Game Observations – Fri. 5/26 – Padres 7-1

The St. Louis Cardinals lost the first of the three-game weekend series against the San Diego Padres by an 7-1 score Friday evening at Petco Park. The Cards' record fell to 31-17, but since the Reds also lost, their NL Central lead remains four games.

The St. Louis Cardinals lost the first of the three-game weekend series against the San Diego Padres by an 7-1 score Friday evening at Petco Park. The Cards' record fell to 31-17, but since the Reds also lost, their NL Central lead remains four games.

Jeff Suppan was hit early and often, though he gutted it out, staying around for six innings. By then, the final score was established. Offensive highlights were few and far between as the Cards apparently left their bats at the hotel. David Eckstein had a pair of hits, increasing his National League best multi-hit game mark to 20 this season.

An aside

Am I the only one who sees a resemblance between Marky Mark (pictured above) and Gary Bennett?

One year ago today
On May 26, 2005, the Cards were off, in between sweeping the Pirates at Busch and starting a three-game series with the Nationals, also at home. Their NL Central lead was already seven games.

The match-up
Jeff Suppan vs. Clay Hensley.

The line-up
Eckstein, Spiezio (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Encarnacion, Bennett, Miles and Suppan.
Jim Edmonds returned from two days off. Scott Spiezio took his third straight start in left. Gary Bennett is paired with Suppan as usual and Aaron Miles came in for Hector Luna against the righty Hensley. Apparently, a number of the Cardinals have been slowed by a bug, perhaps including Suppan.

On to the game…

Cards first – Two RISP lost
With one out, Spiezio doubled off the wall into the deepest part of the park, 402 feet away. Pujols was intentionally walked. Rolen's fly ball to deep center moved both runners into scoring position for Jim Edmonds. He went full count, then fouled off three more before grounding out barely, 3-1.

Padres first – Lead taken
Speedy leadoff man Dave Roberts shot a home run to right. Pads 1-0.

Cards second – Joshed
Second baseman Josh Barfield made a highlight reel play, diving behind shortstop Khalil Greene to avoid the collision and catch Encarnacion's blooper on the way to a 1-2-3 inning. As an aside, Greene reminds me of Tanner, the feisty blond kid from "The Bad News Bears".

Padres second – Suppan slapped
Greene doubled into the left field corner, moved up on a productive out and scored on Geoff Blum's single. Barfield grounded into a fielders' choice at second. Hensley shot a pitch over Edmonds' head. The double scored Barfield from first. Roberts singled to center. Edmonds' throw home was awful, allowing Roberts to take second. Hensley stopped at third. Mike Cameron's single to center plated two more as Edmonds again made a poor throw. Cameron easily stole second base on the next pitch, but Brian Giles was retired. I can't think anything worse to watch than a West Coast game that is a washout early. I am going to hold out hope the Cards can come back while trying to stay awake. Pads 5-0.

Cards third – Ice broken
Eckstein dropped a single in no-man's land between second base and the two charging outfielders. Spiezio was retired on a nice diving play by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Pujols stepped in with two outs. His RBI single went up the middle. Cameron made a tremendous diving catch in right center to rob Rolen of a sure double and RBI to end it. Pads 5-1.

Padres third – Took one right back
Gonzalez went the other way on a homer to left with two out. Pads 6-1.

Cards fourth – Nada
Gary Bennett fanned swinging for the final out.

Padres fourth – No runs finally
Roberts took a walk on a 12-pitch at-bat and stole second base again. This time, Suppan pitched carefully to Cameron, walking him. Giles was again retired with a runner in scoring position for the third out.

Cards fifth – 1-2-3
Down in order.

Padres fifth – Piazza clubs one
One pitch after Gary Bennett dropped a foul ball in front of the Padres' dugout, Mike Piazza took a Suppan offering 432 feet deep to left. It was the second longest home run hit in the history of Petco Park. The Padres' TV broadcasters are really irritating in their vocal homerism. Geoff Blum just missed a home run to right before becoming the third out. Pads 7-1.

Cards sixth – Big guys hit ball hard
After Pujols just missed a double as Blum pulled down his shot heading down the third base line. Rolen followed with a two-out double to deep left-center. Edmonds' one-hopper to third ended it.

Padres sixth – Still not a clean frame
Roberts singled to center with two outs, but that was it.

Cards seventh – In order again
Hard to score with no baserunners.

Padres seventh – Leadoff double stranded
Against Josh Hancock, Giles dropped a bloop ground rule double just inside the left field line in between Spiezio and Rolen. Edmonds made a two-handed basket catch for the second out as Giles moved up. No more trouble.

Cards eighth – Two on again
Larry Bigbie, who had come into the game with Hancock to play right field, fanned swinging. Eckstein singled, becoming the Cards' second baserunner since the third inning. Spiezio grounded into a fielders' choice. Pujols was hit on the hip by a pitch before Rolen popped out to first. Hard to score even with baserunners.

Padres eighth – Garbage time moves… because
Hector Luna took over at short for Eckstein. I really don't know why. I guess Tony needed something to do in the dugout. Hancock had a 1-2-3 inning.

Cards ninth – Adkins diet of strikes
Jon Adkins walked Edmonds leading off. Chris Duncan pinch hit and struck out swinging on three pitches. Bennett and Miles also fanned – both looking.

Padres ninth – Nope
Didn't happen this night.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Saturday @ San Diego: Sidney Ponson vs. Chan Ho Park 3:05 p.m. Big Fox
Sunday @ San Diego: Mark Mulder vs. Jake Peavy 3:05 p.m. WB11
Monday vs. Houston: Jason Marquis vs. Roy Oswalt 3:15 p.m. FSNM
Tuesday vs. Houston: Chris Carpenter vs. Andy Pettitte 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Wed. vs. Houston: Jeff Suppan vs. Taylor Buchholz 12:10 p.m. FSNM/ESPN

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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