Walton's Game Observations – Saturday

Matt Morris led the Cardinals over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-2 Saturday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field by a 5-2 score Saturday night. The Cards overall record improved to 43-24 and their road record is a stellar 22-12. With the Cubs' third loss in a row, the Cards NL Central lead is eight-and-a-half games.

Matt Morris topped Mark Hendrickson. Morris earned his eighth win against no losses. He went eight innings, allowing just five hits, fanning six and striking out no one.

Albert Pujols had a two-run home run. Scott Seabol had a walk and two hits, including a double and a run batted in. So Taguchi and Yadier Molina each added two hits and an RBI.

Sanders' bell bottoms?
The Cards wore their 1982-vintage throwback uniforms. Reggie Sanders' uniform pants were so low on his shoes that they looked like big bells. Right after I typed this, Carpenter and Horton made the same observation. Sanders might have stirrups on under there or he might not have any socks on at all. There is no telling.

Throwback unis for a good cause
The Rays of Hope Foundation in Tampa Bay will be auctioning off for charity the "Victory Blue" uniforms that the Cardinals wore Saturday night. Same with the early 1960's University of Tampa unis that the Devil Rays wore. They were worn in remembrance of Rays' manager Lou Piniella, who play ball there in his younger days. Check the Devil Rays' site at MLB.com if you're interested in bidding on jerseys from "Turn Back the Clock Night".

Morris shaved, almost
Matt Morris still has his beard, but it is very closely trimmed, in contrast to the spring training bushy version.

McKay's back acting up
Joe Pettini took over first base coaching duties as regular coach Dave McKay had a flare up of back problems. McKay was able to sit on the bench, at least.

40 starter wins
With Morris' victory Saturday, the Cards starting five have a total of 40 wins this season, the most in the majors. Only two other teams have at least 30 – the White Sox at 35 and the Phillies at 30.

TLR ties Harris
La Russa tied Bucky Harris for 2157 career wins, fourth best all-time. Harris managed five different teams, primarily Washington and Detroit, from 1924 to 1956.

Saturday's lineup – Rolen returns
Eckstein, Taguchi (cf), Pujols, Sanders, Rolen, Grudzielanek, Seabol (dh), Mabry (rf) and Molina. Scott Rolen returned after a 34-game absence. Jim Edmonds remained out with his rib injury. Larry Walker got the day off.

On to the game…

Cards second – Sanders speedy
Sanders led off with a single to center on a ball muscled off his fists. He stole second and third, the latter without a throw, for his 12th and 13th stolen bases of the year. Neither Grudz nor Seabol could get the run home.

Rays second – Getting some help
With one out, Morris got the strike three call on what should have been ball four to Travis Lee. It was important, as Jonny Gomes doubled down into the left field corner on the very next pitch. Morris fanned Reggie Taylor, tying him up and in for the third out.

Cards third – More running
Mabry singled to center leading off and took second on a wild pitch. On ball four to Eckstein, the ball scooted away a bit. Mabry took off for third, but catcher Kevin Cash threw him out. So singled with two out, but Albert popped out to end it.

Rays third – Lead taken
Leading off, Cash reached via an infield single to deep third. Nick Green was nicked by an inside pitch, putting two on with no out. Cash took third on Carl Crawford's fly ball out to right, as Mabry overthrew the cutoff man with an offline throw. Julio Lugo's single between Rolen and Eckstein scored the first run. Aubrey Huff's fly to the warning track in center moved Green to third. Jorge Cantu stroked an RBI single to right. Molina and Pujols easily picked Cantu off first base to end the jam. Rays 2-0.

Cards fourth – One back
Sanders drew a walk leading off. Rolen singled up the middle. Grudz ground into a force out. Despite being unmercifully heckled by one of the few Rays' fans in attendance, Seabol singled Rolen home. Mabry's double play grounder snuffed the rally. Rays 2-1.

Rays fourth – Lotsa runners, no runs
Travis Lee shot a ball past Rolen. It was his fifth error of the season. Rolen started what could have been a double play on Gomes, but Grudz made a high throw on the relay as Lee took him out. Gomes was erased on a fielders' choice by Reggie Taylor. Rolen's throw on Cash forced Taylor out at second.

Cards fifth – Lead taken away
Molina singled to center leading off. A passed ball and Eckstein's bunt moved him up to third. So's grounder to short handcuffed Lugo, allowing the run to score. It was generously scored a base hit. Pujols knew the minute he hit a 2-1 pitch that it was going out to right. It was Albert's 17th home run and 50th and 51st RBIs of the season. Cards 4-2.

Cards sixth – Bottom of order delivers
With one out, Seabol doubled down into the left field corner. Molina's two out single scored the run. The throw home didn't get Seabol, and Molina should have been out trying to take second, but Lugo missed the tag. Cards 5-2.

Rays sixth – So and Mo on the go
So made a nice running catch on the track to get the second out of the inning and also caught the third out. He led off the next inning at the plate, too. Morris has retired nine in a row.

Cards seventh – Not messing with Albert now
Hendrickson is still in there, but was more careful when it was too late. Albert took a four-pitch walk with one out, but was stranded.

Cards eighth – Heckler helping?
Seabol walked with one out. That heckler isn't getting the desired result. Perhaps he's giving Seabol additional motivation.

Rays eighth – Run wasted
With one out, Crawford tripled in the left field corner. Sanders didn't hustle fast enough as the speedy Crawford made it look easy. On a fly to medium center, So kept Crawford at third. Or should I say that Crawford help himself there. It cost them a run.

Rays ninth – Izzy shaky again
Morris departed after eight five-hit innings and 97 pitches. Izzy took over for his 20th save of the season. But, as often happens, it wasn't easy. Travis Lee singled with one out. Jonny Gomes doubled off the left center field wall, but that was it.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday @ Tampa Bay: Jeff Suppan vs. Doug Waechter 1:15 pm WB11
Monday @ Reds: Chris Carpenter vs. Aaron Harang 6:10 pm FSN Midwest/ESPN2
Tuesday @ Reds: Jason Marquis vs. Brandon Claussen 6:10 pm FSNM
Wednesday @ Reds: Mark Mulder vs. Ramon Ortiz 11:35 am WB11

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

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories