St. Louis Beats Atlanta 7-5 in Game 1

ByABC News
October 3, 2000, 4:30 PM

S T.   L O U I S, Oct. 3 -- The Cardinals opened the playoffs with a wildwin, beating the bumbling Atlanta Braves despite the mostout-of-control pitching in the major leagues in more than acentury.

Rick Ankiel, a surprise Game 1 starter for St. Louis, became thefirst pitcher in 110 years to throw five wild pitches in oneinning, but St. Louis held on to a six-run, first-inning lead andbeat the Braves 7-5 today.

With the help of two errors and a fly ball center fielder AndruwJones apparently lost in the sun, St. Louis got its first fivebatters on in the first. against Greg Maddux, who dropped to 10-11in postseason play.

Record for Runs in Opening Inning

Placido Polanco, who went 3-for-4, hit a two-run single as theCardinals tied a postseason record for runs in the opening inning.Jim Edmonds added a home run in the fourth.

Atlanta made three errors in all, contributing to two unearnedruns, just two days after Chipper Jones ninth-inning error costthe defending NL champions home-field advantage in the first round.

Mike James relieved Ankiel and got the final out of the third,then pitched two more innings for the win. Dave Veres worked theninth for the save, allowing an RBI single to Brian Jordan, who hadthree hits.

After a day off Wednesday, the series resumes with Darryl Kilepitching for St. Louis against Tom Glavine in a matchup of the NLsonly 20-game winners, then travels to Atlanta for the weekend.

Ankiel, a 21-year-old rookie, originally was to pitch later inthe series, but Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa made the switchMonday.

Given the 6-0 lead, he stumbled in the third and became only thesecond pitcher in major league history to throw five wild pitchesin an inning. On Sept. 15, 1890, Bert Cunningham did it for Buffaloof the Players League in the first inning of the second game of adoubleheader.

All but one of Ankiels wild pitches were fastballs, most ofthem high over the head of catcher Carlos Hernandez. The fifth wasa curve that bounced about five feet in front of the plate.