Walton's Game Observations – Tuesday – Cubs 5-2

The Cardinals lost to the Chicago Cubs by a 5-2 score Tuesday evening.

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by the Chicago Cubs by a 5-2 score at Busch Stadium Tuesday evening. The Cardinals' best record in baseball is now 88-51 as the three-game midweek series is tied at one game apiece.

Struggling righthander Matt Morris took on struggling lefty Glendon Rusch. All Rusch did was take a perfect game into the seventh, while Morris couldn't get out of the fifth. The loss dropped Morris' season record to 14-7.

The Cardinals' offense was even sleepier than Morris, collecting just five hits and a walk. Needless to say, that won't be enough to win more than a few games a season. Not this night. David Eckstein had two singles. Hector Luna had a double and a RBI. Rookie John Gall collected the other run batted in.

Tuesday's lineup – Against the lefty
Eckstein, Edmonds, Pujols, Molina, Grudzielanek, Taguchi (lf), Nunez, Luna (rf) and Morris.

Carp honored
Chris Carpenter was named National League Pitcher of the Week by MLB Tuesday. He went 2-0 last week with a 1.62 ERA against a pair of playoff contenders, Florida and Houston.

Lloyd gets more than one game
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon was sacked by the Bucs with 26 games remaining and the team 32 games out of first place and was replaced on an interim basis by Pete Mackanin. I wonder when McClendon has to serve his suspension for the Duncan altercation.

On to the game…

Cubs first – Digging a hole
Leadoff man Jerry Hairston slapped a first-pitch double off the left field wall. Neifi Perez was bunting, about which Joe Buck was critical. It was refreshing to hear. Hairston moved over on a sacrifice and scored on a Derrek Lee single. Jeromy Burnitz walked. Nomar Garciaparra followed with an RBI single of his own. Cubs 2-0.

Cubs third – Lee doing his best
With one out, Lee celebrated his 30th birthday with a solo homer to deepest center. Burnitz reached on an infield single as he and Morris reached the first base bag at the same time. Todd Walker singled. Cubs 3-0.

Cubs fourth – Sleepwalking
Hairston doubled with two outs, but was almost nailed by So and Grudz. Luna took an error as a Perez ball bounced off his glove. A double turned into a run-scoring triple thusly. Hard to make J-Rod look like an improvement on defense, but Luna is doing it. Cubs 4-0.

Cubs fifth – No more for Mo
Burnitz singled leading off. After Nomar flied out, Morris was pulled after 94 unimpressive pitches. He was replaced by Randy Flores, who got the final two outs, stranding Burnitz.

Cards fifth – Futility
Rusch is pitching a perfect game.

Cubs sixth – Piling on
Corey Patterson hit a leadoff home run to right off Flores. Perez singled with two out off Brad Thompson, but that was it. Cubs 5-0.

Cards seventh – Finally!
Eckstein led off the inning with a single, representing the first Cardinal baserunner of the evening. His hit streak is now a season-high eleven games. That lasted just a few pitches as Edmonds ground into a double play. Pujols drew a walk.

Cubs eighth – Johnson's first appearance
Michael Barrett led off with a single, ending Thompson's night. Tyler Johnson replaced him, making his big-league debut. Johnson's first hitter was walked, the #8 man, Patterson, but he ended up inducing an inning-ended double play.

Cards eighth – On the board
Nunez singled off Rusch's leg for a single with two out. Luna shot a ball to right center. His double broke up the shutout. John Gall's single past second base scored Luna. That knocked out Rusch. Pinch runner Skip Schumaker stole second base. Eckstein singled to second base, as the Cubs changed pitchers again. Cubs 5-2.

Cubs ninth – No more
Cal Eldred did his job.

Cards ninth – Last chance
Closer Ryan Dempster closed out the Cards. Mabry did single, but was forced out to end the game.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Wednesday vs. Cubs: Mark Mulder vs. Greg Maddux 7:10pm FSNM
Thursday vs. Mets: Chris Carpenter vs. Victor Zambrano 7:10pm FSNM
Friday vs. Mets: Jason Marquis vs. Kris Benson 7:10pm FSNM
Saturday vs. Mets: Jeff Suppan vs. Jae Seo 6:15pm WB11
Sunday vs. Mets: Matt Morris vs. Steve Trachsel 1:15pm WB11

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

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