Game Observations – Tue. 6/13 – Cards 2-1

The St. Louis Cardinals won the first of their series in Pittsburgh, defeating the Pirates by a 2-1 score on Tuesday evening at PNC Park. The Cardinals' NL Central Division-best record is now 38-25.&nbsp

The St. Louis Cardinals won the first of their series in Pittsburgh, defeating the Pirates by a 2-1 score on Tuesday evening at PNC Park. The Cardinals' record is now 38-25 and their NL Central lead will be extended to 2-½ games if the Reds are unable to come back in their game in progress as this story is posted.

Chris Carpenter was dominating, allowing just three hits, none after the third inning and three walks through seven innings overall. Carp fanned a career-high 13 batters. Jason Isringhausen allowed a run in the ninth, but ended the game on a strikeout with the tying run on third. His MLB-leading save total is now 21.

Scott Rolen is on fire, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. His NL-best batting average improved to .351. Juan Encarnacion had two hits and an RBI.

One year ago today
On June 13, 2005, the Cardinals fell to the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, 4-1. Jays ace Roy Halladay held the Cardinals to just five hits, including a solo home run by John Mabry. Mabry and David Eckstein each had pair of hits. Jeff Suppan allowed three runs over his first two innings, then blanked the Jays over his last five frames.

The match-up
In his second start off the disabled list, reigning Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter faced Oliver Perez.

The line-up
Eckstein, Taguchi (LF), Rolen, Encarnacion, Edmonds (CF), Molina, Duncan (1B), Luna (2B) and Carpenter.
Back in: So Taguchi
Out: John Rodriguez, who injured his wrist in a diving catch attempt in Sunday's contest.
Hot-hitting Yadier Molina was moved up ahead of Chris Duncan at #6.

On to the game…

Cards first – A hit
Scott Rolen singled with two down, but Juan Encarnacion fanned swinging.

Pirates first – Another swinger
Sean Casey drew a two-out walk, but Carpenter fanned Jason Bay swinging.

Cards second – Variety pack
Fly out, ground out and pop out.

Pirates second – Wilson shows his legs
Freddy Sanchez singled with one out and Craig Wilson followed with an infield single to deep short that he legged out. They were stranded when Carp fanned Ronny Paulino looking.

Cards third – Going fast
Another 1-2-3 for Perez.

Pirates third – Double
Sean Casey shot a liner between Duncan and first base. It went down into the corner for a two-out double. He was stranded.

Cards fourth – Ice broken
With one out, Rolen dumped a flare into short right, but kept right on running and slid into second just ahead of the tag. Great hustle brought a run as Encarnacion hit the next pitch up the middle for an RBI single. Edmonds singled past the diving second baseman. Molina worked the count for eight pitches, then singled to right to load the bases. Fourth hit in a row. Duncan looked awful, as he went full count and then fanned on six straight pitches out of the strike zone. Most of them were offspeed pitches low and away. Luna was the third out as he lined to left. Cards 1-0.

Pirates fourth – Lotsa Ks
Sanchez fanned for the second out. But, Craig Wilson followed with a walk. Carp went full on Paulino before striking him out again. It was Carp's seventh strikeout of the night.

Cards fifth – Two-out run
Finishing his at-bat nicely, Taguchi drew a two-out walk after being down 0-2. When Rolen singled to left and the ball went into the corner, Jose Oquendo waved So home. Fortunately, relay man Jack Wilson fumbled the ball, enabling the run to score uncontested. However, that led to Rolen getting caught in a rundown between second and third. Not a great decision by Scott with two down. But, he did get the RBI. Cards 2-0.

Pirates fifth – Walker not runner
Jose Bautista walked with one out. He stayed there.

Cards sixth – Wasted hit
Encarnacion dropped a single into left leading off. But, nothing else doing.

Pirates sixth – Make it ten
Carp fanned two more.

Cards seventh – Three down
Nothing doing for 8-9-1 hitters.

Pirates seventh – Whiff-fest
Craig Wilson, Paulino (again) and pinch-hitter Nate McLouth fanned. Make that 13 Ks for Carp – a new career best.

Cards eighth – C'mon Juan!
Matt Capps took over on the mound for the Pirates. Rolen singled with one out, but Encarnacion grounded into a garden-variety inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Pirates eighth – To the pen
Braden Looper made an appearance in the role expected of him all season long – eighth inning man. After two outs, including a strikeout of Jack Wilson, he yielded to Randy Flores to get the lefty Casey, which he did on a lazy fly to left.

Cards ninth – That is all the offense
John Grabow retired the Cards in order.

Pirates ninth – Izzy time – no doubt (ha!)
Can Jason Isringhausen deal with a two-run lead? He fanned the Bucs' biggest threat leading off, Jason Bay. Joe Randa singled with one out and Freddy Sanchez seemed to do the same. Taguchi tried to keep the double play in order, throwing into second, but both runners kept running and ended up in scoring position. A sacrifice fly scored Randa. Ronny Paulino came up with the game on the line. A wild pitch put Sanchez on third as the ball went between Molina's legs. Paulino took a called strike three to end it. Cards 2-1.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Monday: Off day
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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