Walton's Game Observations – Saturday – Cards 4-2

The Cardinals defeated the New York Mets by 4-2 mark Saturday evening.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Mets by a 4-2 score at Busch Stadium Saturday evening. The Cardinals' best record in baseball is now 91-52 as they won the first three games of the four-game weekend series.

Jeff Suppan vs. Steve Trachsel. Suppan labored, throwing 97 pitches in 5-2/3 innings. He allowed just one run, though he walked four and gave up six hits while winning his 14th game of the season. A parade of six relievers followed, including Jason Isringhausen, who earned his 36 save of 2005. The Mets left 11 runners on base and it would have been worse had it not been for three double plays.

The offense made the best of only six hits. Suppan hit his first career home run. Jim Edmonds had a two-run shot. Albert Pujols had a single and a double and Larry Walker also had two hits.

Ten for ten for ten
To pull off #10 on the Busch Countdown Clock, Tony La Russa brought out his entire coaching staff along with Trainer Barry Weinberg and Equipment Manager Rip Rowan.

Saturday's lineup
Eckstein, Taguchi (lf), Pujols, Walker, Edmonds, Nunez (3b), Molina, Luna (2b) and Suppan. The only change from Friday was Walker and Edmonds swapping places in the order. Mark Grudzielanek missed his fourth straight game due to back injury. He received an injection to relieve disc pain and is not expected back until the upcoming week.

On to the game…

Mets first – Four outs needed
Carlos Beltran singled to left with two out. Molina missed a popup by Cliff Floyd as he overran it in front of the Mets dugout. Edmonds crashed into the wall to catch Floyd's shot to center for the third out.

Mets second – Mikey likes it
On his first at-bat after off the disabled list today, Mike Piazza homered. Mike Jacobs singled but was quickly erased in an inning-ending double play off the bat of Victor Diaz. Mets 1-0.

Cards second – Taking it back
Walker drew a free pass leading off and scored as Edmonds crushed a ball for his 26th home run and 79th and 80th RBIs of the season. Cards 2-1.

Mets third – Staying put
Jose Reyes singled with one down, but was stranded.

Cards third – Helping oneself
Leading off, Jeff Suppan blasted a pitch into the seats in right for his first career home run. With two down, Albert doubled into the left field corner and walked/limped into second base. Walker doubled and Albert painfully ran home, just avoiding the tag. Walker was thrown out trying to slip into third base. Cards 4-1.

Mets fourth – Big trouble averted
David Wright walked with one out. Piazza singled and Diaz walked with two outs. Trachsel popped up to end the bases-loaded threat.

Mets fifth – Giving it back?
Kaz Matsui hit a ground rule double to left with one out. Beltran walked, but Suppan got the final two outs with no more trouble.

Mets sixth – Both starters out on the same play
Suppan walked Jacobs with one out. On a turn at second on a potential double play, Luna had trouble with getting the ball out of his glove and then threw wild to first. The hitter, Diaz, was awarded second as the ball went out of play. La Russa pulled Suppan when the Mets announced a pinch-hitter for Trachsel. Randy Flores came in to face Jose Offerman and issued a walk. Exit Flores and enter Al Reyes, who induced a forceout to allow the Cards to escape again.

Cards sixth – Threat turned back
Albert drew a one out walk from former White Sox closer Shingo Takatsu. Walker singled to put runners on the corners. Tim Hamulack came in to get the third out.

Mets seventh – Another jam
Leading off against Reyes, Matsui doubled past first base as the ball rolled into the right field corner. After retiring Beltran on a fly ball, Reyes departed for Tyler Johnson. A dribbler between the mound and third by Cliff Floyd put runners on the corners. La Russa brought in Julian Tavarez. Still only one out until Tavarez induced the needed double play from David Wright.

Cards seventh – Nekked
Nunez shot a liner that undressed reliever Aaron Heilman, but somehow he held on.

Mets eighth – Beanball battles
Tavarez' first pitch hit Piazza square in the helmet. He left the game. La Russa was visibly angry. A 6-4-3 led to two outs quickly, but Diaz hit a line drive homer to left. A still-angry La Russa removed Tavarez for Ray King. La Russa and Tavarez had an animated argument in the dugout. Miguel Cairo singled to short center as a diving Edmonds just missed the shoestring catch before the third out was collected. Cards 4-2.

Cards eighth – Retaliation
Eckstein was hit by a Heilman pitch likely in retaliation for Piazza's concussion as both benches were warned. Albert singled with two out. Chris Duncan made his first major league appearance, pinch-hitting. He flied out to center to end the inning.

Mets ninth – Izzy time
Jason Isringhausen got the final three outs.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday vs. Mets: Matt Morris vs. Pedro Martinez 1:15pm WB11
Monday vs. Pittsburgh: Mark Mulder vs. Mark Redman 7:10pm FSMW
Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh: Chris Carpenter vs. Josh Fogg 7:10pm FSMW
Wednesday vs. Pittsburgh: Jason Marquis vs. Oliver Perez 2:10pm WB11
Thursday @ Cubs: Jeff Suppan vs. Mark Prior 7:05pm FSMW
Friday @ Cubs: Matt Morris vs. Glendon Rusch 2:20pm WB11

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

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