Game Observations – Sat. 6/10 – Brewers 4-3

In the second of their three-game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals lost by a 4-3 score on Saturday evening at Miller Park. The Cardinals' record is now 36-25 as the series is tied at one game apiece. With a Reds loss to the Cubs, the Cards' ½ game lead in the NL Central remained intact.

In the second of their three-game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals lost by a 4-3 score on Saturday evening at Miller Park. The Cardinals' record is now 36-25 as the series is tied at one game apiece. With a Reds loss to the Cubs, the Cards' ½ game lead in the NL Central remained intact.

Three of the four Brewers runs were gimmies as part of the eight walks issued by the Cards staff. Jason Marquis looked very uncomfortable all evening, but somehow managed to give up just two runs despite walking five and allowing five hits in six innings. That, believe it or not, was a quality start, by definition at least. But, the pen wasn't up to the task on this night, as Adam Wainwright (a hit and a run), Randy Flores (three walks and a run) and Braden Looper (three hits) teamed up to issue the tying and winning runs.

David Eckstein singled, doubled and walked. Chris Duncan also singled and doubled. Juan Encarnacion had a pair of hits and Scott Rolen hit a solo home run. But, the Cards couldn't do quite enough with 11 hits and a walk.

One year ago today
On June 10, 2005, the Cardinals won 8-1 over the New York Yankees at Busch behind Jason Marquis who went eight innings, allowing only one run on six hits while striking out three. Albert Pujols was a triple short of hitting for the cycle and drove in two. Jim Edmonds and Reggie Sanders each singled twice and scored.

The match-up
Jason Marquis opposed Chris Capuano.

The line-up
Eckstein, Taguchi (LF), Rolen, Encarnacion, Edmonds (CF), Luna (2B), Duncan (1B), Bennett and Marquis.
Back in: Jim Edmonds marked his return to centerfield as Chris Duncan covers first. Hector Luna moved from left to second. Gary Bennett was given a start.
Out: Scott Spiezio, Aaron Miles and Yadier Molina were given the night off.

On to the game…

Cards first – Spark plug plugs
David Eckstein does what he does best – get on base. He doubled leading off. Eckstein moved to third on a Rolen fly ball for the second out, but that was it.

Brewers first – Two walks
Rickie Weeks walked leading off. With one down, so did Geoff Jenkins. Uh-oh! But, with the clean-up hitter, Carlos Lee up, Marquis induced a ground out double play.

Cards second – Two in
Hector Luna singled with one out and took third on a Chris Duncan double. Gary Bennett singled the first run home. Marquis ground into a force out at second, but Duncan was able to come home. Eckstein singled but So flied out to end it. Cards 2-0.

Brewers second – Playing with fire
Prince Fielder led off with a ground rule double to left. More trouble ahead? Yep, he then walked Damian Miller. But, a force out and a double play again enabled Marquis to keep the Brew Crew off the board. Brewers centerfielder Brady Clark was injured on the play and had to leave the game.

Cards third – Rolen is
Rolen homered over the left field wall. Carlos Lee leapt to try to bring it back into play, but it was past his reach. Encarnacion singled to center, but Edmonds grounded into a 4-6-3. Cards 3-0.

Brewers third – Marquis strugging
Marquis started the inning by walking his opposite number, Capuano. Not good at all. A wild pitch moved Capuano up with one out, removing the double play. Double bad. Bill Hall lined out to the warning track in left. A Jenkins base hit to center scored the runner. Carlos Lee's single to right center put them on the corners. Fielder flied out to center to end the damage. Cards 3-1.

Cards fourth – Doubled up
Duncan singled to left, but Bennett's 6-4-3 stopped that.

Brewers fourth – In order?
Marquis seems overly concerned about the index finger on his pitching hand, looking at it and blowing on it frequently as he steps off the mound. But, he had his first 1-2-3 inning.

Cards fifth – Big guys miss RISP
David Eckstein took a lead-off walk. So bounced into a force out at second base. He took second as Rolen struck out on a ball in the dirt. Juan whiffed on a low breaking ball to end the inning.

Brewers fifth – Walk comes around again
A strikeout on a curve started the inning well for Marquis. Then trouble returned. Weeks took a walk on a pitch that looked like strike three. It was Marquis' fifth free pass in five innings. More hand blowing and licking. Hall then singled past a diving Eckstein. Carlos Lee singled toward the middle with two out. Eckstein saved one run as he stopped the ball from getting past, but Weeks scored. Cards 3-2.

Cards sixth – Collision course
Luna legged out an infield single with one out, but he seemed to experience a bit of difficulty as he passed the bag. He stayed in. Fielder got in the baseline on a wild throw from Corey Koskie at third. Gary Bennett had nowhere to go but to run into Fielder. The two managed to avoid injury.

Brewers sixth – Marquis should be done
Marquis ended strong with another 1-2-3. Time to get him out when he can only win.

Cards seventh – All Caps fired
Thank you. Scott Spiezio hit for Marquis. He flied out. Capuano retired Eckstein and Taguchi to also end his night on a positive note – at least as positive as it can be when you are behind.

Brewers seventh – Adam's bad eve
Adam Wainwright took over. He drilled Weeks with a pitch with one out, putting the tying run on first base. That hurt a lot as Bill Hall doubled into the left field corner to score Weeks. Exit WW, enter Flores, who fanned Jenkins swinging on a low and away slider. Carlos Lee took an intentional pass with the lefty Fielder next. Flores walked Fielder on four straight pitches to load the bases. Braden Looper hopped up in a hurry even though two more lefties are coming up if the inning continues. Damian Miller took a check swing strike three to end the major jam. Tie 3-3.

Cards eighth – Duncan can't deliver
Encarnacion singled to center off Matt Wise with one out. Edmonds forced him at second before Luna singled to right. Two on with two out, but Duncan went full before hitting a lazy fly to center.

Brewers eighth – More walks kill
Koskie took a lead-off walk issued by Flores. It was the Cards' eighth walk of a Brewer hitter on the evening. A sac bunt put Koskie on second as Looper came in to pitch. Pinch-hitter Corey Hart singled up the middle to score the lead run. Weeks singled. Jenkins also singled to load the bases. Lee was retired 6-4. Brewers 4-3.

Cards ninth – Closed out
Closer Derrick Turnbow came in. John Rodriguez pinch hit and struck out looking on a breaking ball. Two more outs ended the disappointing loss.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Sunday @ Brewers: Jeff Suppan vs. Dave Bush 1:05 p.m. WB11
Monday: Off day
Tuesday @ Pittsburgh: Chris Carpenter vs. Oliver Perez 6:05 p.m. FSNM
Wed. @ Pittsburgh: Sidney Ponson vs. Zach Duke 6:05 p.m. FSNM
Thurs. @ Pittsburgh: Mark Mulder vs. Victor Santos 11:35 a.m. FSNM
Friday vs. Rockies: Jason Marquis vs. Aaron Cook 7:10 p.m. FSNM

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

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