Walton's Game Observations – Thursday, May 19

The Cardinals were defeated by the Phillies 7-4 Thursday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by the Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 7-4 Thursday afternoon. The Phillies won the series two games to one. The Cardinals' record is now 25-15 as their NL Central lead over Milwaukee remained at six games.

Jason Marquis took on Brett Myers. Marquis pitched poorly, putting on 13 baserunners in just four innings, but surprisingly, he only gave up four runs. Overall, five Cards pitchers allowed 11 hits and 10 walks on the day.

With better pitching, there might have been enough offense to win. Reggie Sanders and David Eckstein each had two hits and scored. Eckstein stole two bases and Sanders one. Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols homered. The latter was a two-run shot.

Bumps and bruises
John Mabry was pulled from Wednesday night's game when he admitted his back was sore. It is not viewed to be serious. Larry Walker also sat due to a finger problem that has apparently plagued him since spring training.

Thursday's lineup
Eckstein, Nunez (3b), Pujols, Edmonds, Sanders, Cedeno (rf), Grudzielanek, Molina and Marquis.

On to the game…

Phils first – Coulda been far worse
Jimmy Rollins walked and was sacrificed to second. Bob Abreu also drew a free pass. Pat Burrell hit the first pitch he saw for an RBI single. Chase Utley singled on a full-count pitch to load the bases, but Abreu was surprisingly held at third. But, David Bell ground into a double play to enable Marquis to escape. Predictably, massive booing ensued. Phils 1-0.

Cards second – Edmonds takes it out
Leading off, Edmonds stroked an opposite-field home run, his first in two-and-a-half weeks. The last one was the famous Monday night Cincy comeback game. Sanders collected a broken-bat single and moved up with two out. He daringly stole third. But, Molina fanned looking. Tie 1-1.

Phils second - Bottom of the lineup makes hay
The #7 and #8 hitters, Tomas Perez and Todd Pratt singled leading off. Even worse, Myers faked a bunt and singled past Albert for an RBI. Marquis is struggling, getting behind the count on most every hitter. Grudz retired Myers on a fielders'choice grounder by Jimmy Rollins to put runners on the corners. Marquis got Abreu on a ground out. Phils 2-1.

Cards third – Fourth lead change
Eckstein singled and stole second with one out. Albert slammed a home run to left for his second in two games and 11th of the season. Cards 3-2.

Phils third – More trouble for Marquis
Burrell singled leading off. As the ball rolled into the left-field corner and even though Sanders made a weak throw in, Burrell stayed at first. A double play was not made as Utley bumped Pujols' heel as he leapt to get a high relay from second. Bell and Pratt walked. A wild pitch that Molina should have stopped scored one. Tie 3-3.

Cards fourth – Good chance missed
With one out, Cedeno was hit by a pitch and Grudz singled. Molina's double play ended the threat.

Phils fourth – Marquis laboring
Rollins walked and was sacrificed to second. La Russa and Trainer Barry Weinberg came out to check on Marquis, who apparently said he was fine. Al Reyes began to throw. Abreu walked, Marquis' sixth. A double steal moved the runners up as Marquis ignored them. Burrell fanned. On a close play at first, Utley just beat Marquis to the bag, as Rollins scored. Two more stranded and eight total in four innings. Marquis' pitch count is 93. Phils 4-3.

Cards fifth –Eckstein the pest
Eckstein singled again with one out, and again stole second, but was stranded there.

Phils sixth – White dirtied
Al Reyes took over on the mound in the fifth and retired four straight before walking Chavez. Gabe White was called on to pitch to Abreu. That didn't work, as he singled, then Burrell's double scored one. Phils 5-3.

Phils seventh – Slip sliding away
Pinch-hitting for Myers, Jose Offerman greeted Julian Tavarez with a home run to right. Phils 6-3.

Phils eighth – Drip, drip, drip
Ray King became the fifth Cardinals pitcher of the day. He pitched carefully to Abreu, walking him. Abreu stole second base. Burrell then walked. A 1-6-3 double play helped, as Abreu took third. But, David Bell's first-pitch single scored the run. Bell tried to score on a double by Perez, but Edmonds' throw to the plate nailed Bell, who tried to come in standing up. Phils 7-3.

Cards ninth – One meaningless run
Ryan Madson took over on the mound for the Phils for the eighth and left for closer Billy Wagner in the ninth. With one out in the inning, Sanders' ball stuck under the padding at the base of the left field wall. He was sent from third back to second, but took the base back immediately on defensive indifference. The run scored on a ground out. But, that was it. Phils 7-4.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Friday @ Royals: Mark Mulder vs. Zack Greinke 7:10pm FSN Midwest
Saturday @ Royals: Matt Morris vs. Jose Lima 6:10pm WB11
Sunday @ Royals: Jeff Suppan vs. TBD 1:10pm WB11

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

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