Game Observations – Sun. 5/28 – Padres 10-8

The St. Louis Cardinals lost the rubber match of the three-game weekend series against the San Diego Padres by a 10-8 score Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. The Cards blew a 6-2 lead as Mark Mulder was unable to get out of the fifth inning. Seven extra base hits and 16 hits overall weren't enough this day for St. Louis. Yet, their road trip ended 6-3.

The St. Louis Cardinals lost the rubber match of the three-game weekend series against the San Diego Padres by a 10-8 score Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. The Cards' record dropped to 32-18, and their road trip ended 6-3 due in a large part to the hospitality of the Kansas City Royals.

Mark Mulder continued his struggles, blowing a 6-2 lead. He was left in long enough to allow eight runs in 4-1/3 innings to the second-to-the-worst hitting team in the National League. Following him, Brad Thompson also struggled.

Seven different Cardinals players had extra base hits, including home runs by Juan Encarnacion, Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen. They also had nine singles. But, that wasn't enough.

One year ago today
On May 28, 2005, the Cardinals defeated the Washington Nationals 3-1. The Cards had two home runs - a solo blast by Jim Edmonds his 100th career shot at Busch Stadium) and a two run homer by Yadier Molina. Jeff Suppan carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits. Jason Isringhausen retired three straight in the ninth for his 14th save.

The match-up
A pair of former All-Stars met as Mark Mulder opposed Jake Peavy.

The line-up
Eckstein, Rodriguez (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Taguchi (CF), Molina, Miles and Mulder.
John Rodriguez replaced Scott Spiezio and Aaron Miles sat Hector Luna down. Jim Edmonds remained out with a bug.

On to the game…

Cards first – Eck did his job
Eckstein doubled leading off, and Rodriguez sacrificed him up, but neither Pujols nor Rolen could get him home. Pujols fanned.

Padres first – Yadi does it again
Mike Cameron singled to right with one out. Giles was plunked in the head with a Mulder breaking ball. Cameron took off for third and Molina dropped the ball. At least Giles stayed at first. Molina took a hard shot from Cameron as Pujols came home on a chopper by Vinny Castilla. But, Yadi held on for the out. Khalil Greene flied out to end it.

Cards second – Express blast
Leading off, Encarnacion shot a line drive home run to left field. It was the Cards' first home run of the series. Molina singled with one out. Miles took his place on a fielders' choice. Barfield made a nice stop and throw from short right field to just beat Mulder to the bag. Mulder may have been able to leg it out if he had run full speed the whole way. Cards 1-0.

Padres second – More trouble dodged
Mulder fanned Bellhorn on a breaking pitch at least a foot outside. With one out, Encarnacion just missed a diving catch on Josh Bard's sinking liner to right. Taguchi picked up the ball quickly and a good throw would have gotten Bard at second base. It wasn't. Another strikeout and a ground out ended it, though.

Cards third – Albert whiffs
Pujols ended the inning by striking out swinging on three consecutive pitches. Peavy has Albert's number for sure.

Padres third – Not in order yet
Giles singled to right with two outs, but Castilla flied out to end the inning.

Cards fourth – There are plenty K's in Peavy
Rolen and Encarnacion fanned leading off. That makes four "K's" in a row for Peavy. So doubled between third base and the line. Molina was out 5-3 to end it.

Padres fourth – B2B bombs
With one out, Mark Bellhorn clubbed a home run to deepest center to tie the game for about 20 seconds. The next pitch was hammed by Josh Bard into the third deck to give San Diego the lead. They were Mulder's ninth and tenth allowed this season. Padres 2-1.

Cards fifth – Can't fool Albert three times
Miles doubled off the scoreboard in right on a full-count pitch. It was just Miles' second extra base hit since April 19. With Mulder sacrificing, Peavy made a bad decision to throw to third. Miles beat the throw, so both runners were safe. Eckstein singled to right to collect the RBI. John Rodriguez shot a double over the first baseman to score Mulder. Pujols hammered his 24th home run way out to center with first base open and two runners in scoring position. My bet is that Pujols had gone down and looked at video of his first two strikeouts with Video Coordinator Chad Blair. His RBI count is 61 now. So Taguchi singled with two out, but Molina was retired. Cards 6-2.

Padres fifth – Mulder meltdown; Brad buzzed
Eric Young and Mike Cameron led off with a pair of singles. As Giles hit a chopper to Pujols, his throw was dropped by Mulder, as he tried to catch the toss barehanded. Vinny Castilla hit a fly ball to right, but amazingly, the speedy Young didn't tag up. Mulder walked a run in as Khalil Greene took first. Brad Thompson began to warm up quickly as Dave Duncan came out to buy time. Bellhorn clubbed a bases-clearing double to tie the game. La Russa and Duncan kept Mulder in the game. Why? Josh Bard's two run blast to left ended Mulder's day a batter or two too late. Barfield greeted Thompson with a double into left. Geoff Blum hit for Peavy, singling up the middle to collect the ninth RBI. The Padres have batted around this inning as Young walked. Blum scored on a Cameron single to left and Rodriguez' throw home was weak. That makes four straight baserunners allowed by Brad before he fanned Giles swinging on two high pitches. Vinny Castilla was hit on the elbow to re-load the bases, but the 14th batter of the inning popped out. Padres 10-6.

Cards sixth –One back
Brian Sweeney is the new pitcher. Miles singled to right and took second on a missed hit and run by Thompson as Bard's throw to second was awful. Thompson bunted toward third and legged out an infield single in the process that should have been an error on Sweeney. Eckstein's 6-3 scored a run as Thompson moved to second. Rodriguez shortened up and singled to left, putting runners at the corners. Jon Adkins was called on to pitch to Pujols with only one out still and walked him. Pujols threw the bat away but it almost hit Rolen, the next batter. He grounded into a damaging 6-4-3 to ruin the rally. Padres 10-7.

Padres sixth – No trouble, really
So made a nice running catch on the track in center for the second out. Barfield and Blum each singled, but Thompson got out of the inning unscathed.

Cards seventh – Losing chances
Taguchi singled but was quickly erased in another inning-ender.

Padres seventh – Finally
Tyler Johnson took over on the mound. Scott Spiezio came in to play left as J-Rod moved to right and Encarnacion slid over to center. It was the first time the Padres were finally retired in order.

Cards eighth – No Pujols
Scott Linebrink is the new pitcher. Miles greeted him with his third hit of the day, a single to left. Spiezio flied out in foul territory in right. Eckstein fanned and Rodriguez flied out to short center. Pujols will hit in the ninth with the bases empty.

Padres eighth – Dragging on
Barfield singled to left with two out as Johnson is still in there. Barfield stole second base. One more runner reached before the third out was collected.

Cards ninth – Too little, too late
Closer Trevor Hoffman took over. With one out, Rolen hit a line drive home run into the upper deck in left. Hector Luna singled with two down and pinch-hitter Jim Edmonds came to the plate representing the tying run. He flied out to left on the first pitch. Padres 10-8.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Monday vs. Houston: Jason Marquis vs. Roy Oswalt 3:15 p.m. FSNM
Tuesday vs. Houston: Chris Carpenter (or Anthony Reyes) vs. Andy Pettitte 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Wed. vs. Houston: Jeff Suppan vs. Taylor Buchholz 12:10 p.m. FSNM/ESPN
Thursday: Off day

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

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