Game Observations – Saturday – Cubs 3-2

On Saturday afternoon, the Cardinals lost their second consecutive game to the Cubs, this time by a 3-2 score.

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated the Chicago Cubs by a 3-2 score at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon. The Cubs have taken the first two games of the series, with the final game Sunday night.

Chris Carpenter held the Cubs scoreless through six, allowing just four hits and striking out nine. But, Josh Hancock served up a game-tying home run in the seventh while Derrek Lee hit the game-winner off Brad Thompson in the eighth. The offense managed just five hits, including two each by Skip Schumaker and John Rodriguez. With David Eckstein, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen a collective 0-for-15, it is a wonder the Cardinals were in the game until the end.

Edmonds ties Bonds' HR mark
Bobby, that is. With is 332nd career long ball Friday, Jim Edmonds tied Barry's dad Bobby for 81st place on the all-time list. Bobby Bonds played for the Cardinals one season, in 1980, near the end of his career.

Rollins not down long
The day after Jason Marquis and mates held him without a hit for the first time in 30 games, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins had three more against the Dodgers on Friday.

Unfriendly confines
There was some unhappiness that the hot water in the visitors' showers was exhausted quickly after game one. I am sure there will be some B.S. excuse offered for what is likely a bush league move by the hosts.

Duncan's run historic
Dave Duncan has been a major league pitching coach for 27 years, which is the second-longest of all-time. Only former Royals pitching coach Galen Cisco, at 28 years, served in a similar role longer.

The match-up
Chris Carpenter faced Carlos Zambrano.

The line-up
Eckstein, Rodriguez, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Schumaker, Molina, Miles and Carpenter. Yadier Molina returned after a day off and John Rodriguez was given his first start of the season as his shoulder is good enough to allow him to play defensively. Interestingly enough, Juan Encarnacion sat in favor of Skip Schumaker in right.

On to the game…

Cards first – RISP wasted
It was nice to see John Rodriguez back in there, as he spun a shot past third base for a double. Albert Pujols was booed as he stepped in to hit and drew a walk, as Zambrano pitched him carefully. As Jim Edmonds lined out to the track in center, Rodriguez took third. But, Scott Rolen also flied out to Juan Pierre.

Cubs first – Eventful
Aaron Miles ranged far to his left to snag Pierre's bouncer, but as he spun, his throw pulled Pujols off the bag. It was scored a single. A "run and hit" put Miles out of position as Derrek Lee's ball found a hole on the right side for a single. Runners on the corners with one out. As Carp fanned Aramis Ramirez (for what looked to be the second time), Molina's throw to second was a bit off line, but it still enabled Miles to tag a sliding Lee on the helmet. However, Lee was called safe. La Russa protested to no avail. Carp buckled down to fan Jacque Jones with two in scoring position.

Cards second – Good start goes bad
Schumaker took the first pitch of the inning to left field for a single. On a hit and run, Molina literally threw his bat at the ball and still missed it. Schumaker was out by a mile as he collided with shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Fortunately, neither was injured.

Cubs second – Rolen's frame
Rolen handled two bouncers and a liner for the three outs.

Cards third – Another baserunner
Rodriguez' two-out chopper bounced off the stretching Zambrano's glove. Todd Walker's throw from second pulled Lee's foot off the first base bag. But, Pujols ground into a fielders choice.

Cubs third – More danger, no damage
Walker drew a two-out namesake. Lee singled up the middle on a 2-2 count. Ramirez lined out to Rodriguez for the third out.

Cards fourth – E6
A two-out error by Cedeno on Schumaker's ball did not matter.

Cubs fourth – A Cubbie RISP
Jones again fanned swinging. Rolen made another nice play to retire Matt Murton before Cedeno doubled over the third base bag. Carp fanned Henry Blanco for the third out.

Cards fifth – Settling in
Zambrano fanned Miles and Carpenter.

Cubs fifth – Turnabout
Carp breezed through as he struck out Zambrano and Walker. The latter was called.

Cards sixth – Two errors lead to two unearned runs
J-Rod whiffed and Albert ground out. Edmonds drew a two-out walk. He broke from first, as Zambrano threw the ball toward first. Lee didn't look to be ready to receive the throw, as the ball eluded his glove. Edmonds ended up at third via a steal and an error on Lee. Rolen hit a slow roller up the middle. Cedeno fielded it and threw wide of first. Lee tried to tag Rolen's foot, but just missed. Edmonds scored on the second error of the inning as Dusty Baker protested this time. Skip Schumaker worked a full count and fouled off another before walking. Zambrano looks to be losing his composure, so Baker came out for a visit. Molina's single to right scored a sliding Rolen as Jones' throw was up the line. Yadi moved up on the throw home. Miles was given a free pass to bring Carpenter up with the bases loaded. It looks to be Zambrano's last inning, as he passed 110 pitches. Cards 2-0.

Cubs sixth – Shut up and play
So Taguchi came in as a defensive replacement in left field. The Cubs are complaining about balls and strikes, which means they may be unraveling. Good.

Cards seventh – No more?
Scott Williamson took over for Zambrano and retired the Cardinals in order. Pujols is 0-for-7 in the series so far.

Cubs seventh – Hancock handled
Murton greeted Josh Hancock with a single past Eckstein. Pinch-hitter Michael Barrett took a 3-0 pitch into the left field seats for a game-tying home run. Carpenter lost his chance for a win. Randy Flores was called on with two outs and the lefty Pierre coming in. He walked on a full-count offering. Brad Thompson started to heat up, but wasn't needed, as Walker popped out to Eckstein. Tie 2-2.

Cards eighth – A whiff
Schumaker reached base the fourth consecutive time, hitting a soft single to left against Bobby Howry with two outs. But, Molina fanned.

Cubs eighth – Lead lost
Derrek Lee shot a Brad Thompson offering into the left field seats for his third home run in three games. Jones and Murton walked. Ricardo Rincon began to throw. A pair of ground outs enabled Thompson and the Cards to escape further damage. Cubs 3-2.

Cards ninth – Last chance
Ryan Dempster is the new pitcher. Scott Spiezio, who had come in to play left field, walked with one out. He slid hard into second on Eckstein's grounder to third to avert the double play. With Pujols on deck, Juan Encarnacion pinch hit with two outs and popped up to end the game.

Cubs ninth – Not needed again
Darn it!

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Sunday @ Cubs: Sidney Ponson vs. Sean Marshall 7:05pm ESPN
Monday vs. Brewers: Mark Mulder vs. Tomo Ohka 3:10pm FSNM
Tuesday: Off day
Wednesday vs. Brewers: Jason Marquis vs. Dave Bush 7:10pm FSNM
Thursday vs. Brewers: Jeff Suppan vs. Doug Davis 12:10pm FSNM

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

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