Game Observations – Wed. 5/17 – Cards 1-0

Behind the arm of Mark Mulder, the first-place Cardinals took the second game of their home series with the New York Mets by a 1-0 score on Wednesday evening.

The first-place Cardinals took the second game of their home series with the New York Mets by a 1-0 score on Wednesday evening. Their 25-15 record kept them ahead of Cincinnati in the National League Central Division.

Mark Mulder came up two outs short of his 11th career shutout, but pitched a fantastic game, carrying a three-hitter into the ninth before departing with the bases loaded. Under maximum pressure, former "Generation K" Met Jason Isringhausen collected the final two outs for his 12th save, preserving Mulder's fifth victory of the season. Coming into the game 2-for-28, Scott Rolen's sixth-inning double scored Albert Pujols with the only run of the game.

One year ago today
On May 17, 2005, the Cardinals fell to Philadelphia 7-5 as the Phils jumped to an early six-run lead that proved too much to overcome. A five-run second inning by the Phils off Jeff Suppan provided the damage. Albert Pujols went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and David Eckstein and Mark Grudzielanek each had a pair of hits.

The match-up
Mark Mulder opposed Steve Trachsel.

The line-up
Eckstein, Rodriguez, Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Encarnacion, Molina, Miles and Mulder. With the righty on the mound, Taguchi and Luna were out and Rodriguez and Miles in. Also, Edmonds slid back up into the #4 hole from #6. Yadier Molina returned as Gary Bennett sat. David Eckstein continues his consecutive games streak, stretching back to last season.

On to the game…

Mets first – Another twin
After Mulder fanned Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca singled to left with one out. Mulder's best friend, a 5-4-3, ensued. It was the 12th double play behind him this season and 81st in the last three years.

Cards first – Down in order
Trachsel was aggressive and set down the Cards hitters in order.

Mets second – Four hitters
After Mulder fanned Carlos Delgado, David Wright singled to left with one out. Two fly balls to right meant it was time to change sides again.

Cards second – On Trach
Trachsel continued his success by retiring his three in order.

Mets third – Quiet
Mulder took out all three of his men.

Cards third – Two on
Miles ruined the perfect game by drawing a one-out walk. Mulder fanned trying to bunt. Eckstein worked the count until he singled past short, but Rodriguez fanned.

Mets fourth – 5-6-3
Carlos Beltran drew a one-out free pass. Rolen started a nifty (or dandy as I imagine Dan is saying) double play as the offense was slid over in a shift for notorious pull hitter Cliff Floyd. Rolen was playing in the shortstop position and tossed the ball underhanded to Eckstein, who fired the relay to Pujols.

Cards fourth – Pujols slumping?
Pujols continued his mini-slump, making his 11th out since his last hit. Rolen took a two-out walk, but Encarnacion flied out.

Mets fifth – Escape act
David Wright led off with a double into the left field corner to represent the first Met to reach second base. Floyd moved him up to third. But, Mulder escaped.

Cards fifth – A hit
Mulder sliced a single to left that dropped in front of Floyd with two down for the second Cards hit of the night. That was it.

Mets sixth – KK
Paul Lo Duca was called out looking and Beltran was too to end another quick frame.

Cards sixth – Being cautious burns Mets
With one down, Pujols was carefully pitched to and walked for the 34th time this season. Edmonds was retired before Rolen golfed a double into the left field gap. As it rolled to the wall, Pujols scored standing up all the way from first base. Cards 1-0.

Mets seventh – Breezing
Mulder retired his eighth in a row and collected his fifth strikeout as he retired Floyd looking.

Cards seventh – Mulder with the bat
Mulder collected his second hit of the night on a 3-1 count. His two-out single was hit cleanly to right center. It was the Cards fourth hit of the evening. He was stranded.

Mets eighth – One more inning
Three more make 11 consecutive Mets set down by Mulder.

Cards eighth – Some excitement
So Taguchi hit for Rodriguez against reliever Duaner Sanchez. He worked a lead-off walk ahead of Pujols. Albert hit a tapper that Sanchez threw wide of first, but Delgado did a nice job hauling it in and stepping on the bag. So moved into scoring position. Edmonds took an intentional pass. Rolen hit a line drive to first, but So was caught in a rundown between second and third to end it.

Mets ninth – Izzy does his job
Braden Looper, not Jason Isringhausen, was up and throwing in the Cardinals pen. Reyes led off with a double into the gap that Encarnacion knocked down. Edmonds picked it up in time to keep Reyes from taking third base. Lo Duca bunted him over there, anyway. That got Izzy up, too. Mulder walked Beltran, with several high and wide pitches. Delgado was hit by an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. La Russa pulled Mulder, who departed to the sight and sound of a standing ovation. Bigbie and Izzy came in on the double switch. Izzy fanned David Wright swinging for the second out. Cliff Floyd was the Mets' last chance and grounded out to Pujols unassisted for the 27th out.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
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 brwalton@earthlink.net.

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