Game Observations – Friday – Cards 7-2

Jeff Suppan and Albert Pujols led the Cardinals as they took the first of their three-game road weekend series against the Florida Marlins, winning 7-2 on Friday evening.

The Cardinals took the first of their three-game road weekend series against the Florida Marlins, winning 7-2 on Friday evening. The Cards improved their record to 18-12, ending their losing streak at four.

Jeff Suppan carried a two-hitter into the eighth and pitched 8-1/3 innings to pick up his third win of the season. Albert Pujols' three-run home run was all the cushion the Cardinals needed. He also singled and walked. Gary Bennett added a two-run single and Suppan even singled home a run himself.

One year ago today
On May 5, 2005, the Cardinals were defeated by the San Diego Padres by the score of 8-3 at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals' record was 18-9 as they led the division by four games. The Cardinals executed a triple play but the bullpen let the game get away, specifically Ray King, Kevin Jarvis and Bill Pulsipher. Mark Grudzielanek homered while Albert Pujols collected a double and two walks to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Yadier Molina picked two runners off first base.

The match-up
Jeff Suppan took on former Cub Sergio Mitre.

The line-up
Eckstein, Rodriguez, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Encarnacion, Bennett, Miles and Suppan. Aaron Miles took over for Hector Luna and John Rodriguez starts in left. The Gary Bennett-Jeff Suppan combination continued, as Yadier Molina took his second game off of the last three.

On to the game…

Cards first – Two on
John Rodriguez singled with one out. Pujols lined out to Miguel Cabrera at third. Edmonds drew a walk, not surprising as the Fish lead the National League with 126 walks so far this season. But, Rolen fanned on a breaking ball to end it.

Marlins first – Nice start
Suppan retired the first three Marlins hitters without incident.

Cards second – Error doesn't hurt
Cabrera committed a fielding error on Gary Bennett's grounder to third with one out. Miles blooped a ball to deep short. While the shortstop was unable to catch it, Hanley Ramirez had time to fire the ball to second before Bennett could get there. Suppan hit a soft liner to Ramirez to end it.

Marlins second – Perfect game ended
With one out, new Marlin Joe Borchard singled to right. Borchard was with the White Sox prior to 2006 and was waived by the Seattle Marlins last week. Mike Jacobs hit a ball to dead center that Edmonds hauled in on the track for the second out. Reggie Abercrombie whiffed for the third out.

Cards third – Groundhog Day on Cinco de Mayo
Pujols singled up the middle with two out. Edmonds singled into the right center gap to put runners on the corners. Over to Rolen with two on base again. Same result. Strike three swinging on a breaking ball.

Marlins third – Three grounders
Three groundouts interrupted by a Ramirez single with two out.

Cards fourth – Moon over Miami
Miles singled with two out. With Suppan up, some of the stadium lights went dark, causing an 18-minute delay. He grounded out.

Marlins fourth – Sacks jammed
Cabrera singled to left. He was erased in a fielders' choice grounder off the bat of Borchard. Mike Jacobs walked to make it the first inning that the M's had two runners on base. Abercrombie walked to load the bases. Catcher Matt Treanor quickly grounded out to end the suspense.

Cards fifth – Cards bat around
Eckstein drew a leadoff walk and J-Rod singled to center. Pujols drove an opposite-field home run to right to give the Cards the lead. That makes 16 home runs and 36 RBI for the season for Mr. Pujols. Edmonds singled to right. Rolen singled to center and as Abercrombie mishandled the ball, both runners moved into scoring position. Encarnacion failed, but Bennett blasted a ball between the drawn-in left side of the infield to score two more. Treanor misfired Miles' bouncer past Jacobs at first put two more in scoring position. Suppan got into the act by singling to right, scoring the sixth run. Mitre left the game after retiring just one of the nine hitters he faced this inning. Former Cub Todd Wellemeyer came in to pitch. Eckstein hit a sac fly to score Miles, but Suppan also tried to move up for some reason and was caught between second and third. Cards 7-0.

Marlins fifth – Easy
A 1-2-3 inning followed. Nice.

Cards sixth – Anticlimactic
Pujols took a one-out free pass. Edmonds lined out and Rolen fanned for the third time.

Marlins sixth – In order again
Another perfect inning for Soup. Great to see him continue to pitch well with the lead.

Cards seventh – Get it over
Nothing doing at the bottom of the order.

Marlins seventh – Soup cruising
Three more Fish retired in order.

Cards eighth – Looking to end it
Former Tiger Franklyn German collected three straight outs.

Marlins eighth – Shutout gone
Ramirez tripled to deep center and scored on a ground out by Dan Uggla. Cards 7-1.

Cards ninth – Clearing the bench
The fourth Marlins pitcher – Matt Herges – faced John Gall, pinch-hitting for Pujols. He was retired 4-3. Hector Luna and Scott Spiezio followed.

Marlins ninth – Soup's done - So are the Fish
Having only thrown 103 pitches, Suppan was given a chance to try to finish the game. Borchard walked with one out. That got Josh Hancock throwing in the bullpen. Mike Jacobs singled to left, which ended Soup's night. Hancock came on. Alfredo Amezaga singled home the second run, but Luna made a nice stop at the bag at first for the final out. Cards 7-2.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday at Marlins: Mark Mulder vs. Dontrelle Willis 5:05 p.m. FSNM
Sunday at Marlins: Sidney Ponson vs. Scott Olsen 12:05 p.m. WB11
Monday vs. Rockies: Jason Marquis vs. Jeff Francis 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Tuesday vs. Rockies: Chris Carpenter vs. Josh Fogg 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Wednesday vs. Rockies: Jeff Suppan vs. Byung-Hyun Kim 12:10 p.m. FSNM/ESPN

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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