Walton's Game Notes/Interviews – Sat. – Cards 6-0

Behind emergency starter Jason Marquis, the Cardinals dominated the Washington Nationals Saturday afternoon, winning by a 6-0 score.

The St. Louis Cardinals soundly defeated the Washington Nationals by a 6-0 score at RFK Stadium in front of 44,254 fans Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals' best record in baseball is now 82-48 as they split the first two games of the three-game weekend series.

Jason Marquis got the emergency start over Mark Mulder, facing first-time call-up Matt White. Whatever happened to turn Marquis around worked as he spun a masterful two-hitter, breaking his seven-game losing streak in grand fashion. It was Marquis' first nine-inning stint ever. In fact, Marquis' only career complete game was a 8-1/3 inning loss against the Padres on July 27.

David Eckstein drove in three with a single and home run. So Taguchi had a big two-out, two-run single early on. Abraham Nunez singled, doubled, scored twice and flashed some leather, too.

No ex-Cards in D.C.
No members of the Nationals' 25-man roster, disabled list or coaching staff have ever played for the Cardinals. They don't know what they've missed.

There is one, sort of
The son of Cards Director of Player Development, Bruce Manno, Nick Manno, is the Nats' Assistant Director of Player Development.

History remade
Prior to Friday night, the last time Washington and St. Louis teams met in the Capital was on September 9, 1953. On that day, the Nationals (pre-Senators) split a double-header with the Browns.

Out of balance
Lefty Rick White, the replacement starter for the Nats on Saturday (for the injured Ryan Drese), is the first lefty for the Nats this entire season, here in game #129.

Saturday's lineup
Eckstein, Edmonds, Pujols, Molina, Taguchi (lf), Rodriguez (rf), Luna (2b), Nunez and Marquis. As I reported elsewhere, the #7 spot was held open waiting to see if Mark Grudzielanek was ready to play. He was not.

On to the game…

Cards first – Yadi pop
Albert drew a first out walk after Edmonds unhappily fanned. Molina hit a lazy pop behind second base for the third out.

Cards third – So fine
Nunez stroked a long single to the left center gap leading off and took second on a wild pitch with Eckstein up and one out. After some debate whether Eckstein swung at a pitch or was simply trying to get out of the way, he made it a moot point, by taking ball four. Edmonds was hit on the arm with the next pitch to load the bases with one out. The pitching coach came out for a visit. Pujols' sac fly scored the first run of the game as Eckstein took third. Molina walked to reload the bases. So slapped a single just over short to score two. Cards 3-0.

Nats third – A hit
#8 hitter Cristian Guzman collected the first Nats hit of the day with one out. White's sac bunt failed as Pujols wheeled and threw Guzman out at second. That was it.

Cards fourth – More fun
Nunez led off with a double down the left field line and took third on Marquis' out. Eckstein singled him home. Edmonds fanned again for the third out. Cards 4-0.

Nats sixth – Hit count doubled
Marlon Byrd, just recalled from the minors, stroked a pinch-hit single to left with two out.

Cards seventh – Eck muscles up again
Reliever Mike Stanton came in for Hector Carrasco. After Marquis shot a clean single to right, Eckstein put a ball over the fence inside the foul pole in left. Edmonds singled, but So's fielders' choice ended it. Cards 6-0.

Nats seventh – Flashing leather
Nunez made a nice pick and throw against Jose Guillen leading off.

Cards eighth – That's enough, anyway
Luna singled with one out. He was stranded.

Nats eighth – Ouch!
J-Rod hurt the back of his left foot, catching the second out of the inning in front of the 380 foot sign in right. Trainer Barry Weinberg came out to check, but J-Rod remained in the contest.

Cards ninth – Enough already
Pujols walked with two out.

Nats ninth – Complete game shutout
Marquis and Molina embraced as the final out was made.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday @ Washington: Mark Mulder vs. TBD (Tony Armas, Jr.?) 1:05pm WB11
Monday @ Marlins: Chris Carpenter vs. A.J. Burnett 6:05pm FSNM
Tuesday @ Marlins: Matt Morris vs. Ismael Valdez 6:05pm FSNM
Wednesday @ Marlins: Jeff Suppan vs. Jason Vargas 6:05pm FSNM
Friday @ Astros: Jason Marquis(?) vs. Roger Clemens 7:05pm FSNM
Saturday @ Astros: Mark Mulder(?) vs. Wandy Rodriguez 6:05pm WB11
Sunday @ Astros: Chris Carpenter vs. Ezequiel Astacio 2:05pm WB11 Thursday: Open date

Post-game interview – La Russa

Post-game interview – Eckstein

Post-game interview – Marquis

Post-game interview – Pujols

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

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