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Banbury Cross

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Post details: World Series: Game 1

World Series: Game 1

The Number Nine holds its protective hand over the fate of the St Louis Cardinals.

After all, they bagged exactly nine World Series titles to date and their name spells exactly nine characters. Twice this season, the Cards went into an eight-game skid (something that hasn't happened since 1988) and in both cases managed to win the ninth game. On the second occasion, the victory came at the hands of a rookie pitcher Anthony Reyes, the same pitcher who cool-headedly sewed up their nearly-lethal seven-game tear in September.

So when I looked at the World Series stats and realized that the Cards were having an eight-game losing streak on the road, and the National League had suffered eight consecutive losses and Tony La Russa had a personal losing streak of eight as well, I started hoping against hope that a miracle was in the works. And when the long NLCS with Mets forced Tony LaRussa to start this year's Fall Classic with the most inexperienced of his pitchers, I became almost certain that Anthony Reyes and the Number Nine would combine their powers to conjure up a memorable game.

And they did indeed. Reyes, with fashion-defying knee-high red socks, took the game into the ninth inning with the poise and assuredness of a weathered veteran. There he gave the reins of the game to the reliever Brad Looper, who had obviously fun finishing it off.

Reyes, who is known to iron the bill of his cap, thus also ironed the Cardinals' bill of health and skillfully exorcised all the ghosts lurking in the team's psyche after the Boston massacre two years ago. Once he got past the nervous first inning, he mailed his good bye card to seventeen consecutive batters, mostly using the reliable 95mph express service.

Favorite comic moment: Scott Rolen steam-rolling into the loitering third baseman Brandon Idge in what looked like a perfectly executed ice-hockey body check; I could almost hear him scream: "Dibs on Ribs!"

Favorite play: Pujols testing his hamstring injury on two base steal following Verlander's botched pick-off attempt

Score: Cards 7, Tigers 1


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