Walton's Game Observations – Tuesday – Cards 7-1

Albert Pujols led the Cardinals over the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1 Tuesday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1 Tuesday evening in the second win during the four-game midweek series. The Cardinals' overall record is 23 games over .500 for the first time this season at 53-30. The Cubs and Astros are 12-1/2 games back in the NL Central.

Jeff Suppan took on Shawn Estes. Suppan delivered 5-1/3 efficient innings, allowing one run on five hits and three walks. Five bullpen pitchers combined for 3-2/3, three-hit shutout innings.

Albert Pujols led the way with three hits, including a home run and a double, scoring three times. Along with Albert, So Taguchi and Reggie Sanders each knocked in a pair.

Sanders family night
Dan and Al were in a disagreement about whether Reggie Sanders' family, including four daughters, were traveling with the team or had come to the game from their Phoenix area home. Either way, they were shown on camera multiple times.

King family night
Al and Dan noted that Ray King's family, local residents, were also at the game Tuesday night.

Jocketty family night
Finally, the FSN Midwest cameras also pointed out Walt Jocketty and his family in the stands. Just as could be expected, Walt had his cell phone affixed to his right ear.

Check the facts
"Just a triple short of the cycle", says Dan about Albert's performance Tuesday. While true, it is a ridiculous comment that Dan and many of his peers often make. The fact is that Pujols has just nine triples in 2680 career at-bats, making the odds slightly better than three in one thousand that it will actually occur. Personally, I like my chances of winning Powerball better than hoping to see that.

Tuesday's lineup – Sanders back
Eckstein, Edmonds, Pujols, Sanders, Rolen, Grudzielanek, Taguchi (rf), Molina and Suppan. Reggie Sanders returned after three games out with an ankle sprain while So Taguchi stepped in for Larry Walker.

On to the game…

Cards first – Albert gets it out of the way
With one out, Edmonds was hit by a pitch. (Glaus was hit by a pitch in the fifth on Monday. Coincidence?) Albert cashed in via an RBI double to right and alertly took third on the throw. That enabled Sanders to bring him home on a ground out. Pujols' hit streak is now 17 games. Cards 2-0.

D'Backs second – Rally stopped
Troy Glaus singled leading off. With one out, Jose Cruz joined him on the bases. Suppan retired the next two, including the final, Chris Snyder, swinging.

D'Backs third – On the board
The pitcher, Estes, shot a ball to left center. Sanders mistimed his leap and missed the ball. Estes ended up at third and scored on a sac fly to center by Counsell. Suppan made Tracy dance on a ball at his legs. Cards 2-1.

Cards fourth - More and more and more
Albert singled to left leading off and scored on a double far up the center field wall by Sanders. Rolen sliced an RBI double to right. Grudz advanced Rolen to third. So dropped a broken-bat bloop into no-mans land between short and left that scored Rolen. So stole second and moved up on a fly to right. That was it. Cards 5-1.

D'Backs fourth – Two on
Glaus led off with a single. Cruz singled with two down. Soup kept them there.

Cards fifth – Line-up top goes under
Eckstein walked but was erased in a Pujols inning-ending double play.

D'Backs fifth – Five left so far
Craig Counsell walked with one out and ended up being their fifth runner stranded.

D'Backs sixth – Reyes gives a lift
Glaus walked leading off and Green followed with a single past Suppan and Grudz. Glaus moved up with one out. They were stranded when Al Reyes collected the final two outs. The hook on Suppan was quick, but I like the move, as La Russa sticks with his starters too long at times. The bullpen has already gotten two of the 11 outs they need to end the game with a "W".

Cards seventh – So goes deep
So Taguchi led off with his fifth home run of the season. Pinch-hitter Hector Luna showed a flash of what could be when he tripled to right. He was stranded, though. Cards 6-1.

D'Backs seventh
Cal Eldred allowed a Craig Counsell single with two out. He was pulled for Ray King, who allowed an 0-2 hit by Chad Tracy.

Cards eighth – Take that, Derrek Lee
Albert led off with a opposite-field home run to right. Boy, there are a lot of cheering Cardinals fans in the BOB. Pujols passed Derrek Lee in RBI with 69. Cards 7-1.

D'Backs eighth – Tavarez knows his role
Cruz doubled to deep into the rightfield corner with two outs against Julian Tavarez. He was kept right there.

Cards ninth – Still swinging
Eckstein doubled off the wall with two outs, but didn't come home.

D'Backs ninth – Don't try this at home
Jason Isringhausen needed some work and got it. With one out, he speared Alex Cintron's bouncer barehanded and threw him out at first.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Wednesday @ Diamondbacks: Chris Carpenter vs. Javier Vazquez 9:10pm FSNM/ESPN2
Thursday @ Diamondbacks: Jason Marquis vs. Claudio Vargas 8:40pm FSNM
Friday @ Giants: Mark Mulder vs. Jason Schmidt 9:15pm FSNM
Saturday @ Giants: Matt Morris vs. Kirk Rueter 3:05pm Big FOX
Sunday @ Giants: Jeff Suppan vs. Noah Lowry 7:05pm ESPN
Monday: Off day
Tuesday: All-Star Game
Wednesday: Off day
Thursday: Off day

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

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