Walton's Game Observations – Sunday, May 8

The Cardinals avoided a sweep by defeating the Padres 15-5 Sunday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals won Sunday afternoon by a score of 15-5 over the San Diego Padres. It was welcome after they lost three straight to the Padres earlier this weekend. The Cardinals' record is now 19-11 and their NL Central lead remains four games over the Brewers.

Jason Marquis took on former Astro Tim Redding. Redding was hammered, leaving the game in the first with a shoulder injury as he allowed eight runs. Marquis earned his fifth win of the season, allowing six hits and four runs over six innings and Brad Thompson earned a three-inning save in his first-ever major league game.

The Cardinals scored 11 runs in the first and collected 17 hits on the day, but their big win was tempered by an ankle sprain suffered by catcher Yadier Molina.

Larry Walker had a perfect day, with a home run, his second in two days, a double, a single and he was also hit by a pitch before leaving after five innings. Like Walker, David Eckstein had three hits and scored three. Scott Rolen drove in four runs.

Carpenter cliché alert
Said Bob Carpenter during the opening about Albert Pujols: "He's a total package - the real deal."

Happy Mother's Day
…to all you Cardinals fans out there who are also Moms!

No Prince Albert, please
I had forgotten to mention this last night. Will someone please tell Hungo to stop referring to Albert Pujols as "Prince Albert"? Anyone who is familiar with body piercing lingo knows why that phrase should be avoided.

One record approached
The Cards record for runs in an inning is 12 which occurred on September 15, 1926 against Philadelphia. The team's most runs ever in a game was 29 in 1929 against those same Phillies.

Opposites attract?
Rick Horton read a reader question, saying the following: "Our question today is about the opposite of a home run hitter – that's the lead-off hitter." Hmmm…

Four times a century?
The Cardinals have never lost a four-game series to the Padres. The last time the Padres swept the Cardinals was a three-game set in June 1980, almost 25 years ago.

No more close losses
Four of the last five losses for the Cardinals have been by one run, including the last two losses to the Padres. The Cardinals also broke their four-game home losing streak Sunday.

Pujols streaks continue
Including Sunday, Albert Pujols remains the only Redbird to appear in all 30 games to begin the season. He has now reached base safely in his last 39 regular season games dating to last year.

Pink for a good cause
The players wore pink ribbons and wrist bands in recognition of breast cancer awareness. The pink ribbon logo also appeared on the bases and on a commemorative home plate. In addition, official dugout lineup cards were pink. The game-used bases, team-autographed commemorative home plates and lineup cards from each ballpark will be auctioned off at a later date to raise additional funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Sunday's lineup – "A" team
To avoid the sweep, La Russa trotted out all the big guns. Eckstein,Walker, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Sanders, Grudzielanek, Molina and Marquis.

On to the game…

Padres first – Nice start by Marquis
Speedster Dave Roberts bunted between Marquis and Pujols, but Marquis got over to take the toss at the bag just before Roberts' headfirst slide. Marquis fanned Klesko for the third out.

Cards first – Out on top
Eckstein doubled down the left-field line to start the game right. Walker singled to left to put runners on the corners. Albert doubled past the third base bag for the first RBI of the day. With runners on second and third, Redding tossed a breaking ball that went under the catcher and back to the screen as Walker came home. Edmonds took a walk to again put runners on the corners. Rolen's ground out could have been a double play, but Edmonds slid hard into second and Rolen ran hard to first. Albert came in to score. Roberts caught Sanders' fly to deepest center up against the wall. Grudz coaxed a walk to put another runner in scoring position. Molina slapped a single to right to load the bases. Redding walked Marquis to force a run home. Eckstein singled to center and two runs scored as the ball squirted away from Roberts momentarily. With two outs, Redding left with an injury, perhaps to his shoulder. Cards 6-0.

Cards first (continued) – New pitcher, same result
New pitcher and recent call-up Randy Williams hit Walker with a pitch to re-load the bases. Albert collected another RBI on ball four from Williams. Edmonds' infield single scored yet another. Rolen's fly to the warning track in left clanked off Klesko's glove, clearing the bases. It was catchable, but of course, was scored a double. Sanders drew a four-pitch walk. Grudz finally made the final out. What an inning! Cards 11-0.

Padres second – Rolen's defense
Rolen threw out Ramon Hernandez on a diving stop to the left to end the frame. He also got an assist on the first out.

Cards second – Walker shot
Leading off, Molina reached on a nubber that went past third base. Eckstein replaced him on a fielders' choice. Walker killed a pitch, as his two-run homer deep to right made it 13 runs. Cards 13-0.

Cards third – Two in scoring position
Edmonds doubled into the right field gap and walked into second as Brian Giles didn't handle the ball cleanly. Sanders drew a one-out walk. The runners moved up as Grudz' liner nailed Williams, but he recovered to get the out at first. But, Molina was retired to end it.

Padres fourth – B2B jacks
Jesse Garcia homered into the left field bullpen with one out, ending Marquis' perfect game. Klesko hammered one over the right field pen next. Mark Sweeney drew a walk. Cards 13-2.

Cards fourth – Walker's perfect day
Walker was on again with a double down the right field line with two out, but Albert's fly ball was caught in left.

Padres fifth – No harm done
Damian Jackson led off the inning with an infield single and took second on an out. But, he didn't score.

Cards fifth – Two more in scoring position
Rolen drew a one-out walk and Sanders singled. They moved up on a Grudz chopper. Molina was not walked to get to Marquis, which proved to be a good decision for the Padres as he ground out on the first pitch.

Padres sixth – Two more for Pads
Klesko singled to lead off the inning and scored on a home run by Giles. It was Marquis' third home run allowed on the day, after having given up just two in his previous starts this year. Cards 13-4.

Cards sixth – Marquis hits
Marquis led off the sixth with a sharply-hit single to right but was erased in a double play. Oddly, he was allowed to bat even though he left the game without pitching again.

Padres seventh – Thompson's debut
It was a perfect situation for Brad Thompson to make his initial major league appearance. He walked his first batter and fanned his second, Miguel Ojeda.

Cards seventh – More B2B homers
Chris Hammond fanned Albert to lead off the seventh. It was just Pujols' ninth strikeout of the season. Abraham Nunez, hitting for Rolen, jacked one into the seats in left. Sanders followed with his own shot to center. Grudz doubled into the right field gap. Molina tried to leg out a hit and rolled his ankle when hitting the first base bag, trying to avoid a collision. Early reports are that it is a sprain to his left ankle and initial swelling was not too great. Cards 15-4.

Cards eighth – Eck again
Eckstein singled with one out for his third hit of the day. He was stranded.

Padres ninth – Thompson finishes
Robert Fick homered off Thompson leading off the inning, but Thompson stuck with it to record his first major league save. Cards 15-5.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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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