Game Observations – Fri. 6/16 – Cards 8-1

The St. Louis Cardinals won the first of their weekend series against the Colorado Rockies at Busch by an 8-1 score Friday night. The Cardinals' record is now 40-26 and their NL Central lead grew to 3.5 games over Cincinnati.

The St. Louis Cardinals won the first of their weekend series against the Colorado Rockies at Busch by an 8-1 score Friday night. The Cardinals' record is now 40-26 and their NL Central lead grew to 3.5 games over Cincinnati.

Jason Marquis pitched very well, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks over eight innings. He won his ninth game of the season and hasn't lost since May 8, ironically to these same Rockies.

The offense managed just two runs through seven innings, but broke the game open in the eighth. Five players collected doubles – Marquis, Timo Perez, Aaron Miles, Juan Encarnacion and John Rodriguez. Rodriguez, Edmonds (two runs scored) and Hector Luna each had two hits. Six different players had RBI, led by Luna's two.

One year ago today
On June 16, 2005, the Cardinals were off, in between road series at Toronto (1-2) and Tampa Bay (3-0). The Birds held a 6.5 game lead in the NL Central, growing to 11.5 by the All-Star break.

The match-up
Jason Marquis vs. Aaron Cook.

The line-up
Miles, Rodriguez (LF), Rolen, Edmonds (CF), Encarnacion, Duncan (1B), Molina, Luna (SS) and Marquis.
Back in: Aaron Miles, John Rodriguez, Yadier Molina.
Out: David Eckstein, So Taguchi, Gary Bennett
Luna continues to play every day, but at his fourth different position of the week. With Eckstein sitting for just the second time all year due to a mild concussion sustained in Pittsburgh, Miles was asked to lead off, also for the second time.

On to the game…

Rockies first – Good start
Marquis cruised through a 1-2-3 first.

Cards first – RISP wasted
John Rodriguez doubled down the first base line for a one-out double. He went to third on a Rolen ground out, but Edmonds stranded him there.

Rockies second – A runner
Brad Hawpe took a two-out walk to become the first Rockies baserunner of the evening. The third out was quickly collected.

Cards second – Nothing doing
No action on the bases.

Rockies third – The Lonesome Death of Jamey Carroll
Jamey Carroll reached on a chopper off Mulder's glove to Miles. By the time Miles could get the ball out of his glove, Carroll was credited with a two-out single. The inning ended as Molina threw out Carroll trying to steal. He sat there alone as the Cardinals defense left the field.

Cards third – Impatience or aggressiveness?
Marquis shot a ball into left and hustled his way into a double with one out. Miles swung at the first pitch. At least his ground out moved Marquis up. Rodriguez grounded out on the very next offering.

Rockies fourth – K
Another in-order frame included Marquis' first strikeout of the evening.

Cards fourth – Ice broken
Edmonds singled up the middle with one out. Encarnacion doubled into the right field corner, but Edmonds held up at third. Duncan's sac fly scored the run as the left fielder Matt Holliday, made a lousy throw home. Molina stroked the first pitch he saw to left center for the second RBI. Cards 2-0.

Rockies fifth – Two on
Hawpe took a one-out walk. Yorvit Torrealba followed with a single. But, Marquis ended the frame with another strikeout. Granted, it was against Cook, but it was still a K. Just ask Mulder about retiring his opposite number.

Cards fifth – Two hits for J-Rod
Rodriguez singled to right with two out, but was stranded.

Rockies sixth – "I lost it"
Helton popped a ball to short right on a ball that both Encarnacion and Miles lost in the lights or the sky for a cheap single with two out. Holliday's check-swing third strike on appeal was Marquis' third inning-ending strikeout. 83 pitches so far for Jason.

Cards sixth – Cook cooking
Leading off, Edmonds looked especially bad striking out on three pitches. Two more quick outs followed.

Rockies seventh – Hawpe with pop
With one out, Hawpe homered just inside the right field foul pole. Apparently in a rhyming mood, Al said, "This guy's got a lot of pop." Cards 2-1.

Cards seventh – Hope, but no hope
Luna singled to right with one out, but Marquis grounded into a double play.

Rockies eighth – Marquis guts it out
Jorge Piedra pinch hit for Cook and flied out on his first pitch. With Carroll batting, Marquis took a ball off the outside of his right ankle and was checked out by Trainer Barry Weinberg. Marquis took a few extra tosses, but stayed in the game. Ryan Spilborghs singled to short right with two down. Tyler Johnson is warming up in the pen as the dangerous Todd Helton stepped in against Marquis. Braden Looper is also getting ready in case he is needed. On several full count pitches, Helton fouled them off before flying out to right.

Cards eighth – Burger time is run time
Scott Dohmann pitched for the Rockies. Miles doubled over the center fielder's head leading off. So Taguchi pinch hit for Rodriguez. His job is to get the runner over or in. It took just one pitch for him to lay down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Rolen was walked intentionally to get to the struggling Edmonds. Ray King came in to face him. Edmonds singled to right field on the first pitch. A hustling Rolen took third and as the offline throw from right got away, allowing an alert Edmonds to take second without a throw. Encarnacion took a four-pitch walk to load the bases and set up the force out. Scott Spiezio pinch hit for Duncan. His four balls were not planned, as Rolen trotted home. Bye, bye, Ray. In came Ramon Ramirez with still just one out to face Molina, who looked bad as the bat flew from his hands on one pitch before he popped up to first. Luna singled to center on his first pitch. Two runs scored as the Rockies cut off man Helton fired wildly past third, allowing Spiezio to score, too. Luna ended up at third. Pinch-hitter Timo Perez also was on the first pitch, hitting a ball into the right field corner for an RBI double. Cards 8-1.

Rockies ninth – Looper time
La Russa must have been clairvoyant, as he had Looper warming up even when it was a save situation. Looper had a quick 1-2-3 frame to end the evening.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
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
Monday: Off day
Tuesday @ White Sox: Sidney Ponson vs. Javier Vazquez 7:05 p.m. FSNM
Wednesday @ White Sox: Mark Mulder vs. Mark Buehrle 7:05 p.m. FSNM
Thursday @ White Sox: Jason Marquis vs. Freddy Garcia 7:05 p.m. FSNM

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

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