Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ugly as It Gets for Cardinals, There Was No Way to Put a Pretty Face on Game 5

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ugly as It Gets for Cardinals, There Was No Way to Put a Pretty Face on Game 5

Article excerpt

In less than an inning, in the span of 29 Todd Stottlemyre pitches Monday night, in front of a sea of red 56,782 shirts deep, this World Series "gimme" got National League Championship Serious.

A stringer of six hits, two miscues and five fatal runs canned any thoughts the Cardinals had of a champagne shower and put them on a plane to Atlanta. An additional nine runs over the course of an excruciating 2 hours and 57 minutes guaranteed the fare.

"It was a joke," third baseman Gary Gaetti said. "They set the table and they cleaned the dishes, too. It was ugly and there's all kinds of omens and things you can read into that if you want to. They just smoked us, that's all." For the national media that watched, and the baseball-crazed town that absorbed it, the NLCS might have a new working title. The Cardinals' improbable upset of the defending World Champion Braves now sits on the spike desk. The Braves' improbable comeback from a 3-1 deficit is moving to page one. They didn't just beat the Cardinals in Game 5 of this series, the Braves cold-cocked them. They reminded all who were present what the reputed "best team in baseball" can do when backed into a corner. The 14-0 final was 22 opposition-hits ugly, the most lopsided lassoing in the history of league championship play. The second-most lopsided win was a 13-0 victory for the Chicago Cubs over the San Diego Padres in 1984. If you're looking for silver linings, the Padres rebounded to win the series. But their humiliating defeat came in Game 1, not Game 5. The Atlanta Rip-em Section gave this rich October theater all the ambience of a March Grapefruit League exhibition. All that was missing were pitchers jogging in the outfield. And speaking of the outfield, the Cardinals finished with Miguel Mejia, Mark Sweeney and John Mabry in the garden. "You hope it is treated like a spring-training game," Gaetti added. …

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