Cardinals 9, Mets 6 (top of the 9th)

With apologies to the Gap Band and many racial and ethinic groups, Billy Wagner (above) = a right-handed, hillbilly Captain Fucko. Tonight, anyway. It looks like the Redbirds have broken serve and the World’s 2nd Worst NY Post Columnist has helped piss away a great chance to head to St. Louis with a 2-0 series advantage.

Postscript : Cards 9, Mets 6 is your final (series tied, 1-1). You know the universe is fucked up when Dusty Baker is on the television talking about how a high pitch count might hurt some one of the teams. In this case, the Mets (200 on Friday), who desperately need a good showing from Steve Trachsel later today, particularly given the uncertainty surrounding Oliver Perez’ scheduled start on Sunday (to say nothing of Tom Glavine pitching on 3 days’ rest Monday).

Dumping on La Russa is standard practice, but credit oughta be given in the following instances. Scroatee Spiezio had a huge night (triple, double, 3 RBI’s) and weirdly enough, his banged-up defensive replacement, Scott Rolen, made a terrific play to rob David Wright of a base hit in the last of the 9th. Don Tony’s pinch-hitter, Taguchi, got the game winning hit, but the no-name quartet of Kinney, Flores, Johnson and Wainright oughta get the game ball for their 3 innings of scoreless relief. Josh Kinney, in particular, who induced Carlos Beltran to ground into a double play with two on and one out in the home 8th.

Though he made one error on a Beltran grounder, Ronnie Belliard was positioned perfectly on too many occasions. Carlos Delgado can beat the shift when he’s hitting a ball 390 feet to left, but the right side of the St. Louis infield was pretty adept at sucking up a number of chances by Mets lefties that might’ve otherwise been hits.

It’s pretty hard to downplay the momentum swing this game represents. The Mets were seven outs away from taking a 2-0 lead and taking a game started by the allegedly invincible Chris Carpenter. Instead, the individual implosions by Mota and Wagner put New York in the uneviable position of putting the 2006 season on the backs of Trachsel and Perez.