Walton's Game Observations – Saturday, May 7

The Cardinals were defeated by the Padres 5-4 Saturday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals lost their third straight to the San Diego Padres by the score of 5-4 Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals' record is now 18-11.

On the mound, Chris Carpenter faced Adam Eaton. The Cards got to Eaton early, but couldn't knock him out. He eventually fanned seven Cardinals hitters in 6-2/3 innings. Carpenter labored all day, allowing Padres baserunners every inning and 12 in total through seven. He coughed up the lead during a four-run fifth inning.

Albert Pujols had two hits, including a home run and scored two. Larry Walker hit a solo shot, as the two went back-to-back in the first inning.

Bud Smith resurfaces
Bud Smith threw two hitless innings yesterday in his debut for the Twins' Triple-A club in Rochester. Smith is still just 25, but his shoulder problems have ended his prospect status forever. He's not expected in Minnesota anytime soon, but it's impossible not to wish Smith well.

Losing unusual
The two losses against San Diego Thursday and Friday represent the third time this season the Cardinals have lost two in a row. Until Saturday, the team had not lost more than two straight games this year.

Pujols streaks continue
Including Saturday, Albert Pujols is the only Redbird to appear in all 29 games to begin the 2005 season. Pujols has reached base safely in his last 38 regular season games dating to last year.

Carp owned Pads
This was Carpenter's third career start against San Diego. He had allowed just one earned run in 14 innings pitched against them, for a 0.64 ERA. The law of averages caught up with him Saturday, apparently.

Astros news
The Astros sent second baseman/outfielder Chris Burke to the minors when they activated outfielder Lance Berkman from the disabled list Friday. However, Berkman played first as Jeff Bagwell's shoulder is still hurting.

Reds news
After he was pounded by the Cardinals this week, Cincinnati sent reliever Joe Valentine to the minors and called up former Astro Ricky Stone to take his place. Looks like deck chair rearranging to me. To top it off, Paul Wilson allowed eight runs and secured no outs in his Friday night start against the Dodgers.

Cubs news
A small piece of good news for the small bears. Rehabbing from a knee injury, second baseman Todd Walker is scheduled to head to Arizona starting on Wednesday to work out at the Cubs' extended spring facility. His forecasted return is May 20, but he may need to wear a knee brace. Also, Mark Prior looked like his old self as he fanned ten Phillies in eight innings Friday night.

Wainwright hot
Starter Adam Wainwright fanned seven in seven one-run innings for Memphis Friday night. His numbers this season have been great – 1.96 ERA with 34 strikeouts and only five walks in 41-1/3 innings pitched. I'd really like to see both he and Anthony Reyes get a shot, but not at the expense of a front-line injury. We may have to wait for 2006.

Saturday's lineup – Two starters off
Grudzielanek, Walker, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Mabry (LF), Nunez (SS), Molina and Carpenter. Eckstein and Sanders took the day off.

On to the game…

Padres first – One hit
Ryan Klesko singled with two out, but was stranded.

Cards first – Back-to-back jacks
With one out, Walker slammed a line drive home run into the second deck in right. Pujols then took one out to the first row in the right field seats. Edmonds shot a ball that hopped into the Cards' bullpen on a single hop. But, Rolen's line shot to second nailed Edmonds breaking for a double play. Cards 2-0.

Padres second – Another on
Carpenter walked Mark Sweeney to start the inning on the wrong foot. He was moved up, but didn't score.

Padres third – Runner erased
Adam Eaton singled to lead the inning, but was erased in a double play started by Carpenter.

Padres fourth – Finally, a run
With runners on every inning, the Padres finally broke through. With one out, Giles shot a ground rule double past Mabry and over the wall in left. Ramon Hernandez' liner caromed off Walker's glove for a two-out RBI double. Walker probably thinks he should have caught it. I do. Cards 2-1.

Cards fourth – Got the run back
Pujols smacked a single on the first pitch of the inning. Edmonds got on base again, via a walk. Pujols moved up on a fly ball and scored on a Mabry single. Molina was given a free pass to load the bases, but Carpenter fanned. I think they're going to regret later their inability to crack this game open against a very good pitcher, Eaton. Cards 3-1.

Padres fifth – Carp filleted
Carpenter walked two more, including the #8 man, and both scored. Loretta's ground rule double gave one run back. And, the game was tied on a ground out RBI by Klesko. Giles was carefully walked. Sweeney's double eluded Walker in the corner and as a result, two scored. Carp has surrendered four walks and six hits in five innings. All season prior to today, he had allowed just seven walks. Padres 5-3.

Padres sixth – Leather helps
Jeff Burroughs singled to start the frame, but was erased in a double play.

Cards sixth – Nice thought, bad idea
With one out, Rolen tried to stretch a single into a double but Klesko's throw into second easily nailed him.

Padres seventh – Another runner on
As Pulsipher warmed up, Roberts walked. He was erased in a double play started by Nunez to end the inning. Carpenter's day ended after seven complete. With five walks and seven hits allowed in seven innings, it is fortunate Carpenter didn't allow more than five runs.

Cards seventh – One run back
Nunez singled and took second on a Molina fielders' choice. Pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno was retired, but Grudz delivered a two-out RBI single. Eaton was pulled. Grudz swiped second, but Walker fanned to end the rally. Padres 5-4.

Padres ninth – Pulse registered
Bill Pulsipher collected all four outs he was asked to get. Al Reyes gave up a long single off the wall to pinch-hitter Robert Fick with two out.

Cards ninth – Career save #401 for Hoffman
Swinging on the first pitch of the inning, Mabry singled off Padres closer Trevor Hoffman. Eckstein took his place at first. Nunez missed a hit-and-run pitch and Eckstein was thrown out at second. Another good idea that failed in execution. Pinch-hitter Reggie Sanders walked, but So Taguchi whiffed to end it.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday vs. Padres: Jason Marquis vs. Tim Redding 1:15pm WB11
Monday vs. Dodgers: Mark Mulder vs. Jeff Weaver 7:10pm FSN Midwest
Tuesday vs. Dodgers: Matt Morris vs. Odalis Perez 7:10pm FSN Midwest
Wednesday vs. Dodgers: Jeff Suppan vs. Brad Penny 7:10pm FSN Midwest/ESPN
Thursday vs. Dodgers: Chris Carpenter vs. Derek Lowe 12:10pm FSN Midwest

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

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