Walton's Game Observations – Tuesday, May 10

In a sloppy game, the Dodgers defeated the Cardinals 9-8 Tuesday evening.

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers by the score of 9-8 Tuesday night, tying the four game series at one each. The Cardinals' record is now 20-12, with a four-game NL Central lead.

Matt Morris took on Scott Erickson. Neither participated in the decision, though Morris deserved better. Kevin Jarvis took the loss and deserved it as he presided over a majority of the Dodgers' six-run sixth inning.

Reggie Sanders was the hitting star, with two home runs and four RBI. Scott Rolen slammed a two-run home run as Albert Pujols also drove in two. Eckstein had three hits and a walk, while Walker, Edmonds and Grudzielanek each had a pair of hits.

Rolen injured again
In a collision at first base caused by a bad throw by Erickson, Scott Rolen's left shoulder was injured in the fifth inning. It was initially called a sprained shoulder as he went for X-rays. That shoulder was previously injured in the 2002 playoffs in a collision with Arizona's Alex Cintron. In June, 2003 at Fenway Park, Rolen injured his neck and collarbone in a play at the plate against Boston's Jason Varitek and was hampered the rest of the season.

Erickson a good pitcher
Sorry, I recycled that headline from 1991. Erickson was a 20-game winner for the Minnesota that season. Since then, he is a sub-.500 pitcher who came into the game with a 6.15 ERA on the season.

Bad for Bags
Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell was placed on the disabled list due to continued shoulder pain. Bagwell hasn't played in a week. His degenerative arthritic condition is such that doctors are recommending shoulder replacement surgery when he retires. That may not be too far in the future. Utilityman Mike Lamb will get the majority of the playing time.

Wily Mo also out
The Reds finally placed outfielder Wily Mo Pena on the disabled list as his quadriceps injury did not heal as quickly as originally hoped. The transaction was retroactive to May 3, the day after last game in which he appeared.

Cincy playing-time whining
Second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez is complaining about not starting in favor of Felipe Lopez. Same thing with outfielder Austin Kearns, who has to share time with Ryan Freel even with Pena out.

Last weekend's leftovers
The Padres are still feeling the shockwaves from Sunday's disaster. Starter Tim Redding went onto the disabled list due to his shoulder injury which culminated in his first inning exit. The batting practice pitcher who followed him, Randy Williams, was designated for assignment.

Mr. Wilson grounded
Arguably the Pirates' most consistent offensive threat and most versatile defensive player, Craig Wilson, went onto the disabled list due to a finger injury suffered on Sunday. After surgery, he's going be out for up to two months. In other Pirates' news, ancient catcher Benito Santiago was waived over the weekend after losing his job to Humberto Cota and former Dodger David Ross. He had refused to take a minor-league rehab assignment.

Restovich loose again
Several weeks after claiming him from Tampa Bay, who claimed him several weeks prior off waivers from Minnesota, the Colorado Rockies designated outfielder Michael Restovich for assignment despite him hitting .290 for them in 31 at-bats. Can anyone think of a team that needs a young outfielder?

Cubs pitching a mess
Ryan Dempster was named closer, the sixth of the season for the team. He followed Joe Borowski, LaTroy Hawkins, Chad Fox, Michael Wuertz and Hawkins again. JoeBo is on a rehab assignment and may return next week. Former Cardinal Darren Oliver was signed and was hammered in his first start at Triple-A Iowa. Carlos Zambrano threw 136 pitches on Sunday. Whew!

Tuesday's lineup – A Team minus Molina
Eckstein, Walker, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Sanders, Grudzielanek, Diaz and Morris. Yadier Molina missed his second game after his ankle injury. Edmonds and Rolen switched spots in the order again.

On to the game…

Dodgers first – Out on top
Cesar Izturis doubled to lead off the game. A hit and run meant and RBI single for Hee Seop Choi. J.D. Drew returned from missing the previous night's game with the flu, grounding into a 4-6-3. Dodgers 1-0.

Cards first – Rolen RISP failure again
Eckstein extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a leadoff single. He took second on a broken bat force play by Walker. Pujols drew a walk. After Edmonds was retired, Rolen also failed with two on, including a runner in scoring position.

Cards third – Mini-threat stalled before it started
Eckstein singled again with one out but was erased in a force out off Walker's bat that could have been a double play. Albert didn't do anything.

Dodgers fourth – Ump helps make Mo mess
With one out, Drew was called safe at first on a bang-bang play that first base umpire Marty Foster missed the call on. That proved to be costly as Morris walked Milton Bradley with two outs. Drew scored on Ricky Ledee's single. On Jason Phillips' single, Edmonds nailed Bradley at the plate, but the ball was knocked out of Diaz' glove. Diaz took an error as Edmonds was credited with an assist. Apparently, the official scorer wanted to keep Dave Duncan happy by making the run unearned. Bad call. Dodgers 3-0.

Cards fourth – Cards get the break this time
Edmonds opened with a single and came home as Rolen pounded the ball out to the seats (416 feet) in left center. It was his fifth home run of the season. After third baseman Oscar Robles, who just joined the team from the Mexican League, missed a tough foul pop-up, Sanders also went 391 feet deep to left. Tie 3-3.

Dodgers fifth – Another Dodger reaches
Choi walked with two out, but it didn't matter.

Cards fifth – Lead taken, but Rolen injured
After Drew made a nice sliding catch against Eckstein, Walker went the other way. His ground-rule double bounced over the wall in the left field corner. Pujols knocked him in with a sharp single to right. Al called him "Prince Albert" again. Edmonds tried to bunt again, and this time, he executed perfectly. But, why isn't Edmonds punishing Erickson? Rolen injured his left shoulder in a collision with Choi at first base and went directly into the clubhouse with trainer Barry Weinberg. With runners on second and third with two out, Sanders hit his second home run of the night, deep into left. A curtain call ensued. Grudz doubled and ended Erickson's night. Cards 7-3.

Dodgers sixth – Morris weakens quickly, Jarvis just weak
Abraham Nunez replaced Rolen in the field. Leading off, Jeff Kent homered, getting one back quickly. Bradley singled on the next pitch. Morris was removed from the game, even though no one was warming up. Kevin Jarvis got the call, anyway. He hit Ledee on the knee with a pitch. Walker made a great catch on Phillips' sinking liner to save a couple of runs. A walk loaded the bases. Izturis' single plated two. Duncan came out, but kept Jarvis in the game. It was a bad decision, as Choi hit a three-run homer to center. Dodgers 9-7.

Cards sixth – One back
After pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno ground out, Eckstein walked against submariner Steve Schmoll. Walker singled to allow Eck to take third. He scored on a Pujols sac fly. Dodgers 9-8.

Dodgers seventh – Another on
Bradley singled off Randy Flores with one out. He was stranded.

Cards seventh – RISP wasted
Nunez drew a lead off walk against the fifth Dodgers pitcher, Duaner Sanchez. Grudz singled with two out, but Diaz ground out to end it.

Dodgers eighth – More Dodgers on base
Pinch-hitter Mike Edwards reached via an infield single with one out. Flores stranded him to end two shutout innings.

Cards eighth – Tough DP
Eckstein singled with one out and took second on a wild pitch. Walker drew a free pass, but Albert ground into a double play.

Dodgers ninth - Bent, but unbroken
Ray King came in as Al Reyes warmed up. King got one out, but after a walk, he was pulled. Bradley bunted for a single to greet Reyes, but he induced a 1-6-3 double play to end the threat.

Cards ninth – Tying run on
Dodgers' interim closer Yhency Brazoban fanned Edmonds on three pitches. Nunez singled. Sanders whiffed and Grudz lined out to end it after over 3-1/2 hours of play.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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
Friday @ Mets: Jason Marquis vs. Pedro Martinez 6:10pm FSN Midwest
Saturday @ Mets: Mark Mulder vs. Tom Glavine 12:10pm FSN Midwest
Sunday @ Mets: Matt Morris vs. Kris Benson 12:10pm WB11

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

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