Game Observations – Friday – Cards 9-6

Scott Spiezio led the first-place Cardinals as they took the first game of their road "rivalry" series with the Kansas City Royals Friday night.

The first-place Cardinals took the first game of their road "rivalry" series with the Kansas City Royals by a 9-6 score on Friday night. The Cards' 26-15 record kept them ahead of the pack in the National League Central Division. They have won ten of their last 13 and 12 games over .500 represents their season-high water mark.

Starting to balance out his tough-luck season, Chris Carpenter won a game when he didn't pitch well. Perhaps the 89 degree temperature and high humidity bothered him as he allowed 12 baserunners and six runs in six innings. Adam Wainwright no-hit the Royals for the final 2-2/3 innings, surrendering just one walk and earning his first professional save in the process.

Offensively, four men scored two runs. Designated hitter Scott Spiezio was on base four times with three hits and a walk. Juan Encarnacion doubled and tripled. Albert Pujols slammed a two-run home run when the Cards were down by five runs early. Scott Rolen singled and doubled, driving home two.

One year ago today
On May 19, 2005, the Cardinals were defeated by the Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 7-4 as the Phillies won the series at two games to one. The Cardinals' NL Central lead over Milwaukee remained at six games. Jason Marquis pitched poorly, putting on 13 baserunners in just four innings, but surprisingly only gave up four runs. Overall, five Cards pitchers allowed 11 hits and 10 walks on the day. Reggie Sanders and David Eckstein each had two hits and scored. Eckstein stole two bases and Sanders one. Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols homered. The latter was a two-run shot.

The match-up
Chris Carpenter opposed Mark Redman. With interleague play, Carpenter had to be relieved that he did not have to take his at-bats. He actually has a losing career record (3-5) against the Royals, but those games were way back during his days in Toronto. Despite Carpenter having just three wins in his first nine starts, overall the starting five for the Cardinals have combined to post 20 wins, tops in the National League.

The line-up
Eckstein, Spiezio (DH), Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Edmonds, Taguchi, Molina and Luna.
Scott Spiezio moved from first base to the designated hitter spot and inhabits the #2 hole for the third game this season. In fact, Spiezio has hit in every spot in the order so far this season other than leadoff, #3 and #7. Batting in the #9 spot allows Hector Luna to be the second leadoff hitter. He, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina returned from taking Thursday off. With the lefty Redman in, Edmonds was dropped to #6.

On to the game…

Cards first – Quiet start
All three hitters went down without getting the ball out of the infield, including Pujols extending current streak to 0-for-13.

Royals first – Right side a little shaky
Pujols just barely beat the runner Mark Grudzielanek to the bag for the first out. How many of us cringed when Pujols slid into the bag? Luna muffed Doug Mientkiewicz' grounder to second, but recovered in time to throw him out to end the inning.

Cards second – Ended fast
Rolen drew a leadoff walk. After an Encarnacion fly ball, Edmonds grounded into a 4-6-3.

Royals second – Big mess
Carp hit his former teammate Reggie Sanders by a pitch. Matt Stairs walked and Emil Brown loaded the bases with a walk. Still no out. Tony Graffanino reached via a force out at second base as the first run scored. Another came in on an Angel Berroa grounder as Rolen thought about coming home, but changed his mind and went to first. John Buck's single to right scored Tony G. Royals 3-0.

Cards third – A baserunner
Luna reached via a two-out single past a diving Berroa at short. Eckstein hit into an inning-ending force play at second.

Royals third – All these runs are earned
Mientkiewicz singled with one out. Sanders made Carpenter pay for that hit-by-pitch with a home run to center. As Carp's curveball misses time and time again, Stairs took a free pass. Molina came out for a chat. Emil Brown hit into a fielders choice on a 3-0 pitch. Carp is laboring badly, with the sweat running off his cap. Graffanino singled past Luna, which caused two people to get up - Dave Duncan came out to the mound while Tyler Johnson got up in the pen. Finally, the third out was recorded. Royals 5-0.

Cards fourth – Albert's slump over
Spiezio dropped a bunt single down the third base line leading off. Albert followed with his 20th home run of the season onto the grass hill in center. Rolen singled to left and Encarnacion doubled on a chopper over third base to put two in scoring position. Four straight hits and no outs led to a mound conference. A 2-2 change-up to Taguchi bounced off the plate, allowing Rolen to score. As So grounded out to short, Encarnacion came home, too. Molina took a four-pitch walk before Luna flied out. Royals 5-4.

Royals fourth – Two more on base
Shane Costa singled up the middle with one out. Grudz reached on a fielders choice. Molina almost picked Grudz off first as Pujols' tag may have been just high. Mientkiewicz walked to bring Sanders up again, but he fanned on a cutter outside.

Cards fifth – Redman canned
Eckstein singled leading off and a wild pitch put him on second base. Spiezio worked a full count after going 0-2 before his single to left tied the game. "Let's go, Cardinals" chants were very audible as Redman departed in favor of Joel Peralta. On the first pitch, Pujols' hit and run was successful and put runners on the corners. The second pitch by Peralta was shot into the left field corner by Rolen. When Brown didn't get to the ball quickly, Pujols just kept on running home. The relay wasn't even close. Encarncion's shot to center went over Costa's head for an RBI triple. The Royals are still looking for an out and got one from Jim Edmonds, who didn't get the runner home. Taguchi bunted the run home on a successful suicide squeeze. The ball chopped off the plate and by the time it came down, Juan had crossed the plate. Cards 9-5.

Royals fifth – Official win for Carp in line
Emil Brown singled with one out, but that was it. Carp has hit 80 pitches. Now that he has his requisite five innings in, how about giving the bullpen some extra work?

Cards sixth – DHot
Spiezio singled to right with two out for this third hit of the night. He was stranded, but seems like a good choice as the designated hitter.

Royals sixth – One back
Costa doubled with one down. Mientkiewicz' two-out double scored the run. It looked as if it could have been foul as La Russa came out. But, it still counts. Carp's third K of the inning was Sanders swinging. Cards 9-6.

Cards seventh – Table turning
Costa made a very nice sliding catch in left center to retire Edmonds to end the inning.

Royals seventh – TLR's pitching-go-round
Tyler Johnson took over. Stairs grounded out on the first and only pitch by Johnson. Adam Wainwright was next. He walked his first hitter, Brown. Graffanino grounded out as Brown took second. Berroa grounded out for out #3.

Cards eighth – Albert doesn't cash in
So reached on a shortshop error leading off against Joe Nelson. Luna singled to right. Spiezio reached again via a two-out walk. Pujols stranded the bases loaded to end the inning. Rarely does he miss RBI opps like that. Trade the bum!

Royals eighth – Nearing the end
Wainwright slipped a K in between two ground outs.

Cards ninth – Wood burn
Rolen was hit by a Mike Wood pitch, but that was it. Costa made another comparable play in left-center as before.

Royals ninth – Save for Adam
Pujols made his second fine defensive play of the night as he dove to his left to retire Mientkiewicz. Wainwright finished them off shortly thereafter for 2-2/3 solid frames and his first career save.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday @ KC: Anthony Reyes vs. Denny Bautista 6:10 p.m. WB11
Sunday @ Kansas City: Jeff Suppan vs. Scott Elarton 1:10 p.m. WB11
Monday @ San Francisco: Mark Mulder vs. Jamey Wright 9:15 p.m. FSNM
Tuesday @ San Fran: Jason Marquis vs. Mike Matthews 9:15 p.m. FSNM
Wed. @ San Fran: Chris Carpenter vs. Noah Lowry 2:35 p.m. FSNM
Thursday: Off day

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

© 2006 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories