Walton's Game Observations – Thursday, May 12

The Cardinals took three of four as they defeated the Dodgers 10-3 Thursday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers by the score of 10-3 Thursday afternoon, taking the series three games to one. The Cardinals' record is now 22-12, extending their NL Central lead to 4-1/2 games. They finished their home stand with a 4-4 record.

Chris Carpenter beat former Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe. Carpenter fanned eight in seven innings. Two of this three runs allowed were earned. Brad Thompson registered two perfect innings in mop-up duty.

The Cardinals followed up Wednesday's season-high 19 hits with 13 more Thursday. David Eckstein almost replicated his Wednesday performance, going 3-for-4, including a double and a triple, and added a walk. John Mabry contributed significantly for the second straight game in place of Scott Rolen, with two hits, including a two-RBI double. On the down side, Albert Pujols amazingly struck out three times and Eckstein erred twice in the field.

Going to the Apple
Look for my reports this coming weekend from Shea Stadium in New York, as the Cards visit the Mets.

Thursday's lineup
Eckstein, Walker, Pujols, Edmonds, Sanders, Mabry (3b), Nunez, Molina and Carpenter. Yadier Molina returned after missing four games with an ankle injury, as Sanders also returned to the starting lineup. Grudzielanek was given the day off.

On to the game…

Dodgers second – Up again
Leading off, Milton Bradley homered to center. Hee Seop Choi singled and with one out Eckstein's fielding error on Mark Edwards' ball put runners on the corners. Paul Bako's single scored Choi. He took third on Lowe's fielders; choice as Eckstein made his second error of the inning on the throw. Cesar Izturis walked before Oscar Robles ground out to end the inning. Dodgers 2-0.

Dodgers third – Lead lost as fast as it was secured
Choi walked with two out, but Carpenter fanned Ricky Ledee to end it.

Cards third – Big inning helped by three Dodger gaffes
Molina singled with one out and traded places with Carpenter on a fielders' choice. Eckstein and Walker singled, the latter plating Carpenter. Eckstein scored on a Pujols fielders' choice when third baseman Robles missed the bag. The Dodgers were upset, believing either that Robles' heel was on the bag or he should have been given the out because he was "in the neighborhood". Edmonds single to right scored Walker. Pujols also came in and Edmonds took third on J.D. Drew's throwing error as his ball went to the backstop. Edmonds scored on a passed ball that was so wild it almost hit the batter, Sanders. Sanders and Mabry singled, but Nunez ground out to end it. Cards 5-2.

Dodgers fourth – Ugly
Edwards singled and Bako doubled to start the frame. Perhaps Carp got cold or something, as Lowe singled Edwards home and then stole second base. However, Carp fanned Robles and Drew to escape with only one run allowed. This was the second inning in four that the Dodgers left the bases loaded. Carpenter is playing with fire. Cards 5-3.

Cards fourth – Three on, none in
Molina walked and in a huge surprise, the wooden legged catcher tried to steal second but was thrown out. It was costly as Eckstein doubled and Walker drew a free pass. But, Albert fanned for the third out.

Cards fifth – Lower-order guys come through
After two strikeouts, Mabry walked. Then Nunez and Molina each singled. The latter brought Mabry home. Nice to see the bottom of the order contributing. Maybe the enforced rest was good for Molina. Cards 6-3.

Dodgers sixth – Lowe out
Bako walked with one out. As a result, Lowe was pulled for a pinch-hitter. It didn't matter.

Cards sixth – Another threat
Eckstein walked but was erased in a Walker-started double play.

Dodgers seventh – Three more for the good guys
D.J. Houlton walked Edmonds and Sanders. He then served up a two-run double to Mabry. Nunez doubled himself, scoring Mabry. After a pitching change and a wild pitch, Eckstein's triple enabled Nunez to crawl home. Walker fanned swinging for the third out. Cards 10-3.

Cards eighth – Another hit batter
Pinch-hitting for Edmonds with one out, So reached on a throwing error. Sanders was hit with a pitch, but Mabry and Nunez were retired. That ran the hit-by-pitch count for the series to 3-1, with the Cards on the high side.

Dodgers ninth – Thompson ends it
Brad Thompson completed two perfect innings by striking out Drew looking to end the game and series on a high note.

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

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

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