Game Observations – Friday – Cards 9-3

In the first of a season-long ten game homestand, the Cardinals celebrated by spanking the Chicago Cubs by a 9-3 score Friday night.

In the first of a season-long ten game homestand, the Cardinals celebrated by spanking the Chicago Cubs by a 9-3 score Friday night.

Mark Mulder won his second game of the season, allowing five hits and three runs in eight innings. Albert Pujols doubled and homered, driving in four. Jim Edmonds added a two-run shot of his own. David Eckstein singled three times. Juan Encarnacion had two singles and Aaron Miles walked twice. shopping pays off
I fired up my computer to catch the game and was disappointed to receive the WGN-TV feed from Chicago. After two innings of all Derrek Lee talk, I tried another computer. And, lo and behold, I received the best of both worlds - the video from FSN Midwest and the pleasant voice of John Rooney calling the play-by-play.

The Bigbie watch
After three games, Larry Bigbie's rehab has yet to start. He is 0-for-9 with five strikeouts. He has walked twice and scored once.

The Spivey watch
12-for-53 (.226) are not the kind of numbers to warrant a call-up anytime soon.

The match-up
Sidney Ponson vs. Jerome Williams. I was asked by a reader why I pictured Williams on our homepage wearing a Triple-A Iowa Cubs cap today. My simple answer is that it seemed appropriate.

The line-up
Eckstein, Rodriguez, Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Encarnacion, Molina, Miles and Mulder. Scott Rolen returned to the line-up as Scott Spiezio returned to the bench. John Rodriguez received his second consecutive start and moved up the hot potato #2 hole. This looks to me to be the best starting eight La Russa can muster from his 13 position players.

On to the game…

Cubs first – Dopey idea
Jerry Hairston is asking to join Derrek Lee on the disabled list as he dove head-first into first base.

Cards first – He does it again
John Rodriguez singled with one out. Albert Pujols' 1000th career hit was a two-run home run into the visitors bullpen to start the series right. It was his 11th home run of the season and of the month, a new team record. Pujols reached 1000th hit second fastest of any active major league. Actually, Pujols tied with Colorado's Todd Helton at 3003 at-bats, with Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki the fastest (2977 at bats). Cards 2-0.

Cubs second – RISP
Michael Barrett stroked a gapper to right for a one-out double, but Mulder stopped it right there.

Cards second – Slumpers hit, slumpers score, thumpers hit
Juan Encarnacion collected his first hit in ten at-bats, singling to left on the first pitch of the inning. Yadier Molina was up for a long time, 14 pitches, before singling to left. He had been 0-for-10. Miles took a four-pitch walk to jam the sacks with no out. Mulder collected his third RBI of the season on another walk, this time on a 3-1 count. Eckstein followed with a slicer to short right, scoring one and keeping the bases loaded. Rodriguez went to a full count before hitting a sac fly to left. Pujols stroked a double past third into the left field corner to score two more. He took third on the throw home. Oddly, Pujols bear-hugged Ramirez to slow his progress upon reaching third base. He was apparently rebuked by the umpire for doing so. Williams was also rebuked as he was pulled from the game after getting just four outs. Roberto Novoa took over. The Cardinals batted around though neither Rolen nor Edmonds could get the run home from third. Cards 7-0.

Cubs third – Variety pack
Fly out, strike out and ground out.

Cards third – Juan es caliente
Encarnacion again stroked a first-pitch single up the middle. With two outs, Mulder fouled off pitch after pitch before walking. However, on appeal to the third base umpire, he was called a strikeout victim on a check swing.

Cubs fourth – Football score
Hairston singled leading off and move up on a ground out. Ramirez singled to put runners on the corners. Barrett slammed the first pitch he saw into the Cards bullpen for a three-run shot. It was Mulder's fifth home run allowed this season. Murton singled to right for the fourth hit of the inning. Rolen made a nice stab in foul territory and throw to first to collect the third out. Cards 7-3.

Cards fourth – Quiet
Novoa's third inning was a fast 1-2-3, including a Pujols grounder to end it.

Cubs fifth – More like it
Mulder buckled back down for his own in-order frame.

Cards fifth – Getting them back
Rolen drew a leadoff walk against David Aardsma and took second on a wild pitch. Edmonds blasted a ball over the 375 foot mark into the far corner of the Cards bullpen in left. Edmonds made a little hop as he struck it, but good. Cards 9-3.

Cubs sixth – Walker walks
Todd Walker drew a free-pass leading off. He moved up on a ground out with two out but was stranded there.

Cards sixth – Good start
Eckstein singled up the middle with one out. J-Rod walked, putting two on. But neither Albert nor Scott could come through.

Cubs seventh – In order
Nothing doing as Mulder is in a groove.

Cards seventh – New sheriff
Will Ohman took the mound and put down the Cards in order.

Cubs eighth – ZZZ
Three more down. Cubs look like they want to get back to their hotel to get some rest after traveling in from the West Coast overnight.

Cards eighth – Pujols fans
Miles drew a leadoff walk. Pinch-hitter So Taguchi fanned. David Eckstein singled. Rodriguez just missed a three-run shot. Ohman was pulled for Scott Williamson with Pujols stepping in. He fanned on a pitch in the dirt.

Cubs ninth – Over and out
Braden Looper came in to pitch. Barrett reached again via a single as did Freddy Bynum. A popup led to a game-ending double play as Barrett was caught napping off second base.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday vs. Cubs: Sidney Ponson vs. Glendon Rusch 1:15pm WB11
Sunday vs. Cubs: Jason Marquis vs. Greg Maddux 1:15pm WB11
Monday vs. Pirates: Jeff Suppan vs. Oliver Perez 7:10pm FSNM
Tuesday vs. Pirates: Chris Carpenter vs. Victor Santos 7:10pm FSNM
Wednesday vs. Pirates: Mark Mulder vs. Zach Duke 12:10pm FSNM/ESPN

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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