Walton's Game Notes / Interviews – Fri. – Nats 4-1

The Cardinals fell to the Washington Nationals by a 4-1 score Friday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by the Washington Nationals by a 4-1 score in front of 37,885 fans at RFK Stadium Friday night. The Cardinals' best record in baseball is now 81-48 as they lost the first game of the three-game weekend series.

Jeff Suppan opposed Estaban Loaiza. Soup was not dominating, going six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. Loaiza outpitched Suppan, allowing just three hits and a run in seven-plus innings. David Eckstein had a single and a double and So Taguchi collected the only RBI. The Cards' two through five hitters went hitless on the night.

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

On to the game…

Cards first – Fizzled out
Eckstein shot a single down the line. Walker drew a five-pitch free pass. Eckstein moved up on a Pujols fly just short of the warning track in right center. An Edmonds liner doubled Walker off first to end what started as a promising inning.

Nats first – Shaky start for Soup
Brad Wilkerson led off the frame with a homer to right on a 1-1 pitch. Nick Johnson followed with a double past first base. Jose Guillen walked. A 5-3 double play ending with a nice scoop by Nats 1-0.

Cards second – One on
Taguchi walked with one out. Molina forced him at second base. That was it.

Cards third – Another chance
Eckstein slapped a one-out double to right. He was stranded as Walker's shattered bat flew farther than the ball it hit.

Nats third – Not a threat
Wilkerson drew a one-out walk.

Nats fourth – A real threat
Guillen reached on a dribbler down the first base line that veered fair at the last second. Suppan or Pujols should have scooped it up. Preston Wilson doubled to right center, putting two in scoring position with no out. Brian Schneider shot a ball off Pujols' outstretched glove for an RBI single. Another double play enabled the Cards some breathing roon as Wilson took third. Cristian Guzman, the weak-hitting #8 man, walked. That backfired big-time as Loaiza shot an RBI single up the middle. Wilkerson walked to load the bases before the third out was finally made. Nats 3-0.

Nats fifth – More pain
Guillen slammed a ball to dead center. Edmonds leapt up high to bring the ball down, but it hit off his glove. Guillen ended up at third with a triple and scored on Wilson's sac fly. Nats 4-0.

Nats sixth – Picked off
Vinny Castilla singled leading off. That got Ray King up in the pen. After a couple of strikeouts, Wilkerson drew a two-out walk, but Molina picked him off first.

Cards seventh – Ice finally broken
Edmonds drew a leadoff walk for the first Cards baserunner since the third. At this point, Loaiza is working on a two-hit shutout. Edmonds took second on a ground out. So's RBI single scored Edmonds as strangely, the crowd booed. Nats 4-1.

Nats seventh – King ok
Ray King came in to pitch and retired his men 1-2-3.

Cards eighth – Last threat
Joey Eischen was brought in to replace Loaiza after John Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk. He was pinch-hitting for King. A wild pitch moved him up to second. He didn't score.

Cards ninth – Closer closes
Chad Cordero closed out the Cards in order.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday @ Washington: Mark Mulder vs. Matt White 1:15pm Big Fox
Sunday @ Washington: Jason Marquis vs. Tony Armas, Jr. 1:05pm WB11

Post-game interview – La Russa

Post-game interview – Suppan

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

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