Walton's Game Observations – Friday – Cards 5-4

On Mike Matheny's return, the Cardinals staged a tremendous comeback to defeat the San Francisco Giants by a 5-4 score Friday night.

With a five-run ninth inning, the St. Louis Cardinals came back in dramatic fashion to defeat the San Francisco Giants by a 5-4 score Friday night. The Cardinals' record is now 77-45 as they won the first of the three-game weekend series.

Chris Carpenter faced Brad Hennessey. Neither figured in the decision, though Hennessey outpitched Carpenter on the night. Carpenter was charged with four runs, three earned in eight-plus innings. The Cardinals came back to win against the shaky Giants' bullpen in the bottom of the ninth. Julian Tavarez got the win.

Yadier Molina had three hits, including a three-run home run and Jim Edmonds had a pair of hits, highlighted by the two-run double that ended the game.

Friday's lineup – Sliding over
Eckstein, Nunez, Pujols, Edmonds, Grudzielanek, Mabry (rf), Taguchi (lf), Molina and Carpenter. Grudz returned after a night off, as Nunez slid back to third, Mabry to right and Taguchi to left. John Rodriguez sat.

On to the game…

Giants first – 1-2-3
Carp fanned the first two hitters of the game. Looking good!

Cards second – Great chance; terrible result
Edmonds doubled into the Cardinals' bullpen leading off. Grudz singled sharply to center, but Edmonds had to stop at third out of respect for centerfielder Randy Winn's arm. First and third with no out. Then, the bottom half of the lineup failed miserably. Mabry whiffed swinging, followed by Taguchi grounding into an inning-ending 4-6-3 twin killing. Where's Mahoney?

Giants third – Fans say thanks
Mike Matheny received an extended standing ovation when coming to the plate. Hennessey singled for the first Giants' hit of the night.

Cards third – Another RISP stranded
Molina led off with a single. Carpenter erased him in a fielders' choice, but did get up the line fast enough to avoid a double play. On the next pitch, he and Eckstein executed a hit-and-run that moved Carp into scoring position with two out. That was it, though.

Giants fourth – Doubled up again
Omar Vizquel reached via a leadoff bunt single to third. He was ultimately erased in an inning-ending double play off the bat of Moises Alou.

Cards fourth – Pen up for a different reason
Pujols fanned looking on a pitch that looked to be strike three. He argued with home plate umpire Larry Young about it. Pujols had a point, not about that pitch, but about lack of Young's consistency in calling pitches. Grudz bounced a ball into the Cards' bullpen for a two-out double taken the other way. Cal's boys in the pen had better be alert this evening.

Cards fifth – More RISP remain
So coaxed a leadoff walk. Molina reached as Vizquel's throw from short went awry. Carpenter ground into a double play as So moved up. But, Eckstein was retired to end it.

Giants sixth – Vizquel and Halley's Comet
Sadly, I was right as a 3-1 offering with two down ended up in the Cards' pen off the bat of light-hitting shortstop Omar Vizquel. It was his 69th career home run in 8250 at-bats. Giants 1-0.

Cards sixth – Big boys can't do it
Pujols drew a four-pitch walk leading off. He took out Vizquel on an Edmonds grounder, forcing a wild throw that allowed Edmonds to reach base. That was it.

Giants seventh – Middle infield muscles up
With one out, Ray Durham hammered a 2-2 pitch deep into the seats inside the right field foul pole for another Giants' solo homer. Giants 2-0.

Cards seventh – Getting late
After going 3-0, Mabry lined out to second. Molina singled with two out. Carp couldn't do anything.

Giants eighth – Enough of this guy
Hennessey singled to left with one out.

Cards eighth – Hennessey, Cards rally halted
Nunez' one-out walk caused Hennessey to be pulled from the game. LaTroy Hawkins seemed to have Pujols struck out, but this time the pitch was called a ball. Albert singled on the next pitch. Scott Eyre was the next pitcher and retired Edmonds on a fly ball. Eyre was pulled for closer Tyler Walker. He got Grudz on a grounder.

Giants ninth – Hole twice as deep
J.T. Snow and Moises Alou singled leading off. Durham hit the third consecutive single; this one went up the middle and scored Snow. Carpenter was pulled for Julian Tavarez. A grounder up the middle by Pedro Feliz almost caused Eck and Grudz to collide. Grudz got the force, but was shaken up on a hard slide by Durham. Grudz throw went far over Pujols' head as the runner moved up and one more scored. Matheny walked and took second on a passed ball. Giants 4-0.

Cards ninth – Comeback complete
Mabry started it right with a double off the wall. Taguchi singled. As Molina hit, Izzy began to warm up. As the Giants' broadcasters were talking about Molina being an easy out, he slammed a three-run homer. J-Rod pinch hit for Tavarez and singled to center. Walker was pulled, having gotten no outs in the inning. Hector Luna pinch ran. Jeremy Accardo took over and allowed a single to Eckstein. Runners at the corners with one out for Pujols, who popped out on a full-count offering. Former Cardinal lefty Jason Christiansen came in to face Edmonds. One pitch later, the Cards were winners. Edmonds slammed a ball off the right field wall that outfielder Michael Tucker looked to be able to catch. It would have been a tough play, but good thing for the Cards he missed it. The double was the game-winner. Cards 5-4.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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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