Game Observations – Mon. 6/26 – Indians 10-3

Returning home, the Cardinals reverted to poor starting performances, this time by Jason Marquis, as the Cleveland Indians won 10-3 Monday night.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp

On Monday evening, the St. Louis Cardinals lost their seventh in a row, as the Cleveland Indians prevailed by a 10-3 mark at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals' record is now 42-33 as their NL Central lead dropped to 1-1/2 games over Cincinnati.

Jason Marquis allowed seven runs in six innings, including three home runs on the night. His 19 this season is worst in the game. Josh Hancock was the most ineffective of three relievers, yielding two runs in just 1/3 of an inning.

In a telling stat, the two offenses managed the same number of hits, 12. However, the Cards had just two extra-base hits while the Tribe had seven, four of which were home runs. Scott Rolen had three hits, including a double. So Taguchi had three singles and Hector Luna hit a single and a double.

One year ago today
On June 26, 2005, the Pirates came from behind with three home runs that accounted for all their runs in a 5-4 win. Jason Bay hit two and Jose Castillo blasted the game-winner in the tenth inning off Al Reyes. Abraham Nunez went 3-for-3 and Reggie Sanders and Yadier Molina each hit home runs. The Cards split their four-game series with Pittsburgh.

The match-up
Jason Marquis vs. Cliff Lee.

The line-up
Eckstein, Taguchi (CF), Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Luna, Molina, Miles and Marquis.
Back in: So Taguchi, Juan Encarnacion, Hector Luna, Yadier Molina.
Out: Timo Perez, Jim Edmonds, Scott Spiezio (DH), John Rodriguez, Gary Bennett.
The only noteworthy change is Jim Edmonds returning to the bench, one day after he rejoined the lineup.

On to the game…

Indians first – Molina's gun
Lead-off man Grady Sizemore started the game with a single, but he was gunned down trying to steal by Molina on a very close play at second base.

Cards first – First RISP
Pujols and Rolen each singled with two down. Encarnacion flied out to center on the first pitch he saw.

Indians second – Them, too
Catcher Victor Martinez doubled into the left field corner with one out, but was stranded.

Cards second – Double wasted
Luna led off with a ball to center that Sizemore tried make a diving catch on. He wasn't close and as the ball got past him, Luna cruised into second. But, Lee fanned the side to escape easily.

Indians third – Long ball
Light-hitting Franklin Gutierrez singled under Marquis' glove leading off. Sizemore shot a two-run home run into the right field pen with one down. Ronnie Belliard singled to left on a ball that Luna should have caught. The ball was coming right at him and he backed off before the ball dropped in front of him. No further damage, though. Indians 2-0.

Cards third – Something but not everything
So singled to left with one out. Pujols took an unintentional intentional walk. Rolen's double into the left field corner made the Tribe pay. But, two popups ended a great chance for a big inning. Indians 2-1.

Indians fourth – Variety pack
Ground out, fly out, strike out.

Cards fourth – Pecking away
Miles singled to left with one out. Eckstein singled to center with two down. Taguchi dropped a clutch RBI single to left to collect the RBI and it gave Pujols a chance to bat. But, he grounded out to third to strand two. Tie 2-2.

Indians fifth – Falling apart
Starting the inning, Gutierrez doubled on a slicer into the third base stands. The pitcher Lee moved the runner over to third. Belliard was grazed by an up-and-in 3-2 offering. Jhonny Peralta blasted a ball to right that bounced off the wall. Encarnacion played it poorly. As the ball got away, two runs scored and the batter was given a triple. It seemed more like a double and an error than a triple. But, it didn't matter as Travis Hafner skied a ball into the back of the Cardinals pen to clear the bases. Indians 6-2.

Cards fifth – Little action
Encarnacion drew a two-out walk. He was on first base for about 20 seconds before a fly ball to center ended the inning.

Indians sixth – No cameras here
Todd Hollandsworth hit a line drive out deep to right for the Tribe's third home run of the night. Josh Hancock began to warm up. Indians 7-2.

Cards sixth – 1-2-3 Lee
Timo Perez fanned swinging, pinch hitting for Marquis. Martinez committed an error, dropping a foul popup of Eckstein's, but he grounded out on the next pitch anyway to end the inning.

Indians seventh – Hancock cooked
Josh Hancock walked the first batter he faced, Sizemore. This time, he stole second base. A wild pitch on a walk put runners on the corners with one out. As Tyler Johnson warmed up, Hancock walked another. La Russa must be conceding the game, as Hancock stayed on. A line drive single off Rolen's glove was an RBI single for Martinez. Johnson came in and yielded a sacrifice fly to score the ninth run before getting the third out. Indians 9-2.

Cards seventh – Get Rolen some help
Fausto Carmona pitched. So Taguchi hit a ball past short that was a borderline error. He was given a single, of course. Pujols hit into a 1-6-3 before Rolen doubled to left just after getting pitched way up and in. It is Rolen's third hit of the night. He scored on an Encarnacion flare to right. Luna singled up the middle. Indians 9-3.

Indians eighth – Brad aok
Brad Thompson came on to pitch. Ramon Vazquez singled with one out, but he was stranded.

Cards eighth – Let's go home
Two ground outs and a strikeout made for a quick frame.

Indians ninth – Brad not ok
Thompson stayed on for a second inning. Travis Hafner hit his second home run of the night, a blast to left center. Indians 10-3.

Cards ninth – Lights out
Fernando Cabrera retired three straight to end the game.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Tuesday vs. Indians: Anthony Reyes vs. C.C. Sabathia 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Wednesday vs. Indians: Chris Carpenter vs. Jake Westbrook 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Thursday: Off day
Friday vs. Royals: Jeff Suppan vs. Brandon Duckworth 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Saturday vs. Royals: Sidney Ponson vs. Mark Redman 6:15 p.m. WB11
Sunday vs. Royals: Jason Marquis vs. Mike Wood 1:15 p.m. WB11

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

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