed" rather than "openly screamed at." It's really hard to scream at Encarnacion, though, because his last name is so unwieldy. It makes it difficult to heckle.

He lines out, and the Cardinals have no baserunners yet. Hey, look, Edmonds is running to left field! He's so cute.

Padres 0, Cardinals 0

Bottom Of The First Inning

Orel Hershiser just said that Chris Carpenter works hard on every pitch and "never gives you a cookie." This was a mean thing to say, because you know Berman's just going to keep hearing "Cookie Cookie Cookie" in his head the rest of the game.

And we're gonna hear "Roberts Roberts Roberts" in our head, because Dave Roberts just singled to lead off the inning. Brian Giles, whom we always think is better than he actually is, comes up. No cookies, Carp!

Giles hit a little nicker — we're wearing knickers ourselves, actually — right in front of the plate, and Yadier Molina, who is such a great catcher it makes him a horrible player rather than just revolting (he can't hit, you see), fires down to second, and it's a double play. Brian Giles looks too muscular to be able to run or play the field.

Carpenter strikes him out to end the inning, and clearly Jason Marquis isn't pitching, because we're scoreless after one.

Padres 0, Cardinals 0

Top Of The First Inning

The big story with the Cardinals is that they actually included Jason Marquis on the playoff roster and not Anthony Reyes. If you haven't been paying attention to Jason Marquis this year, he has posted an ERA over 6 ... and he has thrown almost 200 innings. That's incredibly difficult to do.

David Eckstein one of the six Cardinals in the starting lineup who are hurt right now, flies out to right to start the game. Chris Duncan, son of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, has, according to Berman, "provided mucho pop this year." Perhaps not the wording we would use, but whatever. Duncan strikes out looking, and there is Pujols, with no one on in the first inning. WALK HIM!

And then Pujols strikes out looking, and Jake Peavy looks rather terrifying in the first.

Padres 0, Cardinals 0

Pregame: All right. Cardinals in the playoffs (in kind of a must-win game, actually), and we have to write about it in real time. So hang in with us. This is gonna be tough.

"The Cardinals were rumblin' ... stumblin' ... bumblin' down the stretch." Holy Christ.