Walton's Game Observations – Friday, May 13

The Cardinals were defeated by the Mets 2-0 Friday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals fell to the New York Mets by the score of 2-0 Friday night, in the first game of the weekend series. It was the first time the Cardinals' offense has been shut out this season. Their record is now 22-13 as their lead was cut to three games over the Brewers.

Jason Marquis opposed Tom Glavine. The latter put up his best performance of the season, but Marquis also pitched very well. Other than two home runs by Cliff Floyd, Marquis allowed just one other hit and one walk through seven innings. Good, but not good enough.

Getting the start at third base against the lefty, Abraham Nunez had two hits, but the offense had just five on the night.

Dial 411 for Eckstein
Eckstein went 3-for-4 with an RBI, one run scored and a walk in Thursday's win over the Dodgers to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He finished the four-game series against the Dodgers 11-for-16 at the plate. During his streak, the shortstop is batting .424 (25-for-59) with three doubles, seven RBI, 10 runs scored and one stolen base. His overall batting average for the season is .333 and his on base percentage is .411.

Astros reeling
Coming into Friday, the Houston Astros had lost three straight and nine of ten to fall to 12-22, 10 games behind the Cardinals. Manager Phil Garner held a 30-minute team meeting after Thursday's game, in which they lost the lead on some shabby fielding, committing four errors, and fell to the Giants as a result. They released pitcher Brandon Duckworth, who was part of the Billy Wagner trade with Philly two years ago, and added reliever Mike Burns, who already had ten saves in Triple-A this season.

Albert in a rut
In going 0-for-5 Thursday, Albert failed to reach base by a hit or walk for the first time in 43 regular-season games dating back to 2004. He struck out three times for the first time this season. After striking out just seven times in his first 26 games, he has fanned six times in the last eight.

Dodgers didn't prove anything
After Los Angeles won game two of the just completed series, their broadcasters were going on and on as to the importance of the win to demonstrate the Dodgers can play with the National League elite. Sorry, guys, but it wasn't proven to me. The Cards outscored them by 31-17. Pretty dominating.

Luna not ready
Despite hitting two home runs and driving in six for Memphis on Wednesday night, I am fine with the Cardinals' decision not to recall Hector Luna instead of Scott Seabol Thursday. Since being sent down, Luna is hitting just .239 in 11 games.

Patterson dodges "time out"
After throwing his batting helmet near an umpire during an argument over a close call Tuesday night, Cubs outfielder Corey Patterson could have been suspended. However, he got off with just a fine. I wonder if Carlos Zambrano argued his case for him?

Glavine booed
The Mets (un)faithful booed their starter, Tom Glavine, in pregame introductions. Roger Cedeno could probably relate.

Press everywhere
Before the game, there were as many media in the cramped Cardinals clubhouse as there were players. A number were Japanese, understandable since Kazuo Matsui mans second base for the Mets.

Cramped quarters
One writer commented that the Mets visitor's clubhouse is the only place worse than the visitor's clubhouse at Busch. At least one of the two will be gone after this season.

Kliner calls
Steve Kline called Traveling Secretary C.J. Cherre before the game. C.J. wanted to make arrangements to send Kline his 2004 championship ring and pendant. Not surprisingly, he asked about Rolen.

The Commish on Kline
That reminded me to ask the P-D's Rick Hummel about his widely-quoted story about Kline wanting to return to St. Louis. Hummel complimented Kline for not disavowing his comments but was surprised by the reaction by Baltimoreans. He acknowledged that the Orioles fans were not familiar with Kline's extremely candid style. Hummel also admitted that he got a lot of negative mail from over Baltimore way.

White's first day
Gabe White, lockered between Julian Tavarez and Ray King, was sipping a diet cola and taking in the surroundings in the clubhouse before the game. His serenity was disrupted when Cherre reminded him to go to the mandatory pitchers meeting. White will learn the routine soon enough. Look elsewhere on the site for my interview with White.

Tavarez late
Julian Tavarez came into the clubhouse at least five minutes late for the pitchers' meeting. He strode into the meeting room with his street clothes shirt on with his underwear. What a card! Pun intended.

Other clubhouse pre-game activities
Jason Marquis relaxed in his pre-game preparation by playing cards with Grudz. John Mabry read USA Today. Albert Pujols was having a spirited conversation with two Nike reps. No one was watching auto racing on the big screen TV.

Yadier working late
As we entered La Russa's office for his post-game comments, I noticed Yadier Molina off in the corner intently studying film. It was a very good sight to see.

Friday's lineup
Eckstein, Walker, Pujols, Sanders, Grudzielanek, Nunez (3b), Taguchi (cf), Molina and Carpenter. Edmonds was given the day off, but will be back Saturday. Molina is expected to take Saturday off.

On to the game…

Mets first – Molina shows off gun
Jose Reyes led off with a single to right. Mike Cameron took Marquis deep to the track in center, but Edmonds hauled it in. Molina impressively threw out the speedy Reyes trying to steal second base. Beltran fanned to finish the inning.

Cards second – Ice broken
Nunez singled with two outs to be the Cards' first baserunner of the evening. He was stranded on a Taguchi ground out.

Mets second – Marquis taken deep again
Cliff Floyd hit a home run over the 396 sign in right center leading off. It was estimated at 425 feet. After allowing only two home runs in his first six starts, Marquis has now allowed four long flies in his last eight innings pitched. Doug Mientkiewicz drew a one-out walk. David Wright ground into a nice 5-4-3 double play. Mets 1-0.

Cards third – Molina singles
Leading off, Molina singled to center, but Eckstein ground into a double play started by Glavine.

Cards fifth – Glavine breezing
Grudz fanned leading off the inning. It was Glavine's second K, matching the number of hits he's allowed.

Mets sixth – Cards defense playing well
Nunez made a nice diving stop and throw to nail Glavine with one out.

Cards seventh – First run in scoring position
Walker fanned leading off and had some words with home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Albert's shot bounced off first baseman Mientkiewicz. Matsui's throw toward first was wild. It went into the dugout, allowing Albert to take second. But, he was stranded there.

Mets seventh – Too much Floyd
With two out, Floyd clubbed another home run. This one hit off the giant Pepsi bottle on the right side of the scoreboard. It looked longer than 415 feet to me. It was only the third hit off Marquis. Mets 2-0.

Cards eighth – Glavine out, but not down
Nunez singled to left leading off. He now has half of the Cards' hits. Matsui twice botched an easy double-play grounder by Taguchi to put two on. It was Matsui's second error of the game as boos again rained down upon him. Glavine was given the quick hook after 96 pitches. One of the Mets most reliable relievers, Roberto Hernandez, replaced him. Jim Edmonds got the call to pinch hit for Molina and struck out swinging. John Mabry hit for Marquis with the game on the line, despite Marquis having thrown just 80 pitches. Mabry's fielders' choice moved the runners up, but not home. After fouling off a number of pitches, Eckstein sharply bounced out to Hernandez.

Mets eighth – Reyes ok
Al Reyes got the call. He allowed a two-out walk to Matsui but retired former Cardinal Marlon Anderson, who was pinch-hitting, to end the threat.

Cards ninth - Looper lops Cards
When Mets closer and former Cardinal Braden Looper was announced, there was more booing. Good thing they are ahead. Albert singled sharply to center with one out, but was stranded. He took second uncontested, but Grudz ground out to short to end it.

La Russa's post-game comments – on Glavine
"We've got a good-hitting club and he shut us down. You've got to give him credit. He moved everything around, mixed things up. He was outstanding."

TLR on Marquis
"I think he missed the glove three or four times in seven innings. That was really outstanding pitching. Two of them left the park. It's a tough league."

TLR on the eighth inning
"Hernandez dodged a bullet. We had a big break and a chance to get into the game and we couldn't capitalize. Tough loss. Turn the page."

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday @ Mets: Mark Mulder vs. Pedro Martinez 12:10pm FSN Midwest
Sunday @ Mets: Matt Morris vs. Aaron Heilman 12:10pm WB11
Monday: Off day
Tuesday @ Phillies: Jeff Suppan vs. Cory Lidle 6:05pm FSN Midwest
Wednesday @ Phillies: Chris Carpenter vs. Jon Lieber 6:05pm FSN Midwest/ESPN
Thursday @ Phillies: Jason Marquis vs. Brett Myers 12:05pm FSN Midwest

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

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