Walton's Game Observations – Saturday, April 16

Brian Walton's daily column on the game and much, much more…

The St. Louis Cardinals won their second straight against Milwaukee this season as they defeated the Brewers Saturday afternoon at Miller Park, by the score of 5-3. Chris Carpenter bested Brewer Doug Davis. The world was right as Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols homered.

TLR on another milestone
Tony La Russa is just two wins shy of 800 victories as the Cardinals' manager. His current managerial wins total is 2,119. That ranks sixth on baseball's all-time list. He needs just seven wins to tie Joe McCarthy for fifth place all time.

Relievers hot
In the last three games prior to Saturday, Cardinals relief pitchers had not allowed a run in 7-1/3 innings. The relievers gave up just five hits while striking out seven and walking only one...

Eck's the man
David Eckstein is batting .333 with hits in six of his eight games. He has reached base in all but one game this season. Eckstein came into Saturday's game with a .471 on-base percentage.

Carp looking
Carpenter came into the game looking for his first career win over Milwaukee in his third start against the Brewers. He last faced Milwaukee last April 23 at Miller Park and did not get a decision in a 2-1 Cardinals' defeat.

Busch trivia
Bob Carpenter pointed out that Busch Stadium has 96 arches around its top.

King away
Ray King has been away from the club over the past couple of days attending to undisclosed personal business.

The lineup
Eckstein, Grudz, Pujols, Rolen, Sanders, Luna (right), Taguchi (center) Molina plus Suppan. An entire right-hitting lineup was sent out against the lefthanded Davis.

On to the game…

Cards first – out on top
After a one-out hit by Mark Grudzielanek and a no-doubt-about-it Scott Rolen home run with two outs, the Cards took the early lead. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief for Rolen. Cards 2-0.

Brewers first – two on, but none in
Rightfielder Hector Luna threw out Brady Clark, who tried to stretch a single into a double. The next hitters. Junior Spivey singled and Lyle Overbay walked, but were stranded as Carpenter fanned Carlos Lee and Damian Miller. A nice escape for Carp, who struggled early in his previous start.

Cards third – Albert joins the fun
With one out, Pujols hammered a high, full-count fastball out of the park deep to center for his third home run of the season. It went 420 feet. Pujols has homered in two consecutive games. Cards 3-0.

Brewers third – Clark barred
Brady Clark flared a one-out single that Grudz almost made a diving play against. Overbay singled to right with two out. Luna made a poor throw or Clark would have been erased at third. Both were stranded.

Cards fourth – Luna strolling
Leading off the fourth, Luna singled, but the ball got past Clark in center. Luna was dogging it to first or he might have ended up at third, instead of second. With Luna breaking, So grounded out and moved him to third. Luna made a poor turn at third, but was safe. He scored on a wild pickoff throw by catcher Damian Miller. The run wa unearned, but it still counts. Cards 4-0.

Brewers fourth – Rolen D lightful
Scott Rolen made a fine throw to erase Miller at first, then he got Cirillo, too.

Cards fifth – Albert breezing
Grudz walked. Pujols then fanned on a cut fastball for his third whiff in two nights. It was also his third this season. Rolen was jammed, but dropped a ball into center that chased Davis from the game.

Cards sixth – mini-threat
The Cards got two on, as So led off with a single. Eckstein walked with two out, but both were stranded.

Brewers sixth - Carpenter sinking Brewers
Carpenter retired ten in a row from the end of the third to the end of the sixth. The last nine were all on ground balls. He got three outs in the sixth on four pitches.

Cards seventh – So smooth
Against reliever Wes Obermueller, Rolen singled with one out for his third hit of the day. Pinch-hitter Jim Edmonds singled to the opposite field with two out and So followed with an RBI single of his own. Cards 5-0.

Brewers seventh – Reyes allows costly hit
After Miller doubled over Edmonds' head in center and Carp issued two walks to the bottom of the lineup to load the bases, he was pulled from the game. Al Reyes allowed a bases-clearing double into the left field corner by Brady Clark on a full-count before fanning Junior Spivey to end the inning. Cards 5-3.

Brewers eighth – Yes, relief
Randy Flores and Julian Tavarez shared the eighth and collected all quickly three outs.

Brewers ninth – Lights are out
Jason Isringhausen got the final three outs and the save, including fanning two.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday at Milwaukee: Jason Marquis vs. Victor Santos 1:05 pm WB11
Monday at Pittsburgh: Mark Mulder vs. Dave Williams 7:05 pm FSN Midwest
Tuesday at Pittsburgh: Matt Morris vs. Josh Fogg 7:05 pm FSN Midwest

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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