Walton's Game Observations – Tuesday

The Cardinals again handily beat the Red Sox 9-2 Tuesday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals again handily defeated the World Champion Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium Tuesday night by the score of 9-2. The Redbirds' record is an NL-best 38-20. With a second straight Cubs' loss, the Cards' NL Central lead is back up to 7.5 games.

Former Red Sox pitcher Jeff Suppan evened his record at 5-5 vs. former Cub Matt Clement. Soup went six solid innings, allowing just six hits and a walk and one run. He was backed up by a strong defense as the Cards turned four double plays, two started by Edgar Renteria. Four bullpen pitchers added three scoreless innings.

It was a balanced and clutch Cardinals offensive attack. Eight of the runs came with two outs. Every starter other than Larry Walker had at least one hit. Walker was on twice after being hit by pitches.

Individually, David Eckstein had two hits and an RBI. Albert Pujols drove in two. So did Jim Edmonds on a home run. Reggie Sanders added a solo shot. Abraham Nunez collected two RBIs. Yadier Molina was on base twice. Mark Grudzielanek stole a base and scored twice.

The only part of this game that Boston won was the beanball war, 3-2. It started in the sixth as the Cards were up by five runs. Relievers Matt Mantei and Al Reyes were ejected, as were their managers after an umpires' warning did not have its desired effect.

New Dusty dopeyism
The Cubs manager just keeps on saying dopey things. Last week, it was Carlos Zambrano's computer elbow. Now, he is complaining that because so many Cubs games are on television in the afternoon it gives opposing players an unfair advantage in scouting his team. Apparently, Baker has never heard about film study. As if players in the clubhouse would be riveted to the screen while his team played, anyway.

What are the odds?
I happened to read McNewspaper, also known as USA Today, today. Not only do they publish the odds for each game, they also include the over and unders. For example, Tuesday's Red Sox – Cards game is even money and the over/under is 9-1/2 runs. Is that really necessary? If people are betting on that, they have some serious problems.

Tuesday's lineup
Eckstein, Grudzielanek, Pujols, Edmonds, Sanders, Walker, Nunez (3b), Molina and Suppan. The line-up, other than the pitcher, was identical night-to-night.

On to the game…

BoSox first – Edgar again
After a single by Johnny Damon, Egar ground into his third double play in two days.

Cards first – On top again
Eckstein led off with a single. After Albert traded places with him via a fielders' choice, Edmonds home run scored them both. Cards 2-0.

BoSox second – Lead halved
Jason Varitek homered with two out. Cards 2-1.

Cards second – Two out rally
With two outs, Molina drew a walk. Suppan singled. Eckstein and Grudz each followed with RBI singles. Albert's double down the right field line scored both the infielders. He took third as Grudz slid home safely. Cards 6-1.

Cards third – Sanders goes deep
Reggie Sanders hooked a lead-off home run around the left field foul pole. Cards 7-1.

BoSox fifth – One back, five behind
Varietk singled and exchanged places with Bill Mueller on a force out. Mueller scored on a double by Mark Bellhorn. Cards 7-2.

BoSox sixth – Manny doubles up
Edgar and David Ortiz led off with singles. However, Manny Ramirez' double play helped and Trot Nixon's pop out finished it.

Cards sixth – Good chance, good game
Walker was hit on the rear leading off. Nunez sacrificed him up. Molina's single put runners on the corners. Suppan was pulled for So. Neither he nor Eck could get the run home. Suppan allowed just six hits and one walk in six one-run innings, throwing 90 pitches.

BoSox seventh – HBP retaliation
Al Reyes immediately plunked Jason Varitek leading off. He was erased in a Bill Mueller double play.

Cards seventh – Beanball warnings
With Grudz leading off, Matt Mantei tried to hit him with a pitch but missed. He was successful on the second try. Both Varitek and the home plate ump stayed between Mark and Matt as both benches were warned. La Russa protested that Mantei should be tossed. To big cheers from the crowd, Grudz stole second base. Sanders walked on four pitches. Mantei hit Walker in the rear end for the second time in two innings and third time in the two games. Initially, he was not tossed, despite the warning. But, as La Russa came out, Mantei was finally elected by the third base ump. Nunez' single up the middle scored two as Walker took third. Cards 9-2.

BoSox eighth – Thanks, Edgar
Reyes hit Youkilis on the hands on a borderline pitch. He was immediately ejected as was La Russa. Ray King induced Edgar's fourth double play of the series to end it.

BoSox ninth - White shaky, but Julian just fine
David Ortiz singled leading off against Gabe White. Jay Payton pinch-hit for a single. Varitek singled to load the bases with one out. Edmonds collected the second out on a great diving catch in right center. Duncan brought in Julian Tavarez to get the final out. He fanned Mark Bellhorn to end the game.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Wednesday vs. Red Sox: Chris Carpenter vs. David Wells 7:10 pm FSNM & ESPN2
Thursday: Open Friday vs. Yankees: Jason Marquis vs. Chien-Ming Wang 7:10pm FSNM
Saturday vs. Yankees: Mark Mulder vs. Kevin Brown 2:05pm Big FOX
Sunday vs. Yankees: Matt Morris vs. Randy Johnson 1:15pm WB11

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


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