Walton's Game Observations – Tuesday – Cards 3-1

Chris Carpenter led the Cardinals over the Florida Marlins 3-1 Tuesday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Florida Marlins 3-1 at Busch Stadium Tuesday night. The Cardinals' record is now 67-39 as they tied the four-game midweek series at one game each.

Two All-Star pitchers, Chris Carpenter and Dontrelle Willis, squared off. After struggling in the first, Carpenter settled down and mowed the Marlins down one after another. The three-hitter was Carpenter's fifth complete game of the season and 16th win.

The Cards made their five hits count as the margin for error was small. John Gall had the big hit, a two-run double that may have been catchable. Albert Pujols also doubled and scored twice. Jim Edmonds had an RBI.

Tuesday's lineup
Eckstein, Taguchi (rf), Pujols, Edmonds, Grudzielanek, Gall (lf), Nunez, Mahoney and Carpenter. John Gall replaced J-Rod in the lineup. Einar Diaz' mugshot was last seen on the side of a milk carton. His days as a Cardinal seem to be numbered.

On to the game…

Marlins first – Rough start
Speedy Juan Pierre stroked a double, then moved up on one sacrifice and scored on another by Jeff Conine. Miguel Cabrera walked but was stranded. Marlins 1-0.

Cards first – Double ouch
On two consecutive pitches, Eckstein and Taguchi were hit. After Pujols and Edmonds failed to do anything, Grudz walked to load the bases. Gall popped out. The Cards missed a golden opportunity to get on the board.

Cards second – #8 does his job
Mahoney walked with one out, but neither Carp nor Eckstein could move him up.

Marlins third – Harmless single
Luis Castillo singled with two out.

Cards third – Gall comes through this time
On a Pujols one-out bouncer to at third, Mike Lowell didn't square up on the ball. As it bounced off his glove and rolled away, Pujols scooted into second base. Edmonds left him there, but Grudz walked again. Gall has another chance with runners in scoring position. He shot a ball to right that looked catchable, but it got by Juan Encarnacion for a double. Gall took third as Grudz' slide just beat the throw home. Cards 2-1.

Marlins fifth – Albert bests Dontrelle
Pujols made a fine stop on a shot by Willis, who is a good-hitting pitcher, and beat him in a race to the bag for the third out.

Cards fifth – Carp's insurance
On an inside pitch, Pujols doubled into the left field corner. A wild pitch moved him up and Jim Edmonds' single scored the run. Cards 3-1.

Cards seventh – Couldn't piece it together
In his second inning of work, reliever Valerio de los Santos got into trouble. Eckstein walked, then So singled. Albert hurt matters by grounding into a double play as Eck too third. Reliever Ron Villone came in and dusted Edmonds off on a pitch up and in. The latter took exception with it, but the pitcher won this confrontation on a lazy fly ball.

Marlins seventh – Nothing to say
Carpenter has retired 16 Marlins in a row. He is dominating.

Marlins eighth – Streak broken
Alex Gonzalez was hit by a pitch with one out.

Cards eighth – Fireworks erupt, but no runs
Grudz singled leading off. J-Rod was hit in the hands by another up and in Villone pitch. La Russa stormed out, arguing with first baseman Jeff Conine, catcher Paul LoDuca and the umpires. He did get his way, as a warning was apparently issued. Nunez moved the runners up. Mahoney was given an intentional pass to load the bases. Carp stepped in with the bases loaded and just one out. Carp missed a squeeze bunt, but was called out as he apparently accidentally screened LoDuca off the plate so that Grudz could scored. Carp was called out and the runners returned to their bases. Grudz would have been out if he had been tagged out and Carp would have been put on first. It didn't matter, as Eckstein was retired to end the inning.

Marlins ninth – Carp finishes them off
Conine singled with one out. The Marlins hadn't had a hit since the third inning and they didn't get another this night as Carp finished with a three-hitter.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Wednesday vs. Marlins: Matt Morris vs. Josh Beckett 7:10pm FSNM
Thursday vs. Marlins: Jeff Suppan vs. A.J. Burnett 7:10pm FSNM
Friday vs. Braves: Mark Mulder vs. John Smoltz 7:10pm FSNM
Saturday vs. Braves: Jason Marquis vs. Tim Hudson 12:15pm Big Fox
Sunday vs. Braves: Chris Carpenter vs. Jorge Sosa 1:15pm KPLR

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

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