Jeff Suppan faced lefty Randy Keisler. In a very odd outing, Suppan fanned more batters, six, than hits allowed, four. Unfortunately, he also allowed more runs, five, than hits, too. Ray King struggled again in relief, allowing the losing run to score in the eighth.
Rolen in town
Dan and Al reported that Scott Rolen is in Cincinnati for a check-up with Dr. Tim Kremchek, who performed his second shoulder surgery of the season. Whether he will remain with the team the rest of the season is unknown.
Eckstein, Taguchi (cf), Pujols, Sanders, Grudzielanek, Gall (lf), Molina, Luna (3b) and Suppan. Larry Walker and Jim Edmonds were off for the third day and second game in a row. Edmonds has a sore right knee, though not thought to be serious, it may be a remnant of his collision at home back in the Washington series. With the lefty on the mound, all the hitters are right-handed. Reggie Sanders made his first appearance of the season in right field after appearing there 81 games last season, his first as a Cardinal.
On to the game…
Cards first – Walk
Pujols drew a two-out walk but was stranded.
Cards second – Good start
Grudz walked leading off. He moved to second on a ground out, but did not score.
Cards third – An injury and a five-spot
Suppan walked and moved into scoring position on an Eckstein single. So singled to load the bases for Pujols. Albert lined a ball of Keisler, who recovered in time to throw home for the forceout. Grudz lined a ball to short. Felipe Lopez threw wide to first. Backup catcher playing first baseman Javier Valentin got into the baseline trying to pull down the throw and Grudz collided with him and fell to the turf. He left the game with an apparent right ankle sprain that may not be too serious. So scored. Scott Seabol replaced Grudz at second. John Gall made the Reds pay with a three-run home run to right. Cards 5-2.
Reds third – Soup slapped
Ryan Freel singled leading off. Suppan nailed him with a pickoff throw that Albert missed. The ball got away, allowing Freel to be awarded second base. It was scored an error on Suppan, his first of the season. Lopez walked. Dunn hit a one-hopper off the wall, scoring two. Cards 5-4.
Cards fourth – RISP
Luna drew another leadoff walk for the Cards and was sacrificed to second. He didn't score.
Cards fifth – A runner
Pujols was robbed of a hit for the second time due to a diving stop by Freel at second. Scott Seabol singled with two down. He was stranded.
Reds fifth – Fit to be…
Pinch-hitter Aaron Holbert walked leading off and promptly stole his first career base. Tyler Johnson began to warm up. Holbert took third on a ground out. Dunn was intentionally walked to bring up Aurilia. Bad idea, as Aurilia collected a game-tying single. Tie 5-5.
Cards sixth – Close, but not
Luna walked again and took off for second. As pinch-hitter Chris Duncan fanned, the throw was wild, enabling Luna to move into third with two out. Eckstein also whiffed.
Reds seventh – Shabby defense costs game
With one out, Brad Thompson made a mistake, trying to outrun Lopez to first after snaring a comebacker. He tossed the ball to Pujols too late. As a result, he was pulled from the game. King hit Dunn with his first pitch as the lead run moved into scoring position. Aurilia singled to left, as Lopez slid into an out at the plate. He looked to be safe, but made a hands-first slide that was ruled to be too late. Gall's relay was handled by Molina, who tagged the runner for out two. Valentin singled. So's relay home was in time, but was high and bounced off a leaping Molina's glove. King was in the way, making Molina's job more difficult. King also wasn't backing up the play, so the runners moved up. To make matters worse, Dunn had missed the plate and had to come back to tag it. King should have had time to get the out, but didn't. Al Reyes had to get the final out. Reds 6-5.
Cards eighth – Good chance missed
Seabol singled leading off via a broken bat single to left. Molina reached on a broken bat single to right. Luna's double play ended the threat.
Cards ninth – Last chance
Walker singled off closer David Weathers with one out. Albert was retired for the final out, ending a frustrating 0-for-4 night.
Upcoming action (times CDT)
Wednesday @ Reds: Jason Marquis vs. Ramon Ortiz 6:10pm FSNM
Thursday @ Reds: Matt Morris vs. Brandon Claussen 6:10pm FSNM
Friday @ Brewers: Chris Carpenter vs. Wes Obermueller 7:05pm FSNM
Saturday @ Brewers: Mark Mulder vs. Chris Capuano 6:05pm WB11
Sunday @ Brewers: Jeff Suppan vs. Doug Davis 1:05pm WB11
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.