Wang Chien-ming's (王建民) poor throw on a pickoff attempt to first base that skidded past Jason Giambi's extended glove for a two-base error and an eventual two-run first inning, was just one of several costly mistakes by the New York Yankees that made it look easy for the home St. Louis Cardinals in their 8-1 trouncing of the US$200 million-plus club from the Big Apple.
Taiwan's second-and-latest major league pitcher found out the hard way about what it takes to succeed in the big leagues in his shortest outing of the season thus far, yielding seven runs (four earned) on seven hits over four frames in a losing effort, giving him a 3-2 record for the year.
It would be unfair to measure Wang's long-term survivability in the majors on the basis of Friday's performance, given the fact that the 25-year-old rookie pitched against the hottest club in the National League -- winners of three straight against the defending world champs the Boston Red Sox.
The heart of the Cardinals' order consits of former National League MVPs Albert Pujols and Larry Walker and longtime hitting icon Jim Edmonds, and they hammered Wang for a combined 5-for-7 with two walks.
Following the two-run first, Wang had a 1-2-3 second inning against the bottom of the Cardinals' order before a five-run third that included a double, three singles, two walks (one intentional) plus two Yankees errors to give the Cards a commanding 7-0 lead.
"We were just too nonchalant," Yankees manager Joe Torre told the New York Times. "I was surprised that we let them run us off the field. There's no other way to put it.
"Normally, I try to find the most positive thing I can find. But I don't think I can find one," Torre said.
The Yankees bullpen at least did its job after Wang was pulled to start the fifth, allowing a run on three hits the rest of the way, but the offense was nowhere to be seen.
Other than back-to-back doubles by rookie second baseman Robinson Cano and New York captain Derek Jeter in the fifth that scored the lone run of the game for the Yankees, it was as one-sided a game.
Veteran righty Jason Marquis improved to 8-3 for the year after eight solid innings of work. Marquis allowed one run on six hits while fanning three and walking two.
Wang should hold his head high despite the loss that upped his earned run average to 4.44 for the year, because he is still only one of two starters with a winning record on a Yankees rotation that includes big time players Mike Mussina (6-4 with a 4.33 ERA), Randy Johnson (5-5 with a 4.04 ERA), Carl Pavano (4-5 with a 4.38 ERA), and Kevin Brown (4-6 with a 5.43 ERA).
CUBS 14, RED SOX 6
The Chicago Cubs pounded Boston 14-6 with 20 hits in the Red Sox's first-ever trip to Wrigley Field in the storied teams' first meeting since the 1918 World Series.
Jeromy Burnitz hit two of the Cubs' four homers, a long-ball display that also included one by 39-year-old Greg Maddux, who connected off reliever John Halama in the sixth inning.
"It's always fun. There's not a lot of history between these two teams and I think that's what made it a little bit special today," Maddux said.
Maddux (5-3) got career win No. 310, allowing seven hits and three runs in 6 2-3 innings, including David Ortiz's sixth-inning homer. Maddux also improved his career record against Boston to 5-0.