Game Observations – Sat. 7/15– Cards 2-1 (10)

The St. Louis Cardinals won their third straight in their four-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the second in extra innings, this time by a 2-1 score Saturday afternoon. It was the Cards' 22nd come-from-behind win of the season and their sixth straight win, four of them in extra innings.

Jeff Suppan pitched his best game of the season to-date, going seven full innings. He allowed just one run on five hits and walked two while striking out six. But, with little offensive support, Suppan was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the seventh and had to settle for a no decision. Adam Wainwright created and escaped from a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. Braden Looper handled the ninth and tenth well, getting the win.

What's new? Albert Pujols homered for the 31st time this season, providing the only Cardinal run in regulation. He was on base four times, with a double, the home run and two intentional walks. Following one of those walks, Scott Rolen singled home David Eckstein with the winning run with two out in the tenth. The Cards' 51-39 record temporarily put them four-and-a-half games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central Division race.

One year ago today
On July 15, 2005, the Cardinals started the second half with a wild one. They saw a 2-1 lead slip away when Jason Isringhausen allowed a ninth inning run, his third blown save of the season, to send the game into extra innings. At the end of the eventual 13-inning marathon, the Cards won 4-3. Albert Pujols sent the fans home happy with a two-run blast for his first walkoff home run of the 2005 season and the fifth of his career to that point. The Cards scored their first two runs on solo home runs by Mark Grudzielanek and Einar Diaz. Mark Mulder went eight innings and allowed just one run despite giving up eight hits and walking three. Brad Thompson picked up his first major league win.

The match-up
Jeff Suppan (6-5, 5.83) vs. lefty Mark Hendrickson (0-2, 4.91). Hendrickson came over to the Dodgers from the Devil Rays a few weeks ago and is a 6'-9" former NBA player.

The line-up
Eckstein, Taguchi (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Edmonds, Luna, Molina and Suppan.
With the lefty, So Taguchi took over for Chris Duncan and Hector Luna played for Aaron Miles. Luna gets to hit seventh, while Miles is always eighth with Molina shifting accordingly. Juan Encarnacion and Jim Edmonds switched spots in the order.

On to the game…

Dodgers first – In a hole
Furcal doubled the first offering of the game into the right field corner. The run scored with two out as Taguchi misplayed Drew's fly ball in the sun. It was scored an RBI double. Dodgers 1-0.

Cards first – Kent not known for glove
Jeff Kent made a diving stop and throw to just get Eckstein. Pujols lined a ball over Andre Ethier's head for a double. He was stranded.

Dodgers second – Over quickly
Suppan made quick work of the 7-8-9 hitters.

Cards second – Luna in the day
Luna slapped a two-out single up the middle, but that was all.

Dodgers third – HBP
Nomar Garciaparra took a ball on the hands with two out. He lasted one pitch until a ground out ended the inning.

Cards third – 1-2-3
Eckstein shot his broken bat and the bat toward Cesar Izturis at third. Izturis sorted out which was which and made a nice play to throw Eckstein out.

Dodgers fourth – Two runners and an autograph
Ethier singled to left with one out and Toby Hall singled up the middle with two down. The camera caught the catcher Hall asking Pujols to sign his jersey for him tomorrow. But, Hendrickson grounded out on the first pitch.

Cards fourth – Good chance missed
Rolen took a one-out walk and Encarnacion followed with a single. But, Edmonds whiffed and Luna grounded out.

Dodgers fifth – Soup cooking
Suppan mowed them down, as the inning ended on a nice stop and throw on the line by Rolen.

Cards fifth – Efficient
Hendrickson retired the Cards in order on 11 pitches.

Dodgers sixth – Two on, none in
Drew singled up the middle leading off and moved up to second base. Izturis was given a two-out intentional walk to get to Hall. Duncan came out for a chat. A fly to right ended the jam.

Cards sixth – Albert again
Pujols' home run #31 of the season landed in the first row of the seats in left to tie the game. Tie 1-1.

Dodgers seventh – Happy 67th Birthday, Mike
Tyler Johnson began to warm in the pen as Suppan had another 1-2-3 inning, ending with a strikeout of Jose Cruz. The perfect lead in to Ernie Hays on the organ. He also played "Happy Birthday to Mike Shannon, who acknowledged the crowd from the broadcasting booth.

Cards seventh – Soup's no decision
Molina crushed a ground rule double into the left field corner with two out. Pinch-hitter Scott Spiezio worked the walk that ended Hendrickson's day. Jonathan Broxton got the call to face David Eckstein with two out. Eck popped out to Nomar.

Dodgers eighth – Adam scuffles
Adam Wainwright came in to pitch as Jason Isringhausen was riding the bike in the pen to start to get ready. With one down, the man Wainwright was traded for, Drew, reached on a dribbler between the pitcher and second baseman. Kent and Ethier took free passes to load the bases. Adam had Ethier 0-2 and just nibbled. Duncan came out to talk, as the entire infield joined in. Wainwright fanned Izturis on a curve ball for the second out and Hall on a fly to right for the third.

Cards eighth – Big guys disappoint
Braden Looper began to throw in the pen. So fanned leading off and looked bad doing so. Broxton pitched Pujols carefully, walking him on four pitches, the final ball fully intentional. Izzy joined Looper throwing in the pen, anticipating the potential of the Cards taking the lead. Didn't happen. After going 2-0, Rolen fanned. Pujols was then easily thrown out trying to steal second with Encarnacion at the plate.

Dodgers ninth – Looper on
Looper took over on the mound and started by fanning Rafael Furcal. Encarnacion made a nice running catch on the track for the third out.

Cards ninth – So close
Danys Baez pitched, retiring Encarnacion before Edmonds shot a double into the left center gap. Luna came up hacking and grounded out 4-3 as Edmonds moved to third. Molina came up, but with Gary Bennett hurting, La Russa had to stay with him. Unfortunately, Molina popped up, leaving Edmonds at third.

Dodgers tenth – Holding ‘em
Both teams have a 1-6-0 line in regulation. Looper stayed on for his final inning, as he is scheduled to hit first in the bottom of the frame. Drew walked with one out. Kent flied out to center and Ethier fanned.

Cards tenth – Bloop as good as a blast
Chris Duncan hit for Looper and was retired 4-3. Izzy continued to warm up for the Cards. Eckstein singled to deep short. John Rodriguez hit for Taguchi and lined out to short. Instead of a double play, Furcal's throw back to first glanced off shortstop-turned-third baseman-turned first baseman Garciaparra. Eckstein helped his cause by running in the line of the throw and ended up at second base. With first base open, the Dodgers put Pujols on. Baez faced Rolen with two out and the game on the line. He blooped a single to left center, scoring Eckstein with the winning run. Cards 2-1.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Sun., July 16 vs. Dodgers: Anthony Reyes (1-3, 3.86) vs. Brad Penny (10-2, 2.91) 1:15 p.m. WB11
Mon., July 17 vs. Braves: Jeff Weaver (0-0, 0.00) vs. Horatio Ramirez (4-3, 4.83) 6:05 p.m. FSNM/ESPN
Tue., July 18 vs. Braves: Jason Marquis (11-6, 5.34) vs. Jason Shiell? (0-0, 0.00) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Wed., July 19 vs. Braves: Chris Carpenter (7-4, 3.08+) vs. Tim Hudson (6-8, 4.56) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Thu., July 20: Off day

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

© 2006 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories