Walton's Game Observations – Wednesday – Cards 2-1

The Cardinals won a close 2-1 contest over the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 Wednesday evening in their third consecutive win during the four-game midweek series. The Cardinals' overall record is 24 games over .500 for the first time this season at 54-30. The Astros remain 12-1/2 games back in the NL Central with the Cubs 13 out.

All-Star Chris Carpenter opposed former All-Star Javier Vazquez. Each pitched very well, allowing just three hits each. But, Vazquez lost out on a double by Yadier Molina, a Abraham Nunez sacrifice and a David Eckstein suicide squeeze play.

Jim Edmonds homered in the first and singled in the seventh. They were the only Redbird hits until the ninth. Carpenter earned his 13th win and Jason Isringhausen earned his 23rd save of the year and 200th of his career. Izzy collected the final out with the potential winning run on first base.

Stoney is
"Dave Duncan caught himself when he was a player," former Cubbies color man Steve Stone said during the broadcast. Interesting. Very interesting, indeed. That could explain a lot of things.

Carp is the man, says Phillips
ESPN analyst and former and Mets GM Steve Phillips said after the game that Chris Carpenter deserves to start the All-Star Game.

Wednesday's lineup – "A Team" back
Eckstein, Edmonds, Pujols, Walker, Rolen, Sanders, Grudzielanek, Molina and Carpenter. La Russa is clearly putting his best behind Carpenter in hopes the team can take the series and Carp can perhaps justify an All-Star start. If my recollection is correct, this is only the second time they've all been on the field together since the start of May.

On to the game…

Cards first – On top again
With one out, Edmonds parked a ball to right center over the gimmick swimming pool beyond the outfield. It was estimated at 428 feet. As an aside, I am really glad I am watching ESPN instead of Al and Dan kidding Jim Hayes about wearing a Speedo. That is just plain wrong. Speaking of…the dome was closed in the BOB again Wednesday night due to the 110-degree temperature outside. Cards 1-0.

D'Backs first – Two freebies
Craig Counsell worked an opening walk. Alex Cintron's liner was dropped by Grudz, but he composed himself in time to throw to Eckstein to nab Counsell at second. Troy Glaus drew a two-out walk. That was it.

D'Backs fourth – No-no gone
Glaus doubled into the left field corner with one out for the first Arizona hit of the night.

D'Backs sixth – Game tied
Cintron homered with one out, just inside the right field foul pole. Tie 1-1.

Cards seventh - Yuck
Edmonds led off with a single, but Albert hit into a 5-4-3. Edmonds was slow getting up. Walker was retired quickly as the meat of the order made three outs in five pitches.

D'Backs eighth – A baserunner
With one out and none on, Vazquez was allowed to hit. Counsell singled with two outs. Cintron ground out to end their hope quickly.

Cards ninth – Small ball over all
Molina led off with a double into the corner. So pinch-ran. Abraham Nunez pinch-hit for Carpenter. His only job was to bunt and he came through perfectly as So took third. A squeeze bunt by David Eckstein was so superb that So touched the plate before the ball was even fielded. Cards 2-1.

D'Backs ninth – Izzy time exciting
Jason Isringhausen took over. He walked Glaus with one out. Royce Clayton pinch-ran. Izzy then fanned Shawn Green looking. Tony Clark slapped a first-pitch single to right, puttng runners on the corners. Duncan came to the mound before Izzy got Jose Cruz on a fly to Walker for the 27th out.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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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