Walton's Game Observations – Wednesday

The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 8-4 Wednesday evening.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 8-4 Wednesday night. The series is tied at one game each. The Cardinals' record is now an NL-best 25-14. Their NL Central lead over Milwaukee again increased to six games.

Chris Carpenter pitched five shutout innings, but allowed three runs in his final inning, the sixth. Carpenter fanned seven Phillies as he picked up his sixth win of the year. Jon Lieber didn't get out of the fifth after allowing seven runs, six earned.

Yadier Molina was a hitting star, with a three-run home run among his two hits. Albert Pujols walked, homered and drove in two. Mark Grudzielanek had three hits, including a double and two RBI. Jim Edmonds walked, singled and doubled, scoring twice.

Series snapshot
Coming into the day, the Cardinals had lost three of four to the Phillies this season, including two of three taken by the Phillies in the Cards' first home series of 2005. The Redbirds split six games with the Phils in 2004, taking two of three at Philadelphia and dropping two of three in St. Louis.

Grudz and Eck solid month
David Eckstein is hitting .373 (25-for-67) in the month of May, while second baseman Mark Grudzielanek's average is .352 (19-for-54) this month.

Relievers dependable
The Cardinals bullpen has not allowed a run in its last six games and their last 18-1/3 innings dating to May 10 vs. the Dodgers. Relievers have allowed eight hits while walking five and fanning 12 during this span.

Walker loses record
Last night, Colorado first baseman Todd Helton appeared in his 1171th game in the uniform. That made Helton #1 in games played in Rockies' team history, breaking his tie with Larry Walker.

Soup loss leftovers
In addition to his Tuesday night outing being his shortest of his career, Jeff Suppan's loss was just the third time on the road that happened during his one-plus season as a Cardinal.

Jim's MRI
Dan reported that Jim Edmonds returned to St. Louis on the off-day Monday to undergo an MRI on his ankle. He was cleared to play by the doctors despite the pain.

Wednesday's lineup
Eckstein, Walker, Pujols, Edmonds, Mabry (lf), Grudzielanek, Nunez (3b), Molina and Carpenter.

On to the game…

Cards first - RISP
Pujols and Edmonds walked with two outs, but Mabry fanned.

Phils first – Repeat, but not
Carpenter walked Bob Abreu with two out. That was better than a home run. Carpenter walked Pat Burrell with two out. That was better than a home run. Molina caught Burrell napping off first and easily picked him off.

Cards second – Another decent chance
Molina singled past third with two outs. Carp singled up the middle for his first hit of the season. But, Molina was forced out at third by Eckstein to end it.

Cards third – Albert and Yadi stake lead
Walker drew a free pass to open the inning right. He came home on a home run deep to left by Albert Pujols. It was his tenth of the season. Grudz singled and Nunez walked with two out. Molina clubbed the first pitch out to left field. He sprinted around the bases; well, sprinted for him, and almost seemed to have to suppress a smile. I imagine at least some of the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders in the process. Cards 5-0.

Phils third – Edmonds highlight reel continues
After a pair of Carpenter strikeouts, Jim Edmonds made a great running catch and slammed into the outfield chain link fence on a ball hit by Jimmy Rollins. He held on to the ball and came off the field under his own power, but his wrist may have been injured slightly.

Cards fourth – Lieber out
Edmonds singled the other way. He took third as catcher Mike Lieberthal threw wildly past first on Mabry's swinging bunt. Grudz' RBI single made them pay. Runners were on the corners as Lieber was pulled. Nunez' groundout off Geoff Geary scored Grudz as Mabry moved up. Geary walked Carpenter and Eckstein to load the bases. Walker fanned on a foul tip. Cards 7-0.

Phils fifth – Bell double
After he took the field to start the inning, Mabry was replaced by So Taguchi. He did not appear to be injured. David Bell doubled past Nunez with one out, but he was stranded.

Cards sixth – Thanks, Pat
Edmonds got a gift double as leftfielder Pat "the Bat, not the Glove" Burrell shied away from making the catch at the wall. Edmonds moved up on a Taguchi ground out. Grudz doubled over centerfielder Endy Chavez' head for another RBI. Cards 8-0.

Phils sixth – Phils coming back
Jose Offerman and Jimmy Rollins led off with singles. Abreu brought them in with another home run. Why are they pitching to him? Carpenter walked Burrell as Duncan came out to visit. Burrell was retired in a force out as Utley reached on the fielders' choice. Bell walked. Cards 8-3.

Cards seventh – Two on
Jason Marquis pinch hit for Carpenter, but was retired. Eckstein was hit in the elbow with two out and pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno walked, but they were stranded.

Phils seventh – Thompson solid again
Brad Thompson retired all three men he faced in the inning. What is not to like about this guy?

Phils eighth – Pen trouble averted
Endy Chavez doubled off the wall leading off against Ray King. Abreu singled to put runners on the corners. Tavarez came in and induced a double play grounder as Chavez scored. Utley hit a ball to deep center that was interfered with by a fan. It was originally called a home run, but was correctly reversed to a ground rule double. He didn't score. Cards 8-4.

Phils ninth – Izzy time bumpy
Jason Isringhausen got the call. As usual, he walked the lead off man, pinch-hitter Jason Michaels. A popout to second, a fly ball to left got two outs on the board before Jimmy Rollins singled. Endy Chavez walked to load the bases. A mound conference ensued. Bobby Abreu, the tying run, stepped in. Izzy fanned him swinging.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Thursday @ Phillies: Jason Marquis vs. Brett Myers 12:05pm FSN Midwest
Friday @ Royals: Mark Mulder vs. Zack Greinke 7:10pm FSN Midwest
Saturday @ Royals: Matt Morris vs. Mike Wood 6:10pm WB11
Sunday @ Royals: Jeff Suppan vs. Jose Lima 1:10pm WB11

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

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