Game Observations – Monday – Reds 6-1

The Cincinnati Reds took the first in a two-game series over the Cardinals, winning 6-1 on Monday night.

The Cincinnati Reds took the first in a two-game series over the Cardinals, winning 6-1 on Monday night. The Reds improved their record to 18-8, while the Cards are now one game behind at 17-9.

Mark Mulder started and pitched well until the sixth. That inning, he allowed four straight hits and all scored, with the help of Josh Hancock. Juan Encarnacion homered for the second consecutive game and John Rodriguez singled twice and walked. But, the star of the game was Reds starter Bronson Arroyo, who tossed a complete-game four-hitter for his fifth win of the season.

One year ago today
On May 1, 2005, Jeff Suppan allowed just four hits in seven innings, but he and his first-place Cardinals teammates fell to John Smoltz and the Atlanta Braves by the score of 2-1 at Turner Field. The Braves took the final two games to win the weekend series as the Cardinals' record dropped to 15-8. Ironically, their next stop on the road trip was Cincinnati.

The match-up
Mark Mulder took on Bronson Arroyo in a rematch of the April 16 game during which Albert Pujols hit three home runs in an 8-7 Cardinals win.

The line-up
Eckstein, Rodriguez, Pujols, Edmonds, Spiezio, Encarnacion, Molina, Miles and Mulder. Interestingly enough, it is the same starting eight in the same order two consecutive days with the exception of the return of Yadier Molina from a day off.

On to the game…

Cards first – Johnny who?
John Rodriguez continues to cause people to wonder why he hasn't been playing more, as he slammed a 1-0 offering off the base of the wall for a one-out double. But, neither Pujols nor Edmonds could get him home with a pair of fly balls.

Reds first – Long ball
Rich Aurilia hit a two-out solo home run to right. Reds 1-0.

Cards second – Juan ties it
With one down, Encarnacion got around on an inside pitch and shot a line drive home run into the upper deck, 425 feet from home plate. Miles drew a two-out walk, but Mulder fanned. Tie 1-1.

Reds second – Variety pack
Three outs; a ground out, fly out and line out.

Cards third – All start, no finish
Eckstein took a leadoff single to right, but Rodriguez' double play grounder took the air out of the inning.

Reds third – Trouble averted
Catcher Dave Ross doubled into the right field corner leading off. He never left there.

Cards fourth – 1-2-3
I was hoping for more from the 4-5-6 hitters. Maybe next time through.

Reds fourth – Two on threat
Aurilia took a leadoff walk and moved up on a wild pitch to Adam Dunn. He took third on Dunn's fly ball. Mulder fanned Kearns for the second out. Edwin Encarnacion walked to station runners on the corners, but Brandon Phillips lined out to Eckstein to end it.

Cards fifth – 1-2-3 again
The bottom of the order is batting in the right place.

Reds fifth – Bad guys retake lead
With two out, Ryan Freel hit a two hopper to the wall in center. Felipe Lopez stroked an RBI single to left. A Mulder strikeout of Aurilia on a curve averted further damage. Reds 2-1.

Cards sixth – Just missed
With one down, Rodriguez hit a one-hopper to short. Lopez made a nice stop, but his throw was not handled cleanly by Aurilia. Surprise - Pujols was walked. Edmonds flied out the track in dead center and Spiezio popped out.

Reds sixth – Pulling away
Dunn led off with a double into the left field corner and he quickly scored on an Austin Kearns single to right. A hit-and-run single by Encarnacion put runners at the corners. Dave Duncan reached for the bullpen phone. Kearns scored on a Phillips single to right. Four hits and no outs ended Mulder's night. Hector Luna came in for Spiezio on a double switch along with Josh Hancock. A wild pitch following a strikeout put two runners in scoring position. Arroyo walked to load the bases! Freel fanned before Lopez singled home two more. Reds 6-1.

Cards seventh – Looking bad
Another in-order frame.

Reds seventh – Two more on
Kearns doubled into the left field corner with one out. Encarnacion singled to left to put runners at the corners. Both were stranded as Hancock finished up ok.

Cards eighth – Life
Rodriguez walked with two outs, but Pujols stranded him there.

Reds eighth – Flores gets work in
Randy Flores pitched and gave up an isolated single to Freel.

Cards ninth – Arroyo complete game
Arroyo fanned pinch-hitter John Gall and Dunn made a nice sliding catch to end the game.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Tuesday at Reds: Sidney Ponson vs. Dave Williams 11:35am FSNM
Wednesday at Astros: Jason Marquis vs. Roy Oswalt 7:05pm FSNM
Thursday at Astros: Chris Carpenter vs. Andy Pettitte 7:05pm FSNM

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

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