Game Observations – Tuesday – Mets 8-3

The first-place Cardinals lost the initial game of their home series with the New York Mets by a 8-3 score on Tuesday evening.

The first-place Cardinals lost the initial game of their home series with the New York Mets by a 8-3 score on Tuesday evening. Their 24-15 record still kept them ahead of Cincinnati in the National League Central Division.

Jeff Suppan allowed four runs in 6-2/3 innings and kept his team in the game. It got away after a one hour, forty minute rain delay, as Brad Thompson allowed four more runs, two earned. Hector Luna had a single, double and an RBI. Gary Bennett also had two hits and an RBI. Juan Encarnacion was on base three times with a pair of singles and a walk.

One year ago today
On May 16, 2005, the Cardinals did not play, coming off a road series against the Mets in New York and moving to Philadelphia.

One man team?
So far, Albert Pujols has driven in 25% of the Cardinals' runs and scored 20% of them this season. His current pace is 82 home runs and 209 RBI for the season.

Right man for the job
Since 2004, Jeff Suppan has the best record in MLB in the game following a loss. His mark is 18-3 with a 3.31 ERA.

The match-up
Jeff Suppan vs. Tom Glavine.

The line-up
Eckstein, Taguchi, Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Edmonds, Bennett, Luna and Suppan. Juan Encarnacion returned after a day off. So Taguchi and Hector Luna are in, while John Rodriguez and Aaron Miles are out. Gary Bennett received another start paired with Jeff Suppan, as they have been all season long. As the only lefty in the line-up with the lefty Glavine on the mound, Jim Edmonds was dropped to #6.

On to the game…

Mets first – Pick me up
Luna bobbled speedster Jose Reyes' grounder for a game-opening error. Suppan promptly picked Reyes off first base. Carlos Beltran took strike three looking to end the frame.

Cards first – RISP one
Eckstein was hit on the hip by an inside pitch. While he turned sideways, Eckstein didn't jump out of the way, which caused a mild and failed protest by the Mets. Pujols fouled a ball off the inside of his left shin and dropped to the ground. Barry Weinberg came out to tend to him and he stayed in the game to hit a dribbler to the mound. Eckstein moved up. In apparent frustration, Pujols slammed his batting helmet down the bullpen steps. Rolen ground out.

Mets second – Harmless double
Slumping Cliff Floyd doubled into the right field corner with two down. He had been benched the previous two days to "clear his head", according to his manager, Willie Randolph. Floyd was stranded.

Cards second – Streak continues
Jim Edmonds hit a one out single into short right field to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Bennett lined into a 4-3 double play. Edmonds grimaced after having dived back into first base in a failed attempt to avert the twin killing.

Mets third – Two bad mistakes
Suppan walked Glavine and paid dearly when Jose Reyes homered to right center to give the Mets the lead. When a pitcher with the talent of Glavine is on the mound, this could become a major problem. Mets 2-0.

Cards third – RISP two
Luna led off with a seeing-eye single between third and short. Suppan bunted him over, but Eckstein and Taguchi stranded him.

Mets fourth – Two-out RBI
David Wright took a one-out walk. Suppan made a nice play to throw out Cliff Floyd on a bouncer as Wright moved up. Xavier Nady singled up the middle to collect the RBI. Three hits and three RBI for the Mets. Mets 3-0.

Cards fourth – Another runner
Encarnacion looped a ball into right for a two-out single. Edmonds fanned and that was that.

Mets fifth – Defense keeps bases clear
Against Reyes, this time Luna made a great play, spinning and throwing Reyes out even though his momentum was carrying him toward second base. Pujols also made a great scoop. Encarnacion ran down Paul Lo Duca's drive to deep right for the third out. This was the first inning the Mets didn't have a baserunner.

Cards fifth – Two hits lead to two runs
For the third time in five innings, the Cards have the lead-off man on base. This time, Gary Bennett singled up the middle. Luna doubled off the left field wall and Bennett scored easily as the ball shot away from the left fielder Floyd and toward home plate. Suppan laid down his second sacrifice bunt of the night. Luna slid home just ahead of the throw from Nady in right after a sac fly ball by Eckstein. Mets 3-2.

Mets sixth – Jam averted
David Wright singled with two out. Floyd singled past a diving Luna to put runners on the corners, but Suppan escaped.

Cards sixth – Coming back
Rolen singled to right with one out. It was good to see Encarnacion then take a walk. As Edmonds stepped in, it began to rain. He took a called strike three for the second out on a full count. Then, Bennett singled to center to score Rolen, but Encarnacion foolishly tested Carlos Beltran's arm and was nailed trying to take third on the play. Tie 3-3.

Mets seventh – More two-out trouble
The Mets pinch hit for Glavine and when the Mets scored, he was back in place to gain the decision. Reyes collected a two-out walk, which got Tyler Johnson up in the bullpen. He stole second base without a throw as the rain continued. Lo Duca doubled into the right field corner to score the lead run. Beltran walked, which ended Suppan's night. Johnson retired Carlos Delgado for the third out. Mets 4-3.

Cards seventh – 1:40 delay
The tarp was put into the field. At this point, if the bottom of the inning cannot be played, the game would be suspended and completed later with the Mets ahead by one run. After the delay, Aaron Heilman took over for the Mets and retired Luna and pinch-hitter John Rodriguez. Then third baseman David Wright made a great barehanded play to get Eckstein.

Mets eighth – Game escapes
Brad Thompson pitched and David Wright hit it. It was a gapper to the wall in left center for a double. Thompson then hit Floyd with a pitch on the leg. Nady bunted. Pujols made an error in trying to race Nady to the bag instead of tossing the ball to Luna covering. Pujols did throw the ball, but it was late. It got away as the runner scored. La Russa came out but did not remove Thompson. Matsui bunted the two runners into scoring position. Pinch-hitter Julio Franco singled to right to score another. Chasing a Reyes pop-up, Pujols slid on the on-deck circle and landed flat on his already-sore back. He stayed in the game. A Reyes single to left scored the third run of the inning. Exit Brad. Enter Brian Falkenborg. He allowed a Beltran bloop RBI single to right in between the second and third outs. Mets 8-3.

Cards eighth – No coming back yet
Duaner Sanchez was the new Mets pitcher. Larry Bigbie hit for So Taguchi and grounded out on the first pitch. Nothing else good happened.

Mets ninth – Garbage time
Falkenborg got his three outs.

Cards ninth – Nice try, at least
Jorge Julio took the mound for the Mets. Juan Encarnacion legged out an infield single and Edmonds walked. Juan moved up on a Bennett fly out. Luna popped out. Scott Spiezio pinch-hit and was retired as the final out.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Wed. vs. Mets: Mark Mulder vs. Steve Trachsel 7:10 p.m. FSNM/ESPN
Thursday vs. Mets: Jason Marquis vs. Jose Lima 12:10 p.m. FSNM
Fri. @ Kansas City: Chris Carpenter vs. Denny Bautista 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Saturday @ KC: Anthony Reyes (?) vs. Jeremy Affeldt 6:10 p.m. WB11
Sunday @ Kansas City: Jeff Suppan vs. Scott Elarton 1:10 p.m. WB11

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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