Walton's Game Observations – Tuesday – Cards 5-4

For the second night in a row, the Cardinals were outhit, but won in the ninth as they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 5-4 mark Tuesday evening.

The St. Louis Cardinals prevailed over the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 5-4 score at Busch Stadium Tuesday night. The Cardinals' best record in baseball is now 93-53 as they won the first two of the three-game midweek series. They reached 40 games over .500 for the first time this season.

Chris Carpenter was to face Josh Fogg, but Fogg was pulled from the rotation in favor of recent call-up, rookie prospect Ian Snell. Carpenter cruised into the seventh, but after four straight hits, he was pulled with one out. His eleven hits allowed are a season-worst. The pen couldn't hold the lead as Carp lost out on his chance for win #22. Brad Thompson earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief.

Jim Edmonds had a two run home run and Yadier Molina added a solo shot on a night that the offense mustered just five hits until the ninth. They swung the bats plenty, though, striking out eleven times against a staff that is less than stellar. However, for the second night in a row, they won in the bottom of the ninth. This time, Hector Luna singled and stole second as David Eckstein delivered the game-winning single.

TINSTAPP revisited
Courtesy of friend Billy Ball, check out this factoid. "Of the 53 different 20-game winners since 1985, (Dontrelle) Willis is one of just five to be traded before reaching the majors. Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Jon Lieber and John Smoltz are the others." Either there truly is no such thing as a pitching prospect or teams know when they have future greats and keep them at all costs.

Red Sox legitimize scalping
The Bostonians have opened up a small new seating section in centerfield area of the majors' smallest stadium, Fenway Park. Because they are so benevolent, the Sox are offering the new seats in the "Nation's Nest" to the highest bidder. I mean to the highest bidder who paid to join the Red Sox Nation, that is. Sox ticket auctions

Tuesday's lineup
Eckstein, Nunez, Edmonds, Walker, Sanders, Mabry (1b), Molina, Luna (2b) and Carpenter. Mark Grudzielanek missed his seventh straight game due to back injury. Larry Walker returned after sitting out two games. Albert Pujols did not start for the second night in a row due to a sore upper right leg.

On to the game…

Cards first – Out on top
Eckstein drew a leadoff walk. With two down, Edmonds put a ball into the seats in left center. The fact that Snell fanned the side is irrelevant. Cards 2-0.

Bucs second – First runner
Rookie catcher Ryan Doumit singled with two out.

Cards second – Lead doubled
With one out, Molina homered on an 0-2 count for his fourth home run of the season against the Pirates and his eighth over all. Luna followed with a single. Carpentere swung away and almost got a ball between the center and right fielders. Eckstein singled to right to put runners on the corners. Nunez reached on an error on a ball that the first baseman Eldred should have stopped. Edmonds was walked to load the bases. Cards 4-0.

Bucs third – Another hit
Freddy Sanchez singled with two outs. It is quite possible that the Cards will accumulate more runs than the Pirates will get hits.

Bucs fourth – No more shutout
With two out, Doumit hit a home run, only the 16th allowed by Carpenter this season, after giving up 24 last year. Eldred followed with a single. That was it, though. Cards 4-1.

Cards fourth – Still more losses than hits
Carp singled with one out. It was his third safety of the season.

Bucs sixth – Threat, but no runs
With a decent lead, Sanders sat for Taguchi defensively. Craig Wilson blooped a single into right. Wilson was wisely held at third on a Doumit double into the right field corner as a Walker to Luna to Molina relay was perfect. That was all.

Bucs seventh – Carp loses win
J.J. Furmaniak collected his first major league hit, a double that Edmonds made a diving attempt at, but just couldn't quite hold on. Furmaniak slowed, apparently thinking the ball was caught and almost didn't make it to second base. Ty Wigginton plated the run with a pinch hit single. Sanchez collected another hit, the tenth of the night. Time to call on the pen, Tony, but no one had been up throwing. Bay singled Wigginton home. Tyler Johnson's third game ever is a tough assignment with two on and one out. A bloop single by Jack Wilson caused Sanchez to stop at third until Walker dropped the ball twice. As the run scored, Carp's win evaporated. Surprisingly, Walker was not charged with an error, meaning the run charged to Carpenter was earned. Al Reyes came in to pitch next and walked Craig Wilson to load the bases before escaping. Tie 4-4.

Bucs eighth – A minor threat
Brad Thompson took over. Furmaniak hit a ball off Nunez' glove at third. It looked catchable and was scored an error. Didn't matter as he was stranded.

Cards eighth – Three K victims
Mike Gonzalez pitching. Pujols led off and fanned, hitting for Edmonds. Scott Seabol was next and took a called strike three. So whiffed, too.

Bucs ninth – Twin Wilson killing
Jack Wilson singled off Thompson with one out, but he was doubled up by Craig Wilson.

Cards ninth – Two out winning rally
With two out, Luna threaded a single up the middle. John Rodriguez pinch hit and was intentionally walked after Luna swiped second base. Eckstein's single to short right ended the game. Cards 5-4.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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
Saturday @ Cubs: Mark Mulder vs. Greg Maddux 12:15pm Big Fox
Sunday @ Cubs: Chris Carpenter vs. Carlos Zambrano 1:20pm WB11

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

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