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 ST. LOUIS (AP) -Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand said Tuesday his potentially game-saving tumbling catch the previous night had been needlessly dramatic.
Rowand blamed the Busch Stadium outfield grass for making the catch an adventure. He caught Ryan Ludwick's towering eighth-inning drive from the seat of his pants after changing direction caused him to slip twice while ripping out huge chunks of turf.
The Phillies were clinging to a one-run lead after squandering most of an 11-run, sixth-inning cushion and the go-ahead run would have scored if not for Rowand's running, stumbling catch to end the inning in an eventual 13-11 victory that was the Phillies' fifth in a row.
``I tried to stay on my feet but it threw me off-balance, and I got lucky the ball came down where I was at,'' Rowand said. ``You've just got to try to be light on your feet and be careful when you're cutting when you're running because you're going to end up on your back.
``I hope I don't ever have to try to do that again.''
Rowand said Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds warned him last year, when new Busch Stadium opened, about uncertain footing on soft grass atop a sand base. The old Busch Stadium also had chronic turf issues.
``The playing surface is great and it's well-manicured and beautiful, but as far as playing on it and trying to plant and change direction the grass just gives way,'' Rowand said.
Rowand remembers left fielder Pat Burrell taking out a ``big chunk'' earlier this season in the Phillies' first trip to St. Louis.
``Everybody's got to deal with it, you know what I mean?'' Rowand said. ``It's like anything else: weather, heat, late games, long games, tired or whatever, everybody's got to play under the same conditions.''
Edmonds was not in the Cardinals' lineup with a sore groin caused by his own woes chasing flyballs. He ran down Chase Utley's drive to the wall to end the fourth and also slipped a few times.
``Did you watch the game?'' Edmonds said. ``Did you see me fall down on the grass twice? It's like you can hurt your groin if you play on it too many times in a row.''
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was defensive about the field conditions while complimenting the work of head groundskeeper Bill Findley.
``It's the hottest summer they've had here and the grass takes a beating,'' La Russa said. ``I know one thing: if our club is consistently as good as Billy Findley then we would be in contention, which we're not.
``I don't agree with making comments like that unless you have facts.''
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