Cardinals sweep Padres out of playoffs

first_img Sanders drove in two more runs to set an NL division series record with 10, and little David Eckstein hit his first career postseason homer as the Cardinals chased former teammate Woody Williams before he could get out of the second inning. Right-hander Matt Morris, who’s been with the Cardinals since 1997 and is their longest-tenured player, recovered from his late-season struggles to hold the Padres hitless for 4 innings. With two on in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Isringhausen struck out Brian Giles and retired Ryan Klesko on a comebacker to seal the victory. SAN DIEGO – Reggie Sanders and the St. Louis Cardinals seem to be in a hurry to return to the World Series, and they weren’t about to be slowed by the San Diego Padres. The Cardinals, baseball’s best team in the regular season, brushed aside the Padres just as almost everybody thought they would, winning 7-4 Saturday night for a three-game sweep of their first-round playoff series. The Cardinals made it to the World Series last year before flopping in a four-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox. St. Louis advances to the NL championship series for the fourth time in six years, and will have home-field advantage against the winner of the Houston-Atlanta series. The Astros lead 2-1 – they lost to St. Louis in seven games in last year’s NLCS. Sanders and Eckstein are the only Cardinals players with World Series rings. Sanders won his with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, and Eckstein with the Angels the following season. San Diego was as mediocre in this series as it was in winning the woeful NL West. The Padres never led, and their starting pitchers lasted only 10 innings, with a 13.50 ERA. San Diego (82-80) entered the playoffs with the worst winning percentage of a division champion (.506) in a non-strike season. Including this series, they finished one game under .500. Other than a ninth-inning rally by the Padres that fell short in Game 1, this series was like a bully kicking sand in the face of a 98-pound weakling at the beach. Sanders, who played for the Padres in 1999, did the most damage. In Game 1, he hit a grand slam off ace Jake Peavy and finished with an NL division series-record six RBIs, then drove in two more runs in Game 2. center_img Saturday night, Sanders stepped in against Williams with the bases loaded and two outs in the second, and lined a 1-1 pitch into left field for a 5-0 lead. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more