Game Observations – Wednesday – Cards 8-3

On Wednesday evening, the Cardinals won the first regular season night game in the new Busch Stadium, defeating the Milwaukee Brewers by an 8-3 score.

In the regular season evening opener of the new Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers by an 8-3 score on Wednesday evening.

Juan Encarnacion had a pair of hits with two runs scored. Jim Edmonds had three RBI, while Albert Pujols plated two. The team plated eight runs on just seven hits. Jason Marquis went six innings, during which he allowed a three-run home run to Carlos Lee.

Good news and bad on Bigbie
Hungo reported that Tony La Russa says that outfielder Larry Bigbie is scheduled to start a rehab assignment this coming weekend. However, because he had no spring training, Bigbie is expected to need three weeks to get ready. That would put his return about the second week of May. For the record, the Cardinals' prediction of two to three weeks will apparently be doubled, just as we predicted here.

I dislike Suzy Kolber even more
There is something about the voice of the ESPN sportscaster that just drives me up the wall. Normally, I can deal with a stray sideline report from a Monday Night NFL game, but this evening I overdosed badly. Apparently, Midwest Chevy Dealers spent their considerable advertising money to run commercials between every inning. But it seems they made only one commercial, with the overly-enthusiastic Suzy during every darned break. OK, so they were for different cars, but I swear they were identical otherwise. I wasn't planning to buy an Impala or an Equinox before, and I certainly won't now. Your mileage may vary, however.

Carp gives back
Before the game, Chris Carpenter received the Player's Choice Award as the 2005 National League's Outstanding Pitcher, as voted by his peers at the end of last season. Carpenter designated the associated $20,000 grant for the DHMC Medical Center for Kristen's Gift in his hometown of Lebanon, New Hampshire.

The match-up
Jason Marquis opposed David Bush.

The line-up
Eckstein, Encarnacion, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Schumaker, Molina, Miles and Marquis. Skip Schumaker replaced the slumping So Taguchi in left field.

On to the game…

Brewers first – Smooth start
Marquis retired the first three hitters without incident, including a swinging K against J.J. Hardy and a called strike three to Geoff Jenkins. I just hope Marquis doesn't become overly enamored with the high fastball.

Cards first – Nada
Encarnacion popped out on the first pitch. He really needs to relax. Pujols took a called strike three himself low and on the outside corner.

Brewers second – Two hits, no trouble
With two out, Corey Koskie singled to center, but he tried to test Edmonds' arm by taking second. Bad idea, as Eckstein expertly tagged him out. Rickie Weeks followed with a single of his own, but Marquis retired Prince Fielder on a jam shot that ended with a dribbler to Pujols.

Cards second – Two in two
After a walk, Edmonds swiped second base for the first steal in the new park. Rolen singled to shallow center. Brady Clark made a futile throw home, allowing Rolen to move up. Schumaker slapped a first-pitch up the middle to put runners on the corners. Molina collected an RBI on a ball hit to second as Schumaker took the base, deftly avoiding the bouncing ball. He moved up to third on a Miles ground out. Cards 2-0.

Brewers third – Bush at Busch
Bush singled with one out. Clark quickly hit into a 5-4-3 around the horn to end it.

Cards third – I'll have another pair
Eckstein singled leading off. La Russa called a hit and run and Encarnacion slapped a single to right, putting runners on the corners. Pujols shot a first-pitch RBI single to right. Edmonds weakly dribbled the ball to first, but at least the two runners moved up. A mound conference ensued with Rolen coming in. His deep sac fly to the track in center scored Encarnacion and Pujols took third. Cards 4-0.

Brewers fourth – Most of lead lost
Hardy and Jenkins led off with singles as Marquis is having location problems. Carlos Lee located the ball as he parked a three-run blast into the left field seats. Marquis buckled down and retired the next three, the last two via strikeouts, but the damage was done. Cards 4-3.

Cards fourth – Quiet
Down in order. It would have been nice to see the offense open up the lead again right away. I am sure they tried, though.

Brewers fifth – Harmless single
Clark blooped a single to right with two out, but that was it.

Cards fifth – Breathing room
Eckstein was hit by a pitch and Encarnacion chopped a single up the middle. Pujols took a walk to load the bases with no out for Edmonds. The Brewers defense went to pot, as Jenkins kicked the ball and the off-line relay throw by Weeks to third went into the dugout. The Cards official scorer gave out two errors and a three-run double to Edmonds as all four scored. Cards 8-3.

Brewers seventh – Looper inefficient
With Braden Looper in, Edmonds dropped a ball on the warning track running with his back to the plate. It was a one-out double off the bat of Fielder. La Russa left Looper in to face the lefty pinch-hitter Gabe Gross with two down. He walked on four straight pitches. I can't help it, but Looper's smile-grimace on the mound before every pitch reminds me of Brett Tomko (and that isn't a good memory). He ended the 24-pitch inning with a strikeout.

Brewers eighth – Brad in and out of trouble
Brad Thompson came on to pitch and allowed a hit to clean-up man Jenkins with one out. Rolen made a throwing error to second base to put Lee on base, too. Lee was retired on a force at second on a 3-6-1 attempt that was a second late. Weeks was hit by a pitch to jam the sacks for Fielder. Dave Duncan came out to offer encouragement as Jason Isringhausen began to warm up before Thompson retired his man. Izzy sat down as Josh Hancock stood up.

Cards eighth – Nice relief work
Jose Capellan completed two perfect innings for the Brewers.

Brewers ninth – Hancock signs off
Hancock became the hurler. With two out, Miles made a long run for a ball in short left, which he dropped. It was generously scored a hit for Clark, but that was it.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Thursday vs. Brewers: Jeff Suppan vs. Doug Davis 12:10pm FSNM
Friday vs. Reds: Chris Carpenter vs. Aaron Harang 7:10pm FSNM
Saturday vs. Reds: Sidney Ponson vs. Dave Williams 1:15pm WB11
Sunday vs. Reds: Mark Mulder vs. Bronson Arroyo 1:15pm WB11

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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