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

A pair of home runs and Mark Mulder's arm helped power the Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Wednesday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, taking a two games to one lead in the four-game midweek series. The Cardinals' record is now 61-33.

Mark Mulder bested Ben Sheets, who is a fine pitcher, but has failed to get run support all season long. That continued Wednesday night. Sheets fanned seven in six innings, but two home runs did him in. Mulder allowed just one run on five hits and three walks in seven innings in picking up his 11th win.

John Rodriguez had two hits, including his first major league home run. Albert Pujols hit his fourth home run since the All-Star Game, a two-run shot. David Eckstein had two hits, including a triple, and scored twice.

Izzy milestone
As Jason Isringhausen picked up his 27th save, it was his 128th as a Cardinal. He passed Bruce Sutter for third place on the team's all-time saves list, behind Lee Smith (160) and Todd Worrell, who is next at 129.

Dan rips Al
After having mentioned it several times before this season, Dan got all over Al for not yet having read Three Nights in August. Maybe it will come out in audio book form soon. I get the feeling Cliffs Notes is not an option.

Starters carrying team
Prior to Wednesday, Cardinals starters have allowed three runs or less in each of their last 12 starts (8-1, 1.79 ERA) and in 14 of the last 15.

Exhibit two
With a combined 53 wins this season, the Cardinals starting staff is the major league leader in wins by starting pitchers. The Chicago White Sox (46) and Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels (40 each) are next closest.

Job one
This season, coming into Wednesday, Cardinals starters have recorded 59 quality starts, ranking second in the National League behind Houston with 62.

33 on 33
Larry Walker tore down the Countdown Clock Wednesday night.

Wednesday's lineup
Eckstein, Rodriguez (lf), Pujols, Rolen, Walker, Nunez (2b), Diaz and Mulder. Scott Rolen played for a second day in a row. Jim Edmonds has a sore hamstring but felt good enough to play. Walker was a late substitution for Mabry in right.

On to the game…

Brewers first – Close to one
Rickie Weeks reached on a bloop double with one out and took third on a fielders' choice. He was left there.

Cards first – J-Rod goes deep
J-Rod slammed a pitch out to right for his first career home run, second RBI and first curtain call. Cards 1-0.

Brewers second – Two on
Bill Hall stroked a lead off double. Weeks drew a one-out walk. That was it.

Cards second - Runner left
Nunez singled with two out, but no more.

Brewers third – Weeks doubles again
With one out, Weeks doubled again, to left, but remained there.

Cards third – Albert again!
Eckstein singled up the middle with one out. After looking bad striking out the first time, Albert homered to left. It was his 26th home run and RBIs 76 and 77. Cards 3-0.

Brewers fourth – Don't tell Mulder he has a lead
Hall walked leading off the inning, but was erased on a nice 6-4-3 double play. J.J. Hardy homered two pitches later. Cards 3-1.

Cards fourth – Good sta…never mind
Leading off, Walker reached on a wild pitch on a strikeout. Rolen doubled him up, though.

Cards fifth - Almost
Hall drew an error on a ball hit by Diaz leading off. Mulder was unable to bunt him over and took Diaz' place at first base. J-Rod singled with two down, but Albert flied out.

Brewers seventh – Another jam
With one out, the usher down the third base line picked up a ball in play. Hardy was given a ground rule double. He moved up on out #1. With two outs, Helms walked, but Mulder escaped by fanning Clark.

Brewers eighth – Tavarez shaky again
Julian Tavarez took over. Weeks singled and Overbay slapped a ground rule double. After Carlos Lee lined out, Hall's sac fly brought Weeks in. Chad Magruder fanned for the third out. After 11 scoreless outings in a row, Tavarez has allowed runs the last two nights. Cards 3-2.

Cards eighth – Got some breathing room back
Against Dana Eveland, Eckstein shot a ball into right that bounced off the side railing and went over Magruder's head. He ended up at third with a triple. Albert was intentionally passed with one out. Edmonds' single scored the run. But, Walker ground into a double play. Cards 4-2.

Brewers ninth – Rarely in order
Jason Isringhausen made his first appearance since Saturday. Geoff Jenkins singled with one out and took second uncontested. Branyan fanned for the second out before a pop-up ended it.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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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