Walton's Game Observations – Friday – Cubs 4-1

The Cardinals were again defeated by the Chicago Cubs by a 4-1 score Friday afternoon.

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by the Chicago Cubs by a 4-1 score at Wrigley Field Friday afternoon. The Cardinals' record is now 73-43 as they lost the first two of the four-game weekend series.

Jason Marquis and Carlos Zambrano were locked in a tight 1-0 duel until the Cubs broke through for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. Marquis allowed ten hits, walked three and fanned two. The Cubs added another in the eighth against Randy Flores. With the loss, Marquis' record is now 9-11.

No matter how good of a batter your pitcher is, when he leads your team in hits, chances are you are going to lose. Such was the case Friday as Marquis had two of the Cardinals' ten hits. Actually, he and Albert Pujols both had a single and a double, but the rest of the guys didn't help much. John Rodriguez had a pair of singles but was picked off second and made a throw to the wrong base.

Monge on Trent
A short interview with New Jersey pitching coach Sid Monge about closer Matt Trent at SportsBlurb.

Friday's lineup
Eckstein, Nunez, Pujols, Edmonds, Rodriguez (lf), Grudzielanek, Taguchi (rf), Mahoney and Marquis. With Marquis in the lineup, confirmed outmaker Mahoney should hit ninth.

On to the game…

Cards second – J-Rod sloppy on bases again
With one out, John Rodriguez dropped a bloop single into left, representing the first baserunner for either team on the day. On a hit-and-run, Grudz grounded out, as J-Rod moved up. He was picked off for the third out.

Cubs second – Two-out damage
Michael Barrett doubled to right with two down for the Cubs' first hit and first runner in scoring position. Neifi Perez singled to right. Taguchi's throw home was up the line as Barrett slid in safely. Perez had to stay at first. Cubs 1-0.

Cards third – Great chance missed
So slapped a long single off the ivy in left. Matt Lawton made a quick throw, holding So at first. Mahoney was up to sacrifice. He failed again, bunting right to Zambrano, who wheeled and easily nailed Taguchi at second. Marquis doubled inside the left field line as Mahoney took third. Eckstein uncharacteristically went after the first pitch, hitting a ball to third. Mahoney was caught in a run-down as Marquis was able to take third.

Cubs third – In and out of trouble
Lawton singled and Todd Walker walked with one out. Marquis did a nice job on Derrek Lee, inducing him to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Cards fourth – Nothing bad
J-Rod slapped a low and away pitch to left for a two-out single. At least he didn't get picked off.

Cubs fourth – Their catcher can hit
Barrett doubled to left with two outs. He was stranded.

Cards fifth – Marquis and defense doing the job
Zambrano and Lawton singled with one out. Fortunately, Lee didn't get to hit as Marquis induced another inning-ending twin killing.

Cubs fifth – Carlos off the ropes
Zambrano may be having some problems with his back, as Dusty Baker came out to check on him. Pujols followed with a one-out double and Edmonds walked. But, the Cards could not break through.

Cubs sixth – Close shave
Lee led off with a double. Ramirez walked. The runners moved up as Burnitz' fly ball went to the track in left and J-Rod threw to third instead of second. Nunez threw home on a Barrett grounder to third and forced Lee out at the place. A walk to Perez loaded the bases. They were stranded as Patterson lined out to left.

Cards seventh – Different hurler, same results
Roberto Novoa took over on the mound for Zambrano. He continued to retire the Redbirds' hitters.

Cubs seventh – Lead extended
Walker singled to right with two outs and scored on a double into the left field corner by Lee. Ramirez' single scored Lee. The fact that he was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double is small consolation. That ended Marquis' day about three batters too late. I fear La Russa is again trying too hard to get his starter a win. Cubs 3-0.

Cards eighth – Running out of time
Kerry Wood took over. Pujols singled with two outs. That was it.

Cubs eighth – More damage
Randy Flores pitched. Barrett homered. Perez singled and stole second as Patterson fanned. Julian Tavarez took the mound and hit pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra to put two on. Ray King collected the final out. Cubs 4-0.

Cards ninth – Two-out rally falls short
Closer Ryan Dempster came on to pitch. Diaz doubled with two out and scored as Skip Schumaker's easy fly ball dropped in front of a slip-sliding Jeromy Burnitz in right. Eckstein singled over short to put runners at the corners. Nunez represented the tying run, but weakly grounded out to short to seal the loss. Cubs 4-1.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday @ Cubs: Chris Carpenter vs. Jerome Williams 12:15pm Big Fox
Sunday @ Cubs: Matt Morris vs. Mark Prior 7:05pm ESPN
Monday: Off day

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

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