Jeff Suppan took on Jason Vargas. They each lasted five innings. The reason for the former was a 30 minute rain delay and ineffectiveness for the latter. Suppan collected win #13 on the season, allowing just three hits. The Cards bullpen was shaky, as Brad Thompson and Al Reyes allowed five runs, four earned.
The offense banged out 15 hits, as each of the position starters had at least one. Hector Luna lacked just a single to complete the cycle. He drove in three and scored three times. Albert Pujols had a pair of doubles and a triple of his own. David Eckstein had a home run among his three hits. He also plated three.
Flores is out
As the roster was balanced for the playoff from to 14 position players from 13, a pitcher was dropped. Lefty reliever Randy Flores was tabbed, but an injury between now and October, real or imagined, will allow a later roster change. However, that change would have to be for a player at the same position.
Mahoney is in
As was expected, catcher Mike Mahoney was recalled. However, it was a few days earlier than thought. As a result, he is lined up to be on the playoff roster.
Eckstein, Taguchi (cf), Pujols, Molina, Grudzielanek, Seabol (lf), Luna (rf), Nunez and Suppan.
On to the game…
Cards first – Good and bad
In a steady rain, So singled with one out. Albert fanned again, his fifth time in just three games. Molina reached via an error by Carlos Delgado at first, but Grudz' fly ball ended it.
Cards second – Two Ks
Luna joined the whiff parade.
Fish second – No help
Carlos Delgado drew a leadoff walk. No one could even move him up.
Cards third – What got into Eckstein?
With one out, Eckstein homered inside the left field four pole and collected his 51st RBI of the season in the process. Albert hit a shot to left, which Cabrera dropped up against the wall for a double. It was Pujols' first hit of the series. Molina hit the next pitch and stretched it into an RBI double. Pujols NL-best runs scored count is now up to 108. Cards 2-0.
Fish third – Speed almost kills
Pierre singled to left with two out. Molina tried to pick him off and misfired over Pujols at first. Pierre ended up in scoring position. Pujols beat Castillo to the bag for the third out.
Cards fourth – Speed does kill
Luna tripled on a ball dropped down the right field line. He almost overslid third, but was safe. Nunez hit a first-pitch single up the middle for the RBI. Suppan sacrificed him up. Cards 3-0.
Cards fifth – Luna plates two
Albert tripled into the right center gap, scoring So Taguchi, who had singled, for his 100th RBI of the season. Lotsa booing ensued, considering the few in the stands. Molina's fly ball to left scored Albert. Seabol singled and scored on a ball hit deep into the left field seats by Luna. Cards 7-0.
Fish fifth – Raining
After two pitches and a bunch of rain, the game was stopped. The tarp was brought onto the field. After a rain delay of 30 minutes, play resumed as Suppan walked Alex Gonzalez with one out. He was forced out at second, but the relay to first was late. Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris dropped a single to left, putting runners at the corners.
Cards sixth – Close, but far
After Jason Marquis pinch hit and was retired on a broken bat grounder, Eckstein singled up the middle. Albert lost an RBI as his ground rule double bounced out and back in near the left field four pole. Molina couldn't get them in.
Fish sixth – No problem
Brad Thompson took over and allowed a one-out single to Delgado. He moved up to second on a ball that Pujols knocked down. The third out was soon collected.
Cards seventh – More pushing
Grudz singled, Mabry walked and Luna's double scored one. Eckstein's single scored both as he took second on the throw. Cards 10-0.
Fish seventh – Four on one
Lowell led off with walk. Then Gonzalez guided a single past Eckstein. Grudz dropped an Eckstein toss, losing both the force and the double play. As a result, Matt Treanor was safe and the bases were loaded. Thompson was relieved by Al Reyes, who was greeted by rookie Jeremy Hermida with a grand slam in his first career at-bat. He was just called up yesterday. Cards 10-4.
Cards eighth – Albert Ks again
Pujols fanned for the second time on the evening and sixth time in two days.
Fish eighth – Slipping away?
With one out, Juan Encarnacion homered to left. Damian Easley just missed a homer to left, as his ball bounced off the top of the scoreboard for a double. After Treanor walked and Hermida coming up, La Russa removed his dark glasses to make a pitching change to Ray King. Jeff Conine pinch hit. King fanned him. Cards 10-5.
Fish ninth – Izzy gets work
With one out and no one on base, Jason Isringhausen was called on to pitch. With two down, Chris Aguila doubled off Nunez' glove at third, as the ball went down the left field line. He was stranded as Izzy fanned Delgado to end it.
Upcoming action (times CDT)
Thursday: Open date
Friday @ Astros: Mark Mulder(?) vs. Ezequiel Astacio 7:05pm FSNM
Saturday @ Astros: Chris Carpenter vs. Roger Clemens 6:05pm WB11
Sunday @ Astros: Jason Marquis(?) vs. Wandy Rodriguez 2:05pm WB11
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.