Walton's Game Observations – Saturday

The Cardinals came back to defeat the Royals 6-5 Saturday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Kansas City Royals by the score of 6-5 Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon, the Cards will go for the sweep of the three-game weekend series. The team's record is now 27-15, tying their high-water mark of the season. Their road mark is 15-6 and their lead is now seven games in the NL Central.

Matt Morris hung on to defeat Jose Lima. Morris gave up nine hits but no walks in seven innings. Lima allowed just three hits, but also three runs. It troubles me that the Cards are only one run better than the Royals in each of the first two games of this series.

The Cards' offense collected just seven hits, but made the most of them. Larry Walker drove in four runs on a double and a three-run home run. Friday night's hero John Mabry fanned four times, as both teams were very unhappy with the umpiring.

Saturday's lineup
Eckstein, Walker (dh), Pujols, Edmonds, Grudzielanek, Sanders, Mabry (rf), Nunez (3b), and Molina.

On to the game…

Cards first
Larry Walker was hit by a pitch. More on this coming

Royals first – Cheap run
Angel Berroa singled and was balked to second. He scored on a pair of ground outs, the latter by Mike Sweeney. Royals 1-0.

Cards second – Beanball trouble
Sanders was hit by a pitch and stole second. That led to scenario where both benches were warned by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. Of course, Tony La Russa took exception. Carpenter whined the rest of the way about this "taking Morris out of his game", as if Morris' troubles are the umps' fault. However, the strike zone was wide, and was the case for both teams and that should have benefited the pitchers.

Royals second – Morris serves up tater
There was some controversy as Mark Teahen blasted a home run to right on an 0-2 count. The ball bounced back toward the field of play, hit off a fan and went onto the turf. Royals 2-0.

Cards third – One back
Molina shot a seeing-eye single between short and third. He moved to second as Eckstein threw his bat at a low, outside pitch on a hit-and-run. A Walker grounder moved him to third. Pujols singled to right to collect the RBI. However, he was caught way too far off first and the pickoff was the third out. Royals 2-1.

Royals third – Run right back
Leading off, Ruben Gotay dropped a double down the line in front of Sanders. He moved up on an out and came home on a sacrifice fly to center, as he just beat Edmonds' throw home. Royals 3-1.

Cards fourth – Not much
Edmonds walked to start the inning but that was it.

Royals fourth – Not much here, either
Matt Stairs led off with a single that Grudz seemed to have a chance at. He was erased in a double play.

Cards fifth – Walker chugs around
Abraham Nunez walked to lead off the frame and took second on a hit-and-run with Molina. Walker shot a ball past first. As it bounced down into the corner, right fielder Emil Brown let the ball by him, slipped and missed the cutoff man. Walker stopped at second, restarted, slowed at third and ended up coming home for what could have been an inside the park home run. It was correctly scored as a double plus a two-base error. Tie 3-3.

Royals fifth – Royals retake lead
Alberto Castillo, Gotay and Berroa singled, loading the bases with one out. Morris is visibly upset with the home plate umpire's calls. Duncan came out for a visit. The next pitch was a David DeJesus single that plated two. Royals 5-3.

Cards sixth - Trying
Grudz singled with one out. That was it.

Cards seventh – DH Walker delivers
Molina singled with one out. Eckstein shot a single off Teahen at third. Walker took what should have been a called strike three and slammed the next pitch into the Royals' bullpen. Cards 6-5.

Royals seventh – No harm
Gotay led off with his third hit of the game, a single. But, he was stranded.

Royals eighth – Tavarez time
Julian Tavarez came in and took out his men 1-2-3, fanning two.

Royals ninth – Izzy ends it
He did his job perfectly.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday @ Royals: Jeff Suppan vs. Ryan Jensen 1:10pm WB11
Monday vs. Pittsburgh: Chris Carpenter vs. Kip Wells 7:10pm FSN Midwest
Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh: Jason Marquis vs. David Williams 7:10pm FSN Midwest
Wednesday vs. Pittsburgh: Mark Mulder vs. Mark Redman 7:10pm FSN Midwest

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

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