Walton's Game Observations – Monday – Cards 11-4

Albert Pujols led the Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 11-4 Monday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 11-4 Monday night at Busch Stadium to take the first of the four-game midweek series. In the process, the Cardinals upped their record to 60-32 – a season-best 28 games over .500. The Cards maintained their 12-1/2 game lead over the Cubs.

Matt Morris opposed Victor Santos. It was no match as Morris collected his 11th win of the season against just two losses. He was needed to only go five innings, as the Cards were up by seven at that time. Morris wasn't all that sharp, allowing eight hits and a walk, but only two runs. Brad Thompson added two perfect innings out of the pen.

The offense banged out 14 hits. Albert Pujols led the way with a single, double and a home run. He also walked, drove in two and scored four. Jim Edmonds also scored four, on two hits and two walks in four at-bats. Mark Grudzielanek had three singles and three RBI while Abraham Nunez had a single and a double and also brought three home.

Hungo's party line busy
When Joe asked Dan about what he thought the Cards would add by the trade deadline. Al mouthed Jocketty's line that the team needs to do nothing. That is expected, but then Hungo went too far, blabbing on about how important it is to "not disrupt team chemistry". I guess Al said that before Walker and Rolen and McGwire were added, too…

Birthday wish
Former Cardinals catcher/third baseman/manager Joe Torre turned 65 today.

Monday's lineup
Eckstein, Rodriguez (lf), Pujols, Edmonds, Walker, Grudzielanek, Nunez (3b), Mahoney, Morris. Rookie John Rodriguez made his first-ever major league start. Mike Mahoney got his third consecutive assignment in relief of the injured Yadier Molina. Abraham Nunez took Scott Rolen's spot at third base.

On to the game…

Cards first – Stepping on their throats early
Albert drew a two-out walk. Edmonds rocketed a single to center to put runners on the corners. Walker singled past the first base bag and hustled into second. The throw eluded the second baseman and the cutoff man, so Edmonds also cruised home. Walker took third. Cards 2-0.

Brewers second – Lead lost in two pitches
Carlos Lee reached on a bouncer outside of third. Nunez made a nice play from foul ground and the throw almost beat Lee to the bag. Geoff Jenkins homered to center on the next pitch. Damian Miller and J.J. Hardy singled. Rodriguez made a nice running catch in left for the third out. Tie 2-2.

Cards second – Morris hits
Morris slapped a two-out single up the middle. It was his fourth safety of the season. It was all wasted as he was stranded.

Brewers third – Bullet dodged
Nunez took a hard-luck error on a bouncing throw to first that handcuffed Albert. Overbay reached as a result. He took third on a double by Lee into the left field corner. Jenkins took an intentional pass to load the bases with one out. Eckstein started a double play that saved Morris' bacon.

Cards third – Cracking it open
With one out, Pujols singled and Edmonds walked. Walker's RBI single put runners at the corners. Grudz drove in another on a single. Abraham Nunez brought them both home with a double to right. Cards 6-2.

Brewers fourth – Runner on
Hardy singled with one out and was sacrificed to second. That was it.

Cards fourth – New victim identified
Wes Obermueller replaced Santos. It didn't matter. Rodriguez collected his first-ever major league hit with one out past Rickie Weeks at second. He wasn't on the bases long as he came home ahead of Albert, who homered to center. Edmonds singled and took second on Weeks' error on Walker. Edmonds scored on a Grudz single. Cards 9-2.

Brewers fifth – More wasted baserunners
Overbay and Lee singled with one out, but Morris fanned the next two hitters to escape again. They were his last batters faced, though he was allowed to hit.

Cards sixth – Two more
Albert led off with a double and Edmonds was walked as a result. Bad idea. After Taguchi moved them up, Grudz plated Albert with a single. Nunez collected another RBI as Edmonds scored on his single. Cards 11-2.

Brewers seventh – Brad is good
Brad Thompson retired the Brewers in order for the second consecutive inning.

Brewers eighth - Why bother?
Wes Helms reached on an error by Hector Luna. Bill Hall walked off Randy Flores with one out. Helms scored on a two out single by Hardy. The run is unearned. Cards 11-3.

Brewers ninth - Monster mash
With one out, Weeks hammered a Cal Eldred offering one section over (deeper) from Big Mac land. What a shot! Cards 11-4.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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
Friday vs. Cubs: Chris Carpenter vs. Carlos Zambrano 7:10pm FSNM
Saturday vs. Cubs: Matt Morris vs. Jerome Williams 2:15pm Big FOX
Sunday vs. Cubs: Jeff Suppan vs. Mark Prior 7:05pm ESPN

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

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