Walton's Game Observations – Wednesday – Cards 5-0

Mark Mulder and the Cardinals shut out the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 5-0 score Wednesday night.

Winning two straight to start a six-game homestand, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 5-0 score Wednesday night. The Cardinals' record is now 76-44 and their NL Central lead is up to 12 games again.

Mark Mulder faced Brandon Webb. Mulder spun a complete-game shutout, his second of the season, allowing just five hits and two walks while striking out four. Mulder improved his record to 14-6. He was assisted by a Cardinals defense that turned three double plays.

John Mabry was the center of offensive action, with a double and a two-run home run, scoring twice. He also stranded four other runners. David Eckstein, So Taguchi and Mulder each had a pair of hits. Jim Edmonds doubled and walked twice.

Wednesday's lineup
Eckstein, Nunez, Pujols, Edmonds, Mabry (rf), Grudzielanek, Taguchi (lf), Diaz and Mulder.

On to the game…

D'backs first – One on and two out
Alex Cintron reached on a one-out infield single that bounced off Nunez and deflected to Eckstein. A 3-6-3 double play ended it.

Cards first – First RISP
Pujols doubled off the left field wall with two outs. He was stranded.

D'backs second – Double double
Troy Glaus singled leading off, but was retired via a Conor Jackson 5-4-3 twin killing.

Cards second – Error leads to run
Mabry led off with a first-pitch single that he legged into a double – barely. The throw was ahead, but he just slid under the tag. Grudz continued to press, dropping down a bunt that the second baseman threw away. Mabry scored. So caused the lead runner to be erased on a fielders' choice. Diaz played the role of Mahoney, grounding into an inning-ending double play. Cards 1-0.

D'backs third – Couple stranded
Chris Snyder walked with one out. With two out Royce Clayton reached on an infield single. That was it.

D'backs fourth – Pickin' and grinnin'
Glaus walked with one down, but was picked off to end the inning.

Cards fourth – Mabes mashes one
Edmonds doubled with one out. Al pointed out that extra base hits are a good way to avoid double plays. Thanks for that. Mabry homered just into the visitors' bullpen. So beat out an infield single to deep short. So has a ten-game hitting streak. Diaz ended it. Cards 3-0.

Cards fifth – More doubling up
Mulder singled leading off. A hit and run with Eckstein put two on. Pujols hit into an inning ending double play.

Cards sixth – Good start, no end
Edmonds walked with one out, but was doubled up by Mabry.

D'backs seventh – Yet another
Luis Gonzalez and Glaus each singled leading off. Another double play put Gonzo at third. Grudz stood in there and made a tough turn. Pujols scooped the throw out, too.

Cards seventh – Insurance
Taguchi doubled leading off. Diaz didn't move him over, but Mulder singled him home as Luis Terrero bobbled the ball in center. Eckstein singled off the first baseman's glove to put runners on the corners. Nunez squeezed the run home, but was thrown out at first. A good trade-off, even when Pujols was subsequently intentionally walked. Arizona changed pitchers. Ex-Yankee castoff Buddy Groom walked Edmonds to jam the sacks. Mabry whiffed to end it. Cards 5-0.

D'backs ninth – 1-2-3
Mulder finished off his complete-game gem in style.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Thursday vs. D'Backs: Jason Marquis vs. Claudio Vargas 7:10pm FSNM/ESPN
Friday vs. Giants: Chris Carpenter vs. Brad Hennessey 7:10pm FSMW
Saturday vs. Giants: Matt Morris vs. Kevin Correia 12:20pm Big Fox
Sunday vs. Giants: Jeff Suppan vs. Jason Schmidt 1:15pm WB11

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

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