Walton's Game Observations – Wednesday – Cards 9-6

The Cardinals came back to defeat the Florida Marlins 9-6 Wednesday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals came back to defeat the Florida Marlins 9-6 at Busch Stadium Wednesday night. The Cardinals' record is now 68-39 as they lead two games to one in the four-game midweek series.

Matt Morris opposed Josh Beckett. Morris allowed three runs in the first two frames. He settled down after that and hung on until the Cards re-took the lead in the seventh. Though he allowed nine hits and two walks, Morris earned his 12th victory in the process and kept his impressive string alive of never having lost three starts in a row.

So Taguchi fueled the margin of victory with a three-run pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning. The little guys up the middle had a big night. Mark Grudzielanek had three hits and two runs scored, while David Eckstein had a single, double and a home run, scored three and drove in two. Overall, the offense had ten hits.

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Wednesday's lineup
Eckstein, Rodriguez (rf), Pujols, Edmonds, Gall (lf), Grudzielanek, Nunez, Mahoney and Morris. John Gall and J-Rod played in the lineup together the first time in St. Louis.

On to the game…

Marlins first – Another rough start
Speedy Juan Pierre stroked a single, then moved up on a double by Luis Castillo. While Rodriguez couldn't get to the ball, he fooled Pierre into stopping at third. Pierre scored on a grounder to first by Jeff Conine. With the infield in, Miguel Cabrera's single scored another run. La Russa is showing his lack of confidence in the offense. Paul Lo Duca's single put two on again. Two fly balls ended the bleeding. Marlins 2-0.

Cards first – Throw and catch
J-Rod reached safely on a throwing error by shortstop Damian Easley but was doubled up on Albert's liner to end the inning.

Marlins second – Another bomb
Easley homered leading off. Six homers allowed in last three starts plus two innings by Morris.Marlins 3-0.

Cards second –First hits, first run
Edmonds singled and turned it into a double as he ran on Pierre's weak arm. Grudz collected an RBI single. Marlins 3-1.

Cards third – Davey Longball
Eckstein homered over the left field wall with one out. He had made a nice, jumping play to retire Mike Lowell in the top of the frame. Marlins 3-2.

Marlins fifth – Doubled the gap
Castillo singled leading off. He moved up on a ground out and scored on a Lo Duca single. Marlins 4-2.

Cards sixth – Need some hits
Pujols walked with two outs, but Edmonds popped out.

Marlins seventh – Morris hanging in there
With two out, Conine doubled over Edmonds' head. He was stranded.

Cards seventh – TLR pushes right buttons as Cards bat around
Grudz singled with one out and Nunez drew a free pass. John Mabry pinch-hit for Mahoney. Last night's villain, Ron Villone, was brought in. Therefore, La Russa burned Mabry for pinch-hitter So Taguchi. The move worked as he slammed the first pitch he saw deep to left. Yes, there was a curtain call. Einar Diaz hit for Morris and made the second out. Eckstein and J-Rod singled to put runners at the corners for Pujols. Exit Villone. A wild pitch by Antonio Alfonseca on ball four allowed Eckstein to score, and both runners moved up. The Marlins put Edmonds on to load the bases for John Gall. But, Gall ended up making both the first and third outs of the inning. Cards 6-4.

Marlins eighth – Tavarez time
Julian Tavarez retired all three in order. Everything is now in order.

Cards eighth – Finishing them off
The leadoff man, Grudz, doubled past third. Nunez singled him home with a chopper up the middle. He moved up on a ground out and scored on a ball off the wall by Diaz, who came home on a bloop double by Eckstein. Cards 9-4.

Marlins ninth – Izzy gets save op back
With the big inning above, the Cards no longer had a save situation. Therefore, Jason Isringhausen was passed over in favor of keeping Tavarez in the game. After one out, Ray King came in. Edmonds assured his place on "This Week in Baseball" this week by making one of his patented diving catches in right center. Nunez made an error allowing Pierre to reach, and the slap-hitting Castillo went deep. The good news was that Izzy was warmed up and Eckstein ended the game on a nice, diving play. Cards 9-6.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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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