Walton's Game Observations – Saturday – Cards 4-2

The Cardinals came back again to defeat the Houston Astros 4-2 Saturday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Houston Astros 4-2 Saturday afternoon to clinch a win in the three-game weekend series. In the process, the Cardinals upped their record to 58-32 – a season-best 26 games over .500.

Jason Marquis defeated All-Star Roy Oswalt. Marquis' sinker was working as he allowed two runs on six hits and two walks and threw a very efficient 98 pitches in eight innings. Oswalt had only one bad frame, but the Cards got to him for all four runs in the fifth inning. Jason Isringhausen earned his 26th save.

Larry Walker was the hitting star, with a three-run home run among his two hits. He also walked. Albert Pujols had two hits, including a double, and a walk. He also scored.

Yadi to DL?
Rick Horton suggested Yadier Molina may need to go onto the disabled list after having missed five games now.

Saturday's lineup
Eckstein, Edmonds, Pujols, Walker, Rolen, Mabry (lf), Grudzielanek, Mahoney, Marquis. Reggie Sanders was out after his rib injury suffered Friday.

On to the game…

Astros first – Marquis taken deep again
With two out, trouble ensued. Lance Berkman walked and Morgan Ensberg brought him home with a home run to left. Jason Lane followed with a double, but Marquis managed to get the final out. Astros 2-0.

Cards second – Two one
Walker took a lead-off free pass. With two down, Grudz singled to put two runners on, but Mahoney popped out.

Astros third – More trouble averted
Craig Biggio doubled with one out to left center and Berkman drew a free pass. This time, Marquis got Ensberg, as he ground into an inning-ending double play started by a nice Rolen pickup.

Cards third – Good chance missed
Eckstein singled with one down. One out later, Albert doubled into the left field corner, but Eckstein was only able to advance to third. Walker's ground out ended the inning.

Cards fourth – A little help
Grudz singled again and took second as Ensberg's throw to first was wild. That was it, though, as Mahoney ended another inning.

Astros fifth – Double ouch
Oswalt was hit on his non-pitching hand with one down. Not that I am counting, but the Cards are ahead in weekend opponent hit-by-pitches 2-0.

Cards fifth – Larry does in Roy
Marquis slammed a ground rule double to center as Willy Taveras got spun around trying to track it. Eckstein bunted Marquis up and he scored on an Edmonds single to right on a 3-1 count. Albert singled to put runners on the corners before Walker cleared the bases with a huge home run to right on a full-count breaking ball that didn't. Of course, there was a curtain call. I didn't even care that Rolen and Mabry fanned afterward. Wonder if Oswalt's hand was bothering him, though… Cards 4-2.

Astros sixth – Harmless hit
Berkman singled to center leading off, but he was kept right there in a nice job by Marquis. Great to see him excel after getting the lead.

Astros seventh – No more Roy
Chris Burke led off with a single, but was promptly erased in a double play. Even better yet, Oswalt was removed for a pinch-hitter.

Cards seventh – Two-out chance not converted
Against reliever Mike Burns, Albert walked with two out and Walker's single put runners on the corners for Rolen, who whiffed swinging.

Astros eighth – One hit
Berkman singled with two out, but it didn't matter.

Astros ninth - Izzy time
Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth and retired the first two hitters before an Albert error put a runner on base. Izzy buckled down and collected the third out on a groundout to end the game.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday vs. Houston: Chris Carpenter vs. Roger Clemens 1:15pm KPLR
Monday vs. Brewers: Matt Morris vs. Victor Santos 7:10pm FSNM
Tuesday vs. Brewers: Jeff Suppan vs. Doug Davis 7:10pm FSNM
Wednesday vs. Brewers: Mark Mulder vs. Ben Sheets 7:10pm FSNM
Thursday vs. Brewers: Jason Marquis vs. Chris Capuano 2:10pm FSNM

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

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