Walton's Game Observations – Saturday

The Cardinals were skunked by Randy Johnson and the Yankees 5-0 Saturday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals were shut out by the New York Yankees at Busch Stadium Saturday afternoon, 5-0. At 39-22, the Cards are six games ahead of the Cubs in the win column and five in the loss column – hence a 5-1/2 game cushion.

Mark Mulder fell short in his attempt for his eighth win, allowing four runs in six innings. Randy Johnson went seven shutout innings, fanning seven hitters and walking none. He allowed just four Cardinal hits.

Mark Grudzielanek had two of the five Cardinals' singles on the day. Albert Pujols and David Eckstein each went 0-for-4.

Note from Jeff Luhnow
"FYI… we are up and running in the DR and here is the link to stats and standings. www.Dominicansummerleague.com. 5-1 so far, pretty good for a group of guys who are all first year players!"

3 Nights review
This is about a month old, but the author takes an interesting slant, looking at the Buzz Bissinger book about Tony La Russa as an anti-Moneyball tale. On the other hand, anyone who seems proud to use words like "tendentious" in his first paragraph has likely never laced up a pair of spikes in his life. So, take it for what it's worth. 3 Nights review

McCarver calls it
"I think Johnson is going to have a dominant performance today," said FOX analyst Tim McCarver at the start of the game. Boy, was he right!

Saturday's lineup
Eckstein, Taguchi (cf), Pujols, Sanders, Grudzielanek, Mabry (rf), Nunez (3b), Molina and Mulder. No Edmonds, Walker or Rolen. Not what you'd like to take into battle against Johnson. I don't want to imply that La Russa conceded the game, but…

On to the game…

Yanks first – First blood
Hideki Matsui walked with one out. Gary Sheffield then singled to left. Molina came out for a conference when A-Rod's count was 2-0. It didn't help. A costly wild pitch moved both runners up because an A-Rod grounder scored Matsui. Actually, Molina should have been able to handle the wild pitch. Yanks 1-0.

Yanks second - HBP
Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch with two outs, but didn't advance.

Cards second – First hit
Swinging on the first pitch, Mabry singled with two outs for the first Cards' safety of the day, but Nunez made the third out.

Yanks third – Shaky defense, good defense
Jeter singled and was on second with two out. A-Rod walked. Bernie Williams hit a ball that could have been scored an error on Nunez. However, he collected the ball, threw it to Molina at home, who caught Jeter in no-man's land. He was tagged out trying to get back to third.

Yanks fourth – Mulder does it to himself
Light-hitting backup catcher John Flaherty singled past Nunez with one out. Rolen would have gotten that ball. The #8 hitter, Cano, walked. This smells badly. Sure enough. After Johnson moved them up, Derek Jeter's single on a frigging 0-2 count scored both, just as McCarver was asking out loud if the Yankees are good enough. Jeter moved up on the throw home and Matsui's double off the wall over Mabry scored Jeter. Three two-out runs. Yanks 4-0.

Cards fourth – Erased at plate
Albert lined to third on the tenth pitch of an impressive at-bat. With two outs, Sanders singled to left and stole second on the lefty Johnson without drawing a throw. I really like Reggie's recently-rediscovered aggressiveness on the bases. Oops, he tried to score on a Grudz single to left and was easily tagged out at the plate, as Matsui made a perfect throw. Still, with two outs and Johnson on the mound, it was a good try.

Yanks fifth – One on
A-Rod singled leading off, but it didn't matter.

Cards sixth – No more Mulder
With Mulder scheduled to lead off and the Cards down by four, La Russa sent up Scott Seabol to pinch hit. He popped out. Mulder allowed seven hits and three walks on 101 pitches. All four runs were earned.

Yanks eighth – Reyes K's
After Brad Thompson pitched a shutout inning, Al Reyes took over. Leading off, Williams singled. Nunez made an error with two outs, allowing Flaherty to reach. But, he fanned both Cano and pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra.

Cards eighth – Their Mo beats Walker
Maybe with Johnson out, the Cards have a chance. Tom "Flash" Gordon took over. Nunez singled leading off. Edmonds pinch-hit for Reyes and drew a one-out walk. With both runners in scoring position and two out, closer Mariano Rivera was brought in to face pinch-hitter Larry Walker. Walker fanned. This game feels over.

Yanks ninth – Another run
Julian Tavarez came in. Jeter walked and took third on Matsui's single. Sheffield started a double play, but A-Rod's single scored Jeter, anyway. Yanks 5-0.

Cards ninth – 11 K's overall
Sanders and Grudz fanned against Rivera to end it. They were the Cards' tenth and 11th strikeouts of the day. End of game.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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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