Walton's Game Observations – Friday

Behind the pitching of Jason Marquis and the hitting of Albert Pujols, the Cardinals defeated the Yankees 8-1 Friday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals took the first of the weekend series over the New York Yankees at Busch Stadium Friday night by the score of 8-1. The Redbirds' record is an NL-best 39-21.

Jason Marquis bested rookie Chien-Ming Wang. Wang was victimized by Little League-quality defense behind him. Marquis allowed just eight baserunners in eight full innings, via six hits and two walks. He fanned three during his 113-pitch outing.

Albert Pujols had two RBI and scored three runs. He reached four times via a walk, single, double and a home run. Reggie Sanders had two hits while Larry Walker had two walks and a hit.

In case you've been sleeping
The New York Yankees will make their first visit to St. Louis since the 1964 World Series at which time the Cardinals defeated the Yankees four games to three. They have had only one regular season meeting, on June 13-15, 2003 when the Yankees hosted the Cardinals and swept the Redbirds in three games.

Interleague success continues
The Redbirds have won 16 of their last 18 interleague games dating to 2003, including an 11-1 mark last season. Overall, they are 67-54 (.554) all-time in interleague play.

Remembering Joe
Yankees manager Joe Torre spent six seasons wearing the birds-on-the-bat uniform from 1969-74 and won the National League MVP award in 1971 after batting .373, with 24 home runs and 137 runs batted in. Torre was named the Cardinals skipper in 1990 and spent five and one half seasons in that role before he was fired during the 1995 season. His Redbirds managerial record was 351-354 (.498).

Record start update
With a 37-21 record coming into Friday, the 2005 Cardinals are off to their best start since the 1944 season. Last season, they were 34-25 after 59 games en route to winning 105 games.

Marquis' other team champs, too
I watched the game on YES, the Yankee sports network. Staten Island native Jason Marquis passed along a message to congratulate his home school, Tottenville, who won the NY City championship at Yankee Stadium. Tottenville has played for the city championship in three of the last four seasons and won two years in a row. They defeated my namesake, Walton, 4-1, to take the title. NY Public Schools Athletic League

Yanks in turmoil
Former player David Justice was the YES color man. He went on and on over how poorly and with lack of focus the Yankees are playing and called on their captain, Derek Jeter, to call a players-only meeting and take charge.

La Russa misses Womack
The YES crew told a story that before the game, Tony La Russa instructed them to relay a message to former Cardinals second baseman Tony Womack. "Tell him hello and that I miss him", was TLR's reported message. That makes one of us.

Sizemore, not McGee
Despite the anticipation over Willie McGee coming back to remove the number 51 from the Busch Countdown, but instead it was former second baseman Ted Sizemore who did the honor.

Friday's lineup
Eckstein, Grudzielanek, Pujols, Edmonds, Walker, Sanders, Nunez, Molina and Marquis. This evening, Walker's nomadic trip through the lineup stopped at #5, between Edmonds and Sanders.

On to the game…

Cards first – Giambi Gumpy
With one out, Grudz drew a four-pitch walk. Before Albert saw a pitch, Wang threw wildly to first as stone glove Jason Giambi couldn't haul it in. Grudz took third without a throw. Derek Jeter short-hopped his throw on Albert's grounder to short and again Giambi couldn't handle it. It was scored a single. Edmonds singled to right off the wall, putting runners at the corners. Gary Sheffield made a nice play on defense. After a mound visit by his pitching coach, Mel Stottlemyre, Wang served up an RBI single to Walker. Cards 2-0.

Yanks second
As it began to rain, Jorge Posada drew a two-out walk to represent the first Yankee baserunner..

Yanks third – Nice gloves
Robinson Cano singled leading off. Wang's bunt led to Molina throwing out the lead runner and was almost a double play. Nunez robbed Jeter of an extra base hit with a nice backhanded stop and threw out the lead runner again.

Cards third – Cards given five outs, get five runs
Albert doubled into the right field corner leading off. Edmonds' single scored Albert. Second baseman playing left field Tony Womack's throw home was cut off. They had Edmonds trapped off first, but stone glove missed the throw again and Edmonds ended up at third when the ball rolled down into the corner once more. ARod was given the error when it should have been charged to Giambi. Walker was given a free pass. He took third as Sanders singled. Gary Sheffield in right made a weak throw to third, as both runners ended up in scoring position. Nunez was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Wang's first pitch to Molina was up and away and should have been caught by Posada, but it got away, scoring another, while the runners moved up. Marquis worked a full-count before second baseman Robinson Cano muffed Marquis' grounder. It scored two more. Cards 7-0.

Yanks fourth – Two on for Yanks
After the long inning, Marquis came out pitching less sharply. The leadoff man, Sheffield, walked. Hideki Matsui singled with one out. But, that was it.

Cards fourth – Two on for Cards
Walker walked with one out and Sanders reached on an infield single. Both were stranded.

Yanks fifth – Ice broken
Cano led off with a double on a ball that was up in the zone. Tino Martinez was called on to pinch-hit amid a chorus of boos and ground out, moving up the runner. Jeter's bloop RBI double followed. Cards 7-1.

Yanks sixth – Marquis crusing
Posada singled with two down, but did not move up.

Cards sixth – Run back
Albert clubbed a solo shot off Paul Quantrill onto the grass berm in center, estimated at 415 feet. The fans demanded a curtain call for his 15th home run of the season. Cards 8-1.

Yanks eighth - Zzzzz
ARod singled and took second on fielders indifference. Matsui fanned to end it.

Cards eighth - Two more on
Grudz doubled and Albert intentionally walked. So pinch hit, but fanned.

Yanks ninth – Last gasp
Randy Flores took over for Marquis, who allowed just eight baserunners in eight full innings (six hits and two walks). Giambi walked. For some reason, Izzy is throwing in the pen. Not needed. Game over

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday vs. Yankees: Mark Mulder vs. Randy Johnson 2:05pm Big FOX
Sunday vs. Yankees: Matt Morris vs. Carl Pavano 1:15pm WB11
Monday @ Blue Jays: Jeff Suppan vs. Roy Halladay 6:07pm FSN Midwest
Tuesday @ Blue Jays: Chris Carpenter vs. Chad Gaudin 6:07pm FSN Midwest
Wednesday @ Blue Jays: Jason Marquis vs. Ted Lilly 6:07pm FSN Midwest

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

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