Game Observations – Monday – Cards 6-4

On Monday afternoon, the Cardinals won the first game in the new Busch Stadium, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers by a 6-4 score with Mark Mulder leading the way.

In the opener of the new Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers by a 6-4 score on Monday afternoon.

Mark Mulder led with the bat and glove. He doubled, hit his first career home run, a two-run shot, walked and scored twice. Oh yeah, he pitched eight plus innings, allowing seven hits and two runs. He fanned five and walked only one. Albert Pujols also homered, his fourth of the season. Scott Rolen had a two-run double and flashed some nice leather. The bullpen of Braden Looper and Jason Isringhausen struggled in the ninth, allowing two runs.

Been there, done that
The Brewers have a 2-0 when opening on the road in new ballparks. They won at the openers of Toronto's SkyDome in 1989 and the Rangers' "The Ballpark in Arlington" (now known as Ameriquest Field in Arlington) in 1994. The Brew Crew also won the first game in their new park, Miller Park, on April 6, 2001.

Commish in the house
No, not the Post-Dispatch's Rick Hummel. Bud Selig joined Al and Joe in the booth in the sixth. The inning ended quickly, but Bud agreed to stay and did for another inning. I wonder what second prize was? At least Joe asked the commissioner about steroids, even though pat answers were expected and given. He also fawned over baseball's accomplishments during the Selig era. I wonder why Bud is so despised by so many other than the owners? Hmmm…

The match-up
Mark Mulder took on Tomo Ohka.

The line-up
Eckstein, Encarnacion, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Taguchi, Molina, Miles and Mulder. Yadier Molina dropped back down to seventh in the order. Aaron Miles returned to second base over Hector Luna.

On to the game…

Brewers first – Good start
Mulder retired the first three hitters without incident.

Cards first – On the corners
Encarnacion was hit on the bicep. Pujols was walked before Edmonds flied out to center. Rolen walked to load the bases for So Taguchi, who lined out to short.

Brewers second – Muscling up
It was busy in center, but it wasn't good. Carlos Lee led off with a single, followed by a home run by light-hitting Bill Hall. Brewers 2-0.

Cards second – Short again
Geoff Jenkins made a fielding error as he called off his second baseman, putting the leadoff man, Yadier Molina, on base. Mulder was unable to execute a bunt, erasing Molina. However, Eckstein bunted toward third for a base hit. Encarnacion failed again, grounding out to short with two on.

Brewers third – Another DP
A Brady Clark single off the glove of the diving Miles was moot as J.J. Hardy ground into a tailor-made double play.

Cards third – Big and small ball
Pujols led off with a shot into the seats in left. Edmonds slapped a single off the top of the wall in right. On a Rolen grounder, Edmonds took out Weeks at second for a force instead of a double play. Taguchi's single to right put runners on the corners. Molina hit a shot to deep left. Lee barely leapt and made the catch, but the tying run scored and So moved up to second. Miles' fly to center was the third out. Tie 2-2.

Brewers fourth – Mulder's jam
Jenkins was hit by a pitch leading off and was forced out by a Lee grounder. Hall's double put two runners in scoring position. Mulder got big strikeout of Weeks and Fielder for the second and third outs.

Cards fourth – Rolen delivers
Ohka walked Mulder leading off. Eckstein followed with a single to left. Encarnacion did something by bunting. With first base open, Pujols was walked intentionally. Edmonds fanned swinging, but Rolen came through with a two-run double down the left field line. #6 hitter So Taguchi looked awful - like he did back in his first season - weakly fanning on three pitches without ever putting the bat on the ball. He should not be hitting sixth on a Championship club. Cards 4-2.

Brewers fifth – More trouble averted
The #8 hitter, catcher Damian Miller, walked leading off. Corey Hart pinch hit for Ohka and flied out. Edmonds had some problem with the sun before catching Clark's ball while tumbling over. Hardy ground into a force to end it.

Cards fifth – Mulder with the bat
With two down against Rick Helling, Mulder doubled over Clark's head in center. Eckstein fouled out to end it.

Brewers sixth – Harmless runner
Geoff Jenkins singled to left center leading off, but he was retired in a Lee double play. Weeks whiffed for the third out.

Cards sixth – Juan still struggling
Encarnacion continued his grounding out to short. What will it take to get him going? Edmonds drew a two-out walk, but Rolen flied out to center.

Brewers seventh – Prince dethroned
Fielder singled into left with one out. With any speed, it should have been a double. Miles made a nice tag-throw for the inning-ending double play. Mulder has thrown just 83 pitches so far, showing how quickly he was ahead of hitters.

Cards seventh – Mulder muscles up
Jose Capellan took the mound. Miles drew a two-out walk, continuing the Cards having runners in every inning. Mulder worked a full count before homering to left. Take that, Jason Marquis! Curtain call time. Cards 6-2.

Brewers eighth – Defense shines
Rolen made a nice dive, catch and throw to nail pinch-hitter Jeff Cirillo to start another 1-2-3 inning. Braden Looper started to warm up in the bullpen.

Cards eighth – Three flies
Encarnacion flied out to right on the first pitch by Dan Kolb. Pujols and Edmonds flied out to left.

Brewers ninth – Looper can't end it; Izzy barely does
Jenkins singled to left, which ended Mulder's day. Looper came in and quickly registered the two outs before Hall doubled again and Weeks shot an RBI single up the middle. Fielder greeted Jason Isringhausen with an RBI single after Weeks took second uncontested. Fielder also trotted down to second without notice. Izzy went 3-1 on Corey Koskie before he swung at ball four and then took the real ball four. Gabe Gross pinch-hit for Kolb, representing the lead run and grounded out to Pujols, who had to dive to tag him out. Cards 6-4.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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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