Walton's Game Observations –Sunday –Cards 7-5 (11)

The Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 in 11 innings Sunday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 in 11 innings and over four hours of play at Dodger Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals' record is now 66-38 as they won the three-game weekend series two games to one. They had a successful 4-2 road trip. With a Houston loss, the Cards' NL Central lead is 9.5 games.

Mark Mulder took on Odalis Perez. Mulder walked five and allowed five hits and could not make it out of the sixth. Still, he had a chance to win until Ray King blew the save as he gave up a damaging three-run home run in the eighth. Cal Eldred picked up the win with two shutout relief innings and Jason Isringhausen collected his 29th save on a day the staff allowed ten walks and just eight hits.

A man who had the day off, Jim Edmonds, came in late and drove in three runs on two extra-base hits, including the winning runs on a home run in the eleventh. Edmonds has three homers in the last four days. Mark Grudzielanek had two doubles and a home run and also drove in three. Abraham Nunez was on base four times, with pairs of walks and singles.

Carpenter and the power of the internet
On-air, Bob Carpenter asked Walt Jocketty if "internet chat room talk" about players who are trade prospects doesn't cause their perceived value to be escalated, making it more expensive to acquire them. Walt didn't tell Carpenter that was a dumb question, though he could have, but instead said it more just caused names to be out there publicly whose teams have no intention of trading them.

Sanders travels for a reason
Reggie Sanders joined the booth in the fifth. He shared a story that he asked La Russa and Jocketty if he could break team policy and travel with the team even though he is injured. Sanders wanted to provide veteran leadership and show the others that the injured veterans care. Another reason to admire Sanders as a ballplayer and a man.

Sunday's lineup – Pujols, Grudz and six other guys
Nunez (ss), Taguchi (cf), Pujols, Gall (lf), Grudzielanek, Rodriguez (rf), Luna (3b), Diaz and Mulder. Odd that Nunez didn't stay at third and Luna given a chance to play short. If I were the Dodgers, I'd walk Albert every time up.

On to the game…

Dodgers first – A walker
Mulder walked one batter, but it was inconsequential, as he fanned Milton Bradley and induced a popup by Jeff Kent.

Cards second – Another walker
John Rodriguez walked with two outs.

Cards third – First hit
Abraham Nunez dropped a two out, broken bat single into left, but So lined out to second base.

Dodgers third – Some help for the Birds
Jason Repko led off with a sharp single to left. He was sacrificed to second. Cesar Isturis shot a ball to right. The double scored the run, but the relay from J-Rod to Grudz to Luna, nailed Izturis trying to take third. Gall made a diving catch to end the inning on a ball coming at him even though the ball was at his waist. Hmmm. Dodgers 1-0.

Cards fourth – Grudz muscles up
Albert drew a lead off walk. Gall also was given one. Grudz shot a ball off the top of the short scoreboard wall in left. Cards 3-1.

Dodgers fifth – Error leads to a run
Jose Valentin led off with a single and Dioner Navarro walked. On a fly to right, Valentin tagged up. J-Rod's throw was mishandled by Nunez. As it bounced off Nunez, Valentin scored. J-Rod took the tough error, though the error really belonged to Nunez. Izturis reached via an infield single to Luna at third. With runners on the corners, Oscar Robles bounced out to end the inning. Cards 3-2.

Cards sixth – Promising start leads nowhere
Leading off, Albert singled to left. He never left there.

Dodgers sixth – Two-out trouble
Bradley, the leadoff man, walked. But, the Cards infield again turned a nice double play on Kent even there was a hit and run on. After Mulder walked Olmedo Saenz on a very high pitch, Duncan immediately came out for a mound discussion. Valentin followed with a single and Navarro walked. Antonio Perez was announced as a pinch-hitter for Jason Repko. Then Mulder was pulled in favor of Al Reyes. Ricky Ledee stepped in to hit for Perez. He fanned on ball four – a breaking ball that ended up low.

Cards seventh – JimEd helps out
Diaz singled with one out. Reyes came to bat just to sacrifice. He got it done. Pinch-hitter Jim Edmonds singled the run home. Cards 4-2.

Dodgers seventh – Reyes pitches another
The leadoff man walked again but didn't come even close to scoring.

Cards eighth – Squeezing out another run
Against reliever Steve Schmoll, Grudz led off with a double past third. J-Rod bunted him over and Luna pushed a perfect squeeze past the mound. Cards 5-2.

Dodgers eighth – King struggles big time
Julian Tavarez took over. Saenz smacked a line drive double into the left center gap. Ray King began to throw, and came in to get the final out with the runner at third. Navarro hit right handed and walked. The lefty Ledee came in and hit the first pitch he saw over the right field wall. So much for lefty-lefty advantage. Tie 5-5.

Cards ninth – Big guns can't deliver
Closer Yhency Brazoban took over. Nunez singled up the middle with one out. Edmonds drove a fly ball deep to the track in left center for the second out and Albert hit a pop fly to right.

Dodgers ninth – Eldred escapes own mess
Cal Eldred pitched. Izturis reached on a bunt single as Diaz threw high to first. Eldred and La Russa debated a pitch that they insisted hit the bat, but was called a ball. Keep your head in the game, Cal! He ended up walking the batter; then a sacrifice and a walk to Kent followed. But, a 6-4-3 saved Cal's and the Cardinals' bacon.

Cards tenth – Bases loaded with one out
Brazoban pitched a second frame. Grudz spanked a one-out double. It was one hopper off the wall in center. J-Rod was given an intentional free pass to set up the double play. Luna walked on four straight pitches to load the bases. Izzy is warming up for the third time as Eckstein came on deck. Neither will get their chance yet, as Diaz ground into an inning-ending double play.

Dodgers tenth – Cal cool
Ledee walked off Eldred with two out. That was the eighth walk of the day for the Cards. Cal then fanned the next two to finish strongly.

Cards eleventh – Edmonds excellent
Wilson Alvarez walked Nunez with one out. Edmonds jacked a full-count offering into the seats in left center. Cards 7-5.

Dodgers eleventh – Izzy time
Jason Isringhausen retired his three hitters in order. Pitcher Jeff Weaver had to hit because the Dodgers ran out of players. Too bad.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Monday vs. Marlins: Jason Marquis vs. Ismael Valdez 7:10pm FSNM/ESPN
Tuesday vs. Marlins: Chris Carpenter vs. Dontrelle Willis 7:10pm FSNM
Wednesday vs. Marlins: Matt Morris vs. Josh Beckett 7:10pm FSNM
Thursday vs. Marlins: Jeff Suppan vs. A.J. Burnett 7:10pm FSNM

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

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