Cardinals slip past Dodgers in playoff finale
09/08/05 - Despite five no-hit innings from Chuck Tiffany and Matt Kemp's second home run of the post-season, the Palm Beach Cardinals handed the Vero Beach Dodgers a 4-2 loss in the final game of the best-of-three East Division playoffs. Oscar Alvarez earned the win for the Cardinals as he allowed only a solo homer to Kemp in six innings. Mark Worrell pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the series. The Cardinals will host games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five Florida State League Championship Series against the Lakeland Tigers.
The Dodgers were first on the board. With two outs in the first inning, Kemp blasted a ball to the opposite field for his second home run against the Cardinals. Vero had two other hits in the inning, but stranded both baserunners. In fact, the Dodgers left two on base in the second and again the fourth innings against Alvarez.
Meanwhile, Tiffany was diamond-sharp. He completed five innings without allowing a hit. He did walk five, but struck out seven and held the 1-0 lead. Tiffany went 4-0 against the Cardinals during the regular season.
However the Cardinals bats came alive against the Vero Beach bullpen. Casey Hoorelbeke, who went 9-3 in the regular season, walked Reid Gorecki to start the sixth inning. He stole second and advanced to third on a ground out. Matt Dryer followed with the Cardinals' first hit of the game to tie the score. Dryer then advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Mike McCoy's two-out double.
Jarod Plummer struck out the final batter of sixth, but in the seventh surrendered a leadoff single to Jarrett HOffpauir. Tyler Greene reached on a bunt hit and a groundout advanced both baserunners. After an intentional walk to Gorecki, Brian Martin hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Hoffpauir and giving the Cardinals a 2-run lead.
The Dodgers cut the deficit in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Jamie Hoffman lined a double into the right field corner. Blake DeWitt, who's walkoff homer won Game Two, stroked a double of his own into the left field corner to score Hoffman and pull the Dodgers within 3-2.
However, the Cardinals answered in the eighth. McCoy singled with one out and Hoffpauir reached on a 2-out bunt. Greene followed with a single to left off closer Mark Alexander to bring in McCoy and make it 4-2.
The Dodgers went down in order in the 8th, but Xavier Paul led off the ninth with a single. Cards' closer Mark Worrell then coaxed Edwin Bellorin into a double play, and a Cole Bruce ground out ended the game.
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Florida State League Stories from September 8, 2005
- Cardinals slip past Dodgers in playoff finale - Palm Beach Cardinals
- Homer in ninth beats Cards; series tied at one apiece - Palm Beach Cardinals
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