Cards fall in heartbreaker
Monday, October 15, 2001
PHOENIX -- Tony Womack turned disaster into delirium, and sent Curt Schilling and the Arizona Diamondbacks to the NL championship series.
Womack failed to get down a suicide-squeeze bunt, then singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Diamondbacks over the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 Sunday night in the deciding Game 5 of their division series.
In an awesome encore, Schilling won his second duel with Matt Morris in five days. Schilling allowed six hits, struck out nine and walked one in his third consecutive postseason complete game.
The Diamondbacks will begin their first NLCS at home on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves.
Reggie Sanders' 447-foot home run off Morris put Arizona up 1-0 in the fourth inning. J.D. Drew's two-out homer off Schilling tied it at 1 in the eighth.
Schilling, still throwing 98 mph, struck out Edgar Renteria and Mike Matheny with a runner on second in the St. Louis ninth, then the drama really began.
Veres relieves Morris
Dave Veres relieved Morris to begin the inning and Matt Williams, brutalized by boos from the home crowd and hitless in 15 at-bats in the series, narrowly missed a home run to right field with a double off the bullpen fence.
Damian Miller's sacrifice bunt advanced pinch-runner Midre Cummings to third. Steve Kline relieved, and intentionally walked pinch-hitter Greg Colbrunn to put runners on first and third with one out.
Arizona manager Bob Brenly, who had used the suicide squeeze several times this season, called for it from Womack. But he couldn't make contact with a breaking ball in the dirt, and Cummings was tagged out easily.
Colbrunn moved to second on the play, and Danny Bautista replaced him as a pinch-runner.
Four pitches later, Womack slapped a single to left field. Kerry Robinson fielded the ball cleanly and made a strong throw to the plate, but had no chance to get Bautista.
Womack hit three singles in the game. He did not have an RBI in the series until the winning one.
Arizona lost in its only other playoff appearance, in the first round to the New York Mets in 1999. The Diamondbacks are in their fourth year of existence.
Morris, winless in the series despite allowing just two runs in two starts, allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked three. He threw 130 pitches in eight innings.
Schilling threw 121 in his second win in the series.
Johnson not needed
Randy Johnson was warming up in the bullpen for the Diamondbacks, but they never needed him. He'll likely start the opener against the Braves.
Drew's homer on an 0-1 pitch ended a string of 25 consecutive scoreless innings in the postseason for Schilling. The streak began for Philadelphia against Toronto in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series, and continued in Schilling's three-hit. 1-0 victory Tuesday.
Morris, who tied Schilling for the major league lead with 22 wins this season, made only one mistake. Sanders jumped on a 75 mph curveball and hit it into the eating area outside Friday's Front Row restaurant in the second deck in left field.
Schilling was aided by spectacular defense that led the majors in fielding percentage.
The defensive show was highlighted by consecutive leaping grabs of line drives by Womack at shortstop and second baseman Craig Counsell in the fourth inning.
Counsell also made a diving stop of Placido Polanco's grounder up the middle that probably saved a run in the third. Mark Grace made slick stop of a sharply hit, one-bouncer by Drew to end the third and center fielder Steve Finley made a running catch of Mike Matheny's hard shot to deep right-center to end the second.
In the first inning, the wild card Cardinals got a runner to third base, something they didn't do against Schilling at all in Game 1.
Polanco singled with one out and Drew walked. Albert Pujols hit a grounder up the middle, Counsell made a diving stop and flipped to Womack for the forceout.
With runners at first and third, Schilling struck out Jim Edmonds with a 97 mph fastball.
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases with two outs in the third on singles by Womack and Luis Gonzalez and a walk to Counsell, but Finley fouled out to end the inning.
Matheny singled twice off Schilling, the second one with two outs in the seventh, but manager Tony La Russa decided to let Morris bat, and he struck out to end the inning.
The Cardinals finished the series 2-for-32 with runners in scoring position.