St. Louis Cardinals (20-12) vs. Colorado Rockies (19-13)
Game No. 33May 8, 2006 Busch Stadium
CARDS & ROCKIES:The two clubs are meeting for the first of their three series meetings (9 games) in 2006. The Rockies will visit St. Louis twice this season (June 16-18) before the Birds will see Coors Field in July. The Cardinals & Rockies split their eight games last season as each team won twice in each of the two four game series. The Cards trail the all-time series between the two clubs, 62-58, but have an even 29-29 mark vs. the Rockies at home.
IT's SHOWTIME: This stretch at home is against three of the top teams in the National League. The N.L. West-leading Colorado Rockies kick things off with three games. After an off-day on Thursday, the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are just one-game back of the Rockies, visit over the weekend followed by the NL East leading New York Mets lone visit of the season to St. Louis, May 16-18. The Rockies, Diamondbacks and Mets are a combined 58-37 (.611 winning pct.) to begin 2006.
The Redbirds have played 16 games at new Busch Stadium and have complied a 12-4 home record and they will have their hands full this week with the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Mets coming to town.
INJURY UPDATE: Cardinals starting pitcher Sidney Ponson left the game yesterday after 3.0 innings with discomfort in his right elbow.
Bigbie missed the first 32 games of the season with a left heel fracture and while rehabbing at Memphis, saw action in 11 games and hit .143 (5-35)...in eight games, one start, with St. Louis Gall was 3-12 (.250).
THE GRAND MARQUIS?: Jason is having a rough go of it, of late. He will be making his seventh start of the season. In his six previous starts, Jason has only managed to get in two quality starts. He brings a 3-3 record with a 5.50 ERA into tonight's game.
A free agent at the end of this season, these type of numbers are not going to drive up his asking price.
Jason is actually making me look bad. I projected after watching him working in spring training, that I anticipated he would have a career season this year. He isn't helping my fantasy baseball team as well, but that is a different topic.
The Cardinals have managed to win three of the six games Marquis has started.
LEFT BEHIND?: The Cardinals will face their third-straight left-handed starter tonight in Jeff Francis. Francis is 1-0 lifetime vs. the Cards, defeating the club 7-0 last June 30. The Cardinals saw lefties Dontrelle Willis and Scott Olsen in the last two games at Florida. Almost half of the teams' 32 games have been against a left-handed starter (13/32) with St. Louis holding an 8-5 record in those contests.
WATCH OUT FOR THE SWEEP: The Rockies recorded their 3rd sweep of the season over the weekend against Houston, the club's first home sweep this
Year. The team has swept 2 road series this season, April 7-9 at San Diego and April 28-30 at Florida.
FIRST PLACE ROCKIES: The Rockies regained sole possession of first place after
the Diamondbacks' loss yesterday. This marks the 25th day this season that the Rockies have held at least a share of first place in the division.
The Rockies are 10-5 on the road, trust me this should be a very exciting series.
Tonight's Starting Lineups
C. Sullivan - CF
J. Carroll - SS
T. Helton - 1B
G. Atkins - 3B
M. Holliday - LF
B. Hawpe - RF
L. Gonzalez - 2B
D. Ardoin - C
J. Francis - P
St. Louis Cardinals
D. Eckstein - SS
H. Luna - 2B
A. Pools - 1B
S. Rolen - 3B
J. Encarnacion - RF
J. Edmonds - CF
Y. Molina - C
S. Taguchi - LF
J. Marquis - P
Marquis will be trying to snap a three game losing streak tonight.
TOP: Colorado jumps out to an early two run lead on Marquis.
Marquis gave up two hits, hit two batters, and walked another, in yet another rough first inning for the struggling right-hander who has lost three in a row.
Colorado 2 - St. Louis 0 going into the bottom of the first.
BOTTOM: Eckstein and Luna fly out and Pujols draws a walk to bring up Scott Rolen, with Pujols at first and two outs. Rolen goes down swinging at strike three.
At the end of one inning - Colorado 2 - St. Louis 0.
The Rockies coming into tonight's game with a record of 11-2 when scoring first this season.
TOP: Marquis still appears to be over throwing the ball to the first batter in the second inning. He walks the pitcher to start the inning off. What are the odds, he'll score? I don't know, but it's higher than if he had retired him.
Marquis walks Carroll for his third walk already on top of hitting two batters, putting runners at first and second with just one out. Marquis continues to labor early in the game.
Atkins grounds to second for the final out.
At the end of the top half of the second, the Bad Guys 2 - the Good Guys 0.
BOTTOM: Encarnacion leads off the second and flies to second. Coming off the recent road trip, Juan hit .250 (7-28) with two home runs.
Edmonds flies out to right center field, to bring Yadier Molina to the plate with two outs and no runners on base.
Molina has a four game hitting streak coming into tonight's game, 4-for-12, .333 and flies to left as the Cardinals go down in order.
At the end of two, the Rockies 2 - Cardinals 0.
TOP: The Cardinals are 7-8 with opponents scoring first and Marquis will try to hold the Rockies to just two runs and hope his teammates can pick him up.
Matt Holliday, the Rockies left fielder, hit's his 8th home run of the season to dead center on a 3-1 count and racks up his 30th RBI. So much for holding the Rockies to two runs. It's Colorado 3 - St. Louis 0.
Molina guns down the Rockies catcher, Danny Ardoin at first base, after he had reached the base on a hit, to end the inning.
At the end of the top half of the third, it's the Rockies 3 and the Cardinals still trying to get on the board.
BOTTOM: Marquis picks up the Cardinals first hit of the night. The Silver Slugger award winner from last season, is on first base with just one out, the Cardinals down 3-0.
Eckstein hits into what could have been a double play, but Eck beats the throw, Marquis is out at second. Eckstein is on first with two outs and Luna at the plate.
Eckstein is caught stealing and Luna is left standing at the plate.
At the end of three, Rockies 3 - Cardinals 0.
TOP: The Rockies have already left five runners on the base paths, before going into the fourth inning. If Marquis can settle down, this could come back and haunt the Colorado team.
It's a one, two, three inning for Marquis, it is just too bad Jason just can't start a game in the fourth inning.
BOTTOM: The Cardinals may have their hands full with this starter. Only Pujols and Rolen have ever had a hit off the Rockies' starter, Jeff Francis.
At the end of four, it is still the Rockies on top, 3-0.
TOP: Superstar Todd Helton flies out to left for the third time in a row.
Garrett Atkins hit's a double down the right field line.
Holliday hit's a liner to left and makes it runners at first and third with just one out.
A base hit by Hawpe, gives the Rockies another run, as the Rockies put together three consecutive hits, the seventh of the night.
Marquis continues to leave the ball up and almost hit's the Rockies second baseman, Gonzalez and Brad Thompson begins to warm up in the Cardinals' bullpen.
Gonzalez hit's a bloop to left, the fourth consecutive hit and the Rockies now lead 5-0 and Marquis is joined at the mound by pitching coach Dave Duncan and Thompson continues to warm up in the bullpen.
Danny Ardoin is at the plate with runners at first and second and Marquis can't find the plate, but Ardoin helps with a weak fly to right. Two outs, runners remain at first and second.
The pitcher Francis is up with a chance to help himself, grounds out to Eckstein.
Going into the bottom half of the 5th inning, the Rockies lead by 5.
BOTTOM: The 5th inning is the Cardinals best inning so far this season. The Redbirds have scored 44 runs in the 5th inning. The Cardinals next favorite inning? The second inning, the Cardinals have scored 24 runs in the second inning.
Edmonds grounds out to start the inning.
Molina has a season-high four-game hitting streak since snapping 0-16 skid last Tuesday at Cincinnati. He flies to right for the second out.
So Taguchi is making his 14th start of the season and he grounds out to end the 5th inning.
At the end of five, the Rockies 5 - Cardinals 0.
TOP: Marquis gives up a hit to Sullivan, the lead off batter, the ninth hit already for the night. Sullivan moves to second on a sacrifice bunt.
Todd Helton, is up for the fourth time of the night, 0-for-3, so far, with three fly outs to So Taguchi.
Helton flies to center, and is 0-for-4 tonight against Marquis.
Atkins grounds out, stranding a runner at second to end the top half of the inning.
At the end of the top half of the sixth, the Rockies 5 - Cardinals 0
BOTTOM: Marquis grounded out, second baseman Luis A. Gonzalez to first baseman Helton.
Eckstein singled to center.
Luna walked on a full count, Eckstein to second.
Pujols flied out to center fielder Sullivan, Eckstein to third.
Rolen, still trying to put on about 10 pounds that he recently lost due to a virus, flied out to center fielder Sullivan, to end the inning.
At the end of six, Rockies still lead 5-0.
TOP: Matt Holliday hit a home run to left on a 0-0 count to start the inning. His second homer of the night, driving Marquis from the game.
Brad Thompson is in the game for the Cardinals, in relief of Marquis.
Hawpe flied out to center fielder Jim Edmonds.
Luis A. Gonzalez lined out to Eckstein.
Ardoin grounded out to Scott Rolen who throws the runner out at first.
At the end of the top half of the 7th inning, it's the Rockies 6 - Cards 0
BOTTOM: It's three up three down, in spite of a base hit by Jim Edmonds. Molina hits into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
At the end of the 7th, it's the Rockies 6 and the Cardinals 0.
TOP: It's three up, three down as Cardinal reliever Brad Thompson holds the Rockies to a scoreless inning.
BOTTOM: The Cardinals finally get on the board. Taguchi walked on a full count to start the inning.
Aaron Miles pinch-hitting for Brad Thompson singles to left to move Taguchi
Eckstein grounded into a double play, shortstop Carroll to second baseman Luis A. Gonzalez to first baseman Helton, Taguchi to third, Miles out.
Hector Luna singled to center, scoring So Taguchi from third base, for the Cardinals only run of the inning.
The Rockies send in Jose Mesa to relieve starter Jeff Francis.
Mesa retires Pujols who lines to center to end the inning.
At the end of eight, Rockies 6 - Cardinals down five, with just one run on six hits.
TOP: Braden Looper is in the game in relief of Thompson. Looper had his 9.2 scoreless IP streak snapped Saturday night, allowing 3 runs & HR in 0.2 IP.
Looper is unscored upon in 10 of his 12 games.
Looper works another scoreless inning of relief.
Going to the bottom of the 9th, the Cardinals need five runs to send this game into extra innings and six to win it.
BOTTOM: The Cardinals largest comeback this season has been from two runs down. It will be an uphill battle tonight. Scoring three runs or less and the Cardinals have a 2-9 record.
Rolen starts the inning off with a walk. The Cardinals are still alive.
Former St. Louis Cardinal reliever, Ray King is in the bullpen warming up in anticipation of facing his ex-teammate, Jim Edmonds, who is on deck, with Encarnacion at the plate.
Encarnacion gets a single to left, Rolen stops at second with Jim Edmonds coming to bat.
The Rockies make the call to the bullpen, Ray King coming in, in relief of Jose Mesa.
Edmonds is 1-for-8 against Ray King.
Runners advance on a wild pitch. Rolen is at third and Encarnacion is at second, with no outs.
Edmonds flies to right, driving in Rolen and moving Encarnacion to third. Edmonds 22 RBIs is second on the team.
Molina, 0-for-3 for the night, is at the plate with a runner at third and one out. He walks to keep the inning alive. (You wonder if La Russa even thought about pinch hitting for him)
The Rockies closer, Brian Fuentes is warming up in the bullpen and comes into the game to face So Taguchi, who lines out.
Coming to the plate, it's Aaron Miles, who entered the game in the 8th as a pinch hitter, is 1-for-1, two outs, runners at first and third, it's up to Miles to keep it alive for St. Louis.
Miles works the count to 3-2, the Cards are down to their last strike.
Miles grounds to short, across the diamond, game over.
FINAL - Colorado 6 - St. Louis 2
Jeff Francis picks up the win for Colorado and Jason Marquis loses his fourth game in a row.
Marquis gives up six runs on 10 hits in six innings. Brad Thompson pitched two perfect innings and Braden Looper pitched a scoreless 9th.
The Cardinals managed to get seven hits, but left 14 runners on the base.
These two teams will hook up again tomorrow night with identical 20-13 records.
Tue., May 9 vs. ROCKIES: Chris Carpenter (3-2, 2.35) vs. Josh Fogg (2-2, 5.18) 7:10 p.m.*
Wed., May 10 vs. ROCKIES: Jeff Suppan (3-2, 4.46) vs. Byung-Hyun Kim (1-0, 3.29) 12:10 p.m.*%
Thu., May 11: OPEN DATE
Times listed are Central...All games broadcast on KTRS Radio
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