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

Mark Mulder pitched the Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 3-1 score Monday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 3-1 score at PNC Park Monday night. The Cardinals' best record in baseball is now 79-46 as they took the first of the four-game midweek series and the first of the four-city, 13-game road trip, their longest of the season.

Mark Mulder opposed Josh Fogg and won his 15th game of the season against only six losses. Mulder tossed a three-hitter over eight innings, allowing just one run. Jason Isringhausen had a quiet ninth for his 33rd save. The fielding was again a bit shaky, with two errors plus a mental mistake by So Taguchi that was fortunately turned into a double play.

The Cards' offense slapped a dozen hits, eleven of which were singles. But, they couldn't string them together more than a couple at a time, stranding ten on the night. Yet, the ‘Birds did scratch out three runs. Abraham Nunez and Larry Walker each had three hits, while David Eckstein and Hector Luna each had a pair.

Monday's lineup
Eckstein, Walker, Pujols, Edmonds, Nunez (3b), Taguchi (lf), Luna (2b), Molina and Mulder.

On to the game…

Cards first – Good start, but coulda' been better
Eckstein led off with a single and moved to third on a Walker double. After Albert popped up, Edmonds was intentionally walked. Nunez made them pay as his RBI single reloaded the bases. However, the promising frame dried up as So fanned swinging and Luna ground into a fielders' choice. Cards 1-0,

Bucs first – No affect
Larry Walker made two defensive signature plays on Freddy Sanchez and Jason Bay. Guess he is feeling better.

Cards second – Another aborted takeoff
Mulder singled with one out. A hit-and-run single to right by Eckstein put runners at the corners. But, Walker quickly ground into an inning-ending double play.

Bucs second – Doubled up
Nunez committed a fielding error on the first hitter, Brad Eldred. But, he was vindicated as Ryan Doumit started the first twin-killing of the night for the Cards' defense.

Cards third – Fogg fogs himself
Edmonds drew a one-out walk. Nunez reached on a swinging bunt that got past the mound. So's bloop hit to left opened the door for a hustling Nunez to take third as Edmonds sauntered home. So hit a chopper to Fogg, who faked a throw to second, then to home and ended up eating the ball as Luna was given a single and RBI. Molina ground into a double play as Luna creamed the second baseman, Jose Castillo, on his slide. Castillo was helped off the field and had to leave the game. Cards 3-0.

Bucs third – So strange
Michael Restovich singled past Luna for the first Bucs' safety of the night. Jack Wilson also singled. Fogg sacrificed them up. On a fly to left, So caught the ball, but thought it was the third out. The runner tagged up and scored as So woke up. His relay caught Wilson at the plate for the third out. Cards 3-1,

Cards fourth – Nope
Walker singled to right with two out, but was stranded.

Bucs fourth – Stranded
Chris Duffy walked leading off and moved up on a ground out. He was the first Pirates runner of the evening stranded.

Cards fifth – More left on base
Nunez and Luna singled with one out. They became the seventh and eighth Cardinals baserunners stranded so far.

Bucs fifth – Two Bucs on
Restovich led off with another single. Wilson changed places with him on a fielders' choice. Pinch-hitter Tike Redman walked. They were stranded.

Cards sixth – Ten stranded
Walker singled with two out and took third on a Pujols ball smoked past first. Eldred took the hard luck error. Edmonds fled out on the next pitch.

Bucs eighth – Quiet period ended
Wilson reached as a result of an Eckstein throwing error. He was advanced to second on a Daryle Ward out, but that was it.

Bucs ninth – Izzy time
Jason Isringhausen retired the Pirates 1-2-3 for his 33rd save of the season. He fanned Doumit swinging to put an exclamation point on the night.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Tuesday @ Pittsburgh: Jason Marquis vs. Zach Duke 7:05pm FSNM
Wednesday @ Pittsburgh: Chris Carpenter vs. Kip Wells 7:05pm FSNM
Thursday @ Pittsburgh: Matt Morris vs. David Williams 7:05pm FSNM
Friday @ Washington: Jeff Suppan vs. Estaban Loaiza 7:05pm FSNM
Saturday @ Washington: Mark Mulder vs. Ryan Drese 1:15pm Big Fox
Sunday @ Washington: Jason Marquis vs. Tony Armas, Jr. 1:05pm WB11

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


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