Game Observations – Sun. 6/11 – Cards 7-5

The St. Louis Cardinals won their weekend series in Milwaukee, winning the rubber match by a 7-5 score on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park. The Cardinals' record is now 37-25 and their NL Central lead is back to 1-½ games.

The St. Louis Cardinals won their weekend series in Milwaukee, winning the rubber match by a 7-5 score on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park. The Cardinals' record is now 37-25 and their NL Central lead is back to 1-½ games.

It was a tale of two games, as runs were scored in each of the first eight half innings, but there was not even a baserunner during the final eight.

Jeff Suppan started but didn't fare well. He allowed eleven baserunners and departed one batter into the fourth. Amazingly, the bullpen allowed just one hit for the next 4-2/3 innings. Overall, the staff fanned ten. Josh Hancock was awarded the win by the official scorer. Jason Isringhausen collected his 20th save of the year in dominating fashion.

David Eckstein had two hits, scored two and stole a base. Jim Edmonds doubled twice and drove in two. Yadier Molina hit a solo home run. Scott Rolen's hit streak ended at 14 games, but he walked twice and scored both times.

Congrats to Reggie
Reggie Sanders became the fifth player ever to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases in his career. Wouldn't it have been nice for him to have taken a one-year deal to stay in St. Louis instead of a two-year deal in baseball purgatory, Kansas City? A great player and a classy individual.

One year ago today
On June 11, 2005, the Cardinals fell to Randy Johnson and the New York Yankees 5-0 at Busch Stadium. The offense managed just five hits and struck out seven times against The Big Unit. Mark Grudzielanek went 2-for-4 with two singles. Mark Mulder lasted six innings, giving up four runs on three walks and seven hits.

The match-up
Jeff Suppan took on former Blue Jays pitcher Dave Bush. Suppan is 11-2 against the Brewers in his career and 5-0 at Miller Park. Those 11 wins are his most against any team and Suppan's next win will be the 100th of his career.

The line-up
Eckstein, Rodriguez (LF), Rolen, Encarnacion, Edmonds (CF), Duncan (1B), Molina Luna (2B) and Suppan.
Back in: John Rodriguez and Yadier Molina
Out: So Taguchi and Gary Bennett
Chris Duncan moved from seven to six. Hector Luna stayed in with five hits the last two days, but was dropped to eighth in the order. Scott Rolen came in tied for his career-high hitting streak at 14 games and leads the National League with his .341 batting average. John Rodriguez comes in 1-for-June, with an .091 average.

On to the game…

Cards first – Edmonds comes thru
David Eckstein led off with a single like he seems to do so often. He stole second as Rodriguez fanned. Rolen drew a full-count walk. Jim Edmonds hit an opposite-field ball to the left-center gap, scoring both. Encarnacion and Duncan couldn't do more damage, though. Cards 2-0..

Brewers first – Lead halved
Rickie Weeks homered to left on an 0-2 count leading off. Suppan fanned a couple before he retired Lee 5-3. Cards 2-1..

Cards second – Took it back
Yadier Molina blasted the first pitch of the inning into the second deck. Cards 3-1.

Brewers second – And again
Leading off, Prince Fielder put a 0-1 offering into the Cardinals bullpen. Corey Koskie drew a walk. Koskie moved up as Eckstein was almost cut off by Rolen before throwing out the hitter. Suppan walked the #8 hitter, Chad Moeller. Ugh! Soup dodged a major bullet when Bush faked the bunt, then hit a comebacker that he turned into a double play. Cards 3-2.

Cards third – Scoring every inning
Rolen took a one-out walk. Edmonds doubled again as he stroked the ball into the right field corner. However, the Cards got a bad break as the ball bounced out of play, meaning Rolen had to stop at third. Encarnacion's 6-3 scored Rolen, anyway. Duncan took strike three looking to end the frame. Cards 4-2.

Brewers third – How about 1-2-3?
The bad trend continues as the Brewers plated another. Bill Hall homered with one out. Carlos Lee doubled and Prince Fielder walked with two down but were stranded when Corey Koskie fanned swinging. Cards 4-3.

Cards fourth – Inning scoring streak continues
Molina coaxed a lead-off walk. Luna singled up the middle. Suppan's sac bunt failed, as Fielder threw in time to third. Eckstein singled to center. Luna had stopped at third but the centerfielder bobbled the ball. So, everyone moved up. Rodriguez' single to right scored Suppan as Eckstein took third. Rolen brought him home when making the second out. Cards 7-3.

Brewers fourth – J-Rod's dive costly
Chad Moeller singled with one out. Weeks walked with two down. That brought Dave Duncan out. Bill Hall collected a triple as Rodriguez made an ill-advised gamble by diving and missing the ball. As it got past him and rolled to the wall, both runners came home. To top it off, he seemed to sprain his wrist on the dive. A called strike three to Jenkins caused the hitter to carp to the ump, Marvin Hudson. Ned Yost gave the ump his view and was ejected in the process. Cards 7-5.

Cards fifth – Zero on the board
Encarnacion dumped a single into the outfield leading off against new pitcher Jose Capellan. Duncan singled past third. Both runners moved into scoring position, but for the first time, the Cards did not score. Why did La Russa let Suppan hit with two runners in scoring position?

Brewers fifth – Wheels turning
Even before Suppan started the inning, the pen was getting ready. Good idea. So Taguchi took over in left for Rodriguez. Suppan walked the lead-off man, Lee, and that ended Soup's day. That decision makes him hitting in the previous frame even more questionable. Tyler Johnson took over on the mound. Koskie singled. With two down, Josh Hancock came on and collected the third out on a line drive to Rolen.

Cards sixth – Nothing to report
Finally an in-order frame, but it was for the wrong guys.

Brewers sixth – Perfect
Hancock also sent down his three.

Cards seventh – 1-2-3
Capellan is rolling.

Brewers seventh – Cruising
Randy Flores came on to pitch and Scott Spiezio took over at first. Flores got all three batters.

Cards eighth – Now another game entirely
Former closer Dan Kolb got all three of his men.

Brewers eighth – Rolling toward the end
Flores stayed on to get the first out. With a righty coming in, Corey Hart, Adam Wainwright took over. Tony La Russa had removed his sunglasses in the dugout. What does that mean? Two more outs occurred quickly.

Cards ninth – In a hurry
Another 1-2-3 inning. Surprising.

Brewers ninth – Izzy time
Jason Isringhausen came on to close the game. Fly ball, strikeout, fly ball. Game over.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
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
Saturday vs. Rockies: Jeff Suppan vs. Jeff Francis 6;15 p.m. FSNM
Sunday vs. Rockies: Chris Carpenter vs. Josh Fogg 1:15 p.m. WB11

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

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