Game Observations – Friday – Nationals 8-3

On Friday night, the Cardinals lost the second of the four-game weekend series at home to the Washington Nationals by an 8-3 score.

On Friday night, the Cardinals lost the second of the four-game weekend series at home to the Washington Nationals by an 8-3 score. The Cards' four-game win streak ended as their record fell to 15-8, while the Nats are now 8-15.

Jason Marquis' sinker didn't, as his offerings were blasted by the Nats. Marquis allowed seven runs in five-plus innings to take the loss. Albert Pujols hit his 13th home run of the month, tying a major league record. He added a two-run single.

One year ago today
On April 28, 2005, Jason Marquis and mates lost to soft-tossing Brewer Chris Capuano by a 4-3 score. Reggie Sanders homered. Albert Pujols had driven in 11 runs over his previous eight games. Despite the loss, the Cards still led the NL Central by 3-1/2 games over the Cubs.

The match-up
Jason Marquis opposed right-hander Tony Armas.

The line-up
Eckstein, Miles, Pujols, Edmonds, Spiezio, Rodriguez, Molina, Schumaker and Marquis. Aaron Miles took over for Hector Luna in the #2 spot and Juan Encarnacion was replaced by Skip Schumaker in right field, despite Skip's 0-for-19 slump coming in. John Rodriguez got the call for So Taguchi in left as the Cards loaded up on those who can hit from the left side.

On to the game…

Nats first – Two times two equals trouble
Jose Vidro singled past Pujols with one out and scored on an opposite-field home run by Nick Johnson on a full count that landed in his team's bullpen in left-center. Miles made a nice play on a ball by Jose Guillen up the middle to collect the second out. But, Ryan Church took a walk and came home on a Ryan Zimmerman long ball to left. Nats 4-0.

Cards first – First RISP wasted
For the second consecutive evening, David Eckstein was hit by a pitch to start the home first. Miles worked Armas for ten pitches before grounding out as Eckstein moved into scoring position. Pujols flied out to right as Eckstein took third, but Edmonds was unable to get him home.

Nats second – More trouble
Royce Clayton, the #8 hitter, blasted a ball off the wall in left center for a double. He moved to third on a sacrifice by the pitcher. Alfonso Soriano took a walk with one down and Jose Vidro was plunked on an 0-2 offering to load the bases. Dave Duncan made his appearance early in the evening as Josh Hancock started to warm up. Nick Johnson singled to right to drive in his third run of the evening. Nats 5-0.

Cards second – Ice broken
Rodriguez drew a lead-off walk. Armas balked him over to second. Schumaker's double into the left field corner scored the run easily. Eckstein fanned for the third out, but ran to first as he asserted it was a foul tip and was not tagged. La Russa came out to argue. Guess what? It didn't matter. Nats 5-1.

Nats third – Both strategy and execution fail
Zimmerman singled to right leading off. A sac by Brian Schneider moved him up. Clayton walking brought Duncan out again. Armas' bunt put two runners in scoring position with two out. With first base open, they pitched to Soriano, the Nats' best hitter. Bad idea, as he singled two runs home. Nats 7-1.

Cards third – Down in order
Pujols, Edmonds and Spiezio stood up and sat back down.

Nats fourth – Them, too
Maybe too little too late for Marquis as he retired the Nats in sequence.

Cards fourth – Nada
Another lifeless inning for the Cards bats.

Nats fifth – Royce rolls over Marquis
With two out, Clayton reached a third time with another double. He was stranded.

Cards fifth – A drip
Eckstein singled and stole second base. He moved up to third with Pujols hitting with two out. Pujols collected the RBI with a single up the middle. Edmonds fanned looking to end it. Nats 7-2.

Nats sixth – Josh joins in
Marquis walked Soriano and was pulled from the game in favor of Hancock. A double play ball and a ground out ended the threat.

Cards sixth – Can't buy a break
John Rodriguez singled but was doubled off first for the third out as Zimmerman made a nice stop at third base and throw on Molina.

Nats seventh – Six-run gap
Marlon Byrd reached via a single to deep short, just beating Eckstein's throw. Pujols made a nice stretch in vain. Byrd moved up via an out and scored on Schneider's single. Nats 8-2.

Cards seventh – They don't have it this evening
Mike Stanton came in and one of his outs was a whiff of Rodriguez.

Nats eighth – No more damage
Damian Jackson reached on a Spiezio and moved up on a passed ball against Randy Flores. He didn't score.

Cards eighth – Albert's record
An otherwise meaningless solo home run in a blowout loss was Pujols' 13th of the month, giving him a share of the MLB record with Luis Gonzalez and Ken Griffey, Jr. It came off Felix Rodriguez. Spiezio drew a two-out walk but was stranded. Nats 8-3.

Nats ninth – Getting it over with
Brad Thompson finished up quickly.

Cards ninth – Cordero drops Cards
Washington closer Chad Cordero closed the Cardinals out under falling raindrops.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday vs. Nationals: Chris Carpenter vs. Livan Hernandez 1:15pm WB11
Sunday vs. Nationals: Jeff Suppan vs. John Patterson 1:15pm WB11
Monday at Reds: Mark Mulder vs. Dave Williams 6:10pm FSNM
Tuesday at Reds: Sidney Ponson vs. Bronson Arroyo 11:35am FSNM

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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