Tavarez Fined $10,000; La Russa Takes Issue

Times Staff Writer

St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa engaged in an animated discussion with Bob Watson, baseball's vice president of on-field operations, behind the batting cage at Busch Stadium before Game 6 of the National League championship series after learning Cardinal reliever Julian Tavarez had been fined $10,000 for throwing a pitch over the head of Houston's Jeff Bagwell in Game 4.

"So when a ball is thrown in that area, gets away, $10,000 from now on?" La Russa told reporters before the confrontation. "I mean, that is so ridiculous."

Tavarez's pitch to Bagwell came in the seventh inning after Carlos Beltran had hit a go-ahead homer.

La Russa said it was ludicrous to think that Tavarez was throwing at Bagwell so late in a one-run game. If the umpires believed the location of Tavarez's pitch was intentional, La Russa said, "he would have been banged out of the game."

Tavarez redeemed himself Wednesday by pitching two scoreless innings in the Cardinals' 6-4 victory over the Astros in 12 innings. La Russa emerged from the dugout in the ninth to argue about a double standard after Houston closer Brad Lidge threw a pitch over Jim Edmonds' head.

Tavarez said that he would pay his fine when the Boston Red Sox's Pedro Martinez paid a $50,000 fine levied against him last season during the American League championship series for throwing a pitch high and inside toward the New York Yankees' Karim Garcia.

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Houston Manager Phil Garner gave infielder Mike Lamb his first start of the postseason, inserting the former Cal State Fullerton standout at third base instead of Morgan Ensberg, even though Ensberg homered against St. Louis starter Matt Morris in Game 2.

Garner said he wanted to get Lamb into a game and "see what he can do." Lamb finished one for four with a solo homer against Morris in the fourth but also grounded into a double play in the sixth and struck out in the eighth with Jeff Kent representing the tying run at second.

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Cardinal second baseman Tony Womack, who singled in his first two at-bats, had to leave after three innings because of lower back spasms and is questionable for Game 7.... Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals' No. 1 starter before suffering nerve damage in his right biceps Sept. 18, could be available to pitch his first postseason game if St. Louis advances to the World Series. Carpenter threw 26 pitches off the bullpen mound Tuesday and is scheduled to throw again today.

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