Game Observations – Tuesday, April 12

Cardinals 5, Reds 1

In their first meeting of 16 games this season and the first of a two-game series, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Reds by the score of 5-1 at Busch Stadium on Tuesday night.

Jason Marquis was the pitching and hitting star. He allowed just one run in 6-1/3 innings and added a three-run triple. Jim Edmonds and Reggie Sanders slugged back-to-back home runs for the other Cardinals tallies.

Cards more Red-dy to play
The Cardinals owned a 14-5 win-loss mark against the Reds and a 7-2 slate at Busch in 2004. The Reds stumble into St. Louis looking for their initial road win in 2005 after having lost three close games to the Astros in Houston over the weekend.

Good news and bad
All other major league teams except the Cardinals came into the day Tuesday having played either seven or eight games. The Cardinals had played just five, perhaps drawing greater attention to their uneven play to date.

Rain delay
By game time, the tarp was removed from the field, enabling the grounds crew to do their thing. However, the game did not get underway until 7:45pm CDT, a delay of 35 minutes.

Tribute to The Commish
Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch was chosen to turn Tuesday night's number on the Countdown clock to 78. That was the year The Commish began covering the team. Congrats!

Opening day lineup again
Eckstein, Walker, Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Sanders, Grudzielanek, Molina and Marquis. The only exceptions were the pitcher and the swapping of the #6 and #7 hitters, something that Manager Tony La Russa says may happen frequently.

On to the game…

Marquis aggressive
Jason Marquis fanned two of the three hitters in a 1-2-3 first frame, but had to throw 19 pitches in doing so.

Cards miss in first
Eckstein walked to lead off the home first but was erased in a Walker double play grounder. Sadly, it cost the team a run, as Albert smacked a pitch off the wall of the visitor's bullpen for a double, but was stranded there.

Trouble in the second
In left, Reggie Sanders flubbed a liner from Joe Randa leading off the second. The ball looked to be catchable, yet was scored a double. Marquis walked Adam Dunn next as he continued to have trouble making strikes and putting hitters away. Austin Kearns made Marquis pay, as his 3-1 count RBI single dropped just in front of Edmonds. Number 8 hitter, catcher Jason LaRue, was hit with a full-count pitch to load the bases. The Cards missed out on a double play as Aaron Harang was called out as he kicked an in-play ball. However, Marquis fanned D'Angelo Jimenez for the second time to escape. But, he'd already thrown 48 pitches through just two innings, of which 20 missed the mark. Reds 1-0.

Marquis helps himself
Edmonds worked Harang for a full-count leadoff walk starting the second. With the bases loaded and the rain falling, Marquis shot a bullet into the right field corner for a three-run triple. As Eckstein fanned on a ball in the dirt, LaRue missed the tag, enabling Eckstein to safely sprint to first. However, Walker again ground into a double play. Cards 3-1.

Mouthing off
Marquis pitched a nice 1-2-3 third inning, though home plate umpire Paul Schrieber had two conversations with Marquis apparently about going to his mouth while on the mound. The umps ended up allowing it due to the coolness of the night.

Yadi's armed
Felipe Lopez reached with two out in the fourth, but was picked off first base by Yadier Molina to end the inning. Pujols appeared to miss the tag the first time, but sold the call with a confident swipe.

Marquis extending himself
Marquis was pitching more efficiently and effectively as the night went on, ending a 1-2-3 fifth at 71 pitches total.

Edmonds' milestone
Jim Edmonds' 1500th career hit was a solo home run on a 1-1 pitch to center with two out in the sixth. A curtain call ensued. Cards 4-1.

B2B for Sanders
The next pitch was hammered by Reggie Sanders into the visitors' bullpen. It was his third home run of the season. Cards 5-1.

Reyes the rally queller
In the seventh, Lopez singled with one out as Marquis' pitch count moved past the 100 mark. King and Reyes began to throw in the pen. Once LaRue walked, Marquis' night ended at 113 pitches. Reyes finished out the inning by getting the final two outs in a pressure-packed environment.

Eck hits back
With two out in the seventh, Eckstein was plunked in the back by a Joe Valentine pitch. While he grimaced in pain, Eck refused attention and remained in the game. He promptly stole second base to the delight of the fans in attendance.

King rules
Ray King cut right through the eighth inning 1-2-3.

Cali ends it
New arrival Carmen Cali was given the ball to pitch the ninth and allowed one harmless hit before getting the final out.

Upcoming action
Wednesday vs. Reds: Mark Mulder vs. Ramon Ortiz 12:10 pm FSN Midwest
Thursday: Off Day
Friday at Milwaukee: Jeff Suppan vs. Ben Sheets 7:05 pm FSN Midwest
Saturday at Milwaukee: Chris Carpenter vs. Doug Davis 1:05 pm WB11
Sunday at Milwaukee: Jason Marquis vs. Victor Santos 1:05 pm WB11

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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