Walton's Game Observations – Thurs. – Brewers 12-7

The Cardinals phoned in a 12-7 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday afternoon.

Acting as if they were the getaway team Thursday instead of Milwaukee, the St. Louis Cardinals again fell to the Brewers 12-7 in a lackluster showing Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium. The Brewers were practically given a split in the four-game midweek series as the Cardinals' record dropped to 61-34.

Jason Marquis faced Chris Capuano. Marquis was ineffective, but he got little help from a lineup featuring only three real starters. The porous defense showed itself as only three of Marquis' seven runs allowed were earned. Brad Thompson was kept in too long, tiring in his third inning of work, letting the game get totally away.

Albert Pujols had three hits, including a double. Mike Mahoney plated three. Hector Luna had two hits, including a two-run RBI double.

Happy Birthday, Hungo
Al Hrabosky is absolutely 56 years old Thursday!

Birds don't like daylight
The Cardinals have a .529 winning percentage this season in their 34 day starts (18-16) versus a night-time mark of .717 (43-17). The offense is batting .263 in the day versus a .274 average at night. Of those in Thursday's lineup, Rolen is the only player with a better day average (.300) than night (.203).

Dan needs religious sensitivity training
During the fourth, Dan pointed out a group of men in dress shirts and ties, despite the sweltering heat, wondering who they were and why they were dressed in that manner. Al pointed out that they may be missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, given the promotions at the ballpark this day. Instead of just shutting up, Dan asked Al if he had gone up to talk with them before the game. This time, being conservative by nature served Al very well. He simply said, "no". Making a bad situation worse, Dan kept right on going, asking twice if Al didn't want to take them to his Ballpark Saloon. Again, Al simply said "no". Very embarrassing.

Tinkering for a reason?
Much was made of the Cards aligning their rotation for the Cubs series, as well as resting position players during this Milwaukee series, despite the fact that the All-Star break was only ten days ago. As a result, the Cards gave up two of the four games in this series. Unless the Cards win at least two of three with the Cubs, all the experimenting and tinkering will have to be considered a failure.

Thursday's lineup – Three real starters, five bench guys and Marquis
Nunez (ss), Taguchi (cf), Pujols, Rolen, Grudzielanek, Luna (rf), Rodriguez (lf), Mahoney and Marquis. The Memphis outfield of J-Rod, Taguchi and Luna made its second appearance in three games. In addition to Edmonds and Walker, Eckstein also rested, though he pinch-hit when the game was out of hand.

On to the game…

Brewers first – Shaky start for Cards
Weeks doubled, but turned it into a triple when Grudz mishandled the relay. Rolen tried to come home on Overbay's ball. Weeks slid under the tag, as Rolen's throw was high. His error allowed Overbay to take second base. Carlos Lee's single scored Overbay. A 4-6-3 ended it. Both runs were unearned. Brewers 2-0.

Cards first – Albert on it
Albert shot a ball off the bottom of the left field wall and coasted into second with a double as the ball got past Lee. No one could get him home, though.

Brewers second – Another best friend for Marquis
Damian Miller and Russell Branyan singled leading off. The former was on an 0-2 pitch and the latter was on a 1-2. After J.J. Hardy popped out, Marquis escaped via another double play, this one started via a nice play by Rolen.

Brewers third – Nunez trying too hard?
Nunez made a low throw to Albert and was charged with an error on Brady Clark. Clark moved up to third on an out by Weeks. Nunez tried to go home on a high chopper that had no chance, allowing Overbay to reach. Jenkins singled home another. One more unearned run. Brewers 4-0.

Cards third – No clutch hitting
Mahoney was hit by a pitch and was balked to second. Three outs later, he was still there.

Brewers fourth – More slop
Hardy doubled over Rodriguez' head with one out. Capuano singled the run home. Brewers 5-0.

Cards fourth – Finally, some life
Albert led off with a single. After Rolen fanned, Grudz walked. Luna flied out. This time, the lower guys in the order came through with two down. J-Rod walked to load the bases. Mahoney singled two home and Marquis helped his own cause with an RBI single of his own. Brewers 5-3.

Brewers fifth – What momentum?
Back into trouble. Overbay singled leading off and Lee walked on four pitches. Duncan came out as Brad Thompson warmed up. Jenkins singled Overbay home to end Marquis' day. Still no out. Thompson induced a 6-4-3 as the run scored. As Hungo was bragging about Thompson's home ERA, Branyan took a low pitch, way, way out. His 458 foot home run ball hit off the video scoreboard. Brewers 8-3.

Cards fifth – Too little?
So started with a ground rule double. Albert singled him home. Brewers 8-4.

Brewers sixth – No more damage
Weeks walked with two outs, but hooray, he didn't score.

Cards sixth – Another chance missed
J-Rod singled. Thompson couldn't bunt, so he swung away. His pop fly dropped between Weeks and Jenkins for an error charged to the second baseman. A Nunez grounder forced Thompson at second, even though the shortstop was some distance from the bag. So's fly ball ended it.

Brewers seventh – Thompson wilts in third inning of work
Thompson walked Jenkins leading off. Miller doubled to put two runs in scoring position. A force out for the second out scored Jenkins. The pitcher, Wise, singled home another. Another hit, another run. Randy Flores came in. He hit Weeks with a pitch to load the bases. Brewers 10-4.

Brewers eighth – More damage
Jenkins homered again off Flores. Brewers 12-4.

Cards eighth – One isn't enough; eight would barely be
Luna doubled leading off and took third on a ground out. A Trent Durrington error at third put Luna home and Mahoney at first. Brewers 12-5.

Brewers ninth - King mops up
Ray King allowed only a walk in four batters. This is noteworthy in that it is the first time in his last six outings that he did not allow at least one hit.

Cards ninth – Some life, but..
So reached on a Durrington error, but was promptly erased via a Diaz-started double play. Mabry singled to extend the agony. Durrington, the focus of a "Cardinals Tonight" pre-game story prior to the game, committed his third error of the game and second of the inning. Grudz reached as a result. Luna doubled, scoring two. Brewers 12-7.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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
Monday: Off day

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

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