Game Observations – Sun. 7/16 – Cards 11-3

The St. Louis Cardinals swept their four-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers winning by an 11-3 score Sunday afternoon behind Anthony Reyes. It was the Cards' 23nd come-from-behind win of the season and their season-high seventh straight win. The Cards' 52-39 record kept them four games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central Division race.

Anthony Reyes broke a three-game losing streak and won his first home game in the majors. He went five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk. Five Dodgers were fanned. Tyler Johnson impressively put up two of the four shutout innings provided by the bullpen.

The offense roughed up Brad Penny, getting six runs in five innings off the National League All-Star Game starter. Albert Pujols went 4-for-5, including two doubles and three RBI. Yadier Molina also doubled twice and singled, driving in three. Chris Duncan went 3-for-4 and scored three runs.

Big broom
The Cardinals earned their first four-game series sweep of the Dodgers since July 1987 in a series that included a pair of doubleheaders at the old Busch Stadium.

Here comes the sun
With the win Sunday, the Cardinals padded their major league-best 26-9 record in day games this season.

Homer streak
John Rodriguez' home run in the eighth meant that the Cardinals have now hit home runs in a season-high 13-straight games (22 homers). The current 12-game long ball streak is two games longer than last season's high, 10 games from April 10-21. St. Louis' record for consecutive games with a home run is 18 from April 8-27, 2000.

Star to jobless
Former Cardinals pitcher Cliff Politte was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox. He carried an 8.70 ERA in 30 innings prior to the move. Last season, the St. Louisan had a 2.00 ERA.

Picking up coach unneeded
Rick Horton mentioned that Jose Oquendo and Hal McRae assert that Albert Pujols doesn't need a third base coach as he runs the bases so well. So, why have a third base coach, then?

One year ago today
On July 16, 2005, the Cardinals defeated Houston 4-2. Jason Marquis gave up a two-run home run to Morgan Ensberg in the first, but then shut down the Astros offense. Marquis went eight innings allowing just six hits and the two runs on 97 pitches. Larry Walker powered the win with a three-run home run. Jason Isringhausen earned the save.

The match-up
Anthony Reyes (1-3, 3.86) vs. Brad Penny (10-2, 2.91).

The line-up
Eckstein, Duncan (LF), Pujols, Edmonds, Encarnacion, Spiezio (3B), Molina, Miles and Reyes.
Scott Spiezio played for Scott Rolen. Jim Edmonds moved up to the clean up spot. So Taguchi and Hector Luna were platooned out for Chris Duncan and Aaron Miles.

On to the game…

Dodgers first – Wow!
Reyes fanned the side, though Kenny Lofton did single with one out.

Cards first – Doubles up
Duncan doubled as the ball eluded J.D. Drew. Pujols collected his 80th RBI of the season as his drive hopped over the wall in right center. Edmonds and Encarnacion couldn't get Pujols in. Cards 1-0.

Dodgers second – Lead quickly changes hands
Olmedo Saenz hit a bomb deep to left leading off. Andre Ethier doubled off the wall in center as the ball was blasted over Edmonds' head. Cesar Izturis bunted for a single as Reyes didn't pounce on it. Russell Martin collected the RBI on a force out at second, but Eckstein dropped the ball, dooming the double play. Reyes retired Penny and Rafael Furcal on grounders to escape. Dodgers 2-1.

Cards second – Nada
Molina fanned in between a pair of ground outs.

Dodgers third – Three singles and a break
Lofton singled leading off. With one down, his foot was hit by a ball off the bat of Jeff Kent and he was called out. Olmedo Saenz singled to center, but both were stranded as Edmonds made a nice inning-ending grab. Reyes has already allowed seven hits.

Cards third – Taking it back
Eckstein and Duncan singled with one out. After Penny dusted him off, Pujols collected an RBI on a 3-0 single up the middle and the second one of the inning scored on an Edmonds out. Penny has been arguing with the home plate umpire throughout. Cards 3-2.

Dodgers fourth – Two pops and a fly
Reyes tamed the 7-8-9 hitters in order.

Cards fourth – Two on
Molina doubled as Drew overran the spinning ball. Miles singled, but the cut-off man Saenz let the ball through, so Miles moved up. But neither Reyes nor Eckstein could deliver.

Dodgers fifth – RISP remains
Lofton reached with one out with the first walk of the day issued by Reyes. He stole second, but was stranded when Kent was fanned for the third out.

Cards fifth – Penny spent
Duncan singled leading off and took second on a wild pitch. Pujols doubled to deep center off the wall to score Duncan. Edmonds walked. Encarnacion and Spiezio both fanned, but Molina had a huge hit – a two-out, two-RBI double to right center. Cards 6-2.

Dodgers sixth – Luna on the mark
With the big lead and having thrown 92 pitches, Reyes was pulled. Good decision. Josh Hancock took over. Ethier singled with one out and was erased in a double play started by the new second baseman Hector Luna.

Cards sixth – Three down
New pitcher Joe Beimel retired Luna, Eckstein and even the suddenly-hot Duncan.

Dodgers seventh – Tyler terrific
After Russell Martin singled, Hancock departed for Tyler Johnson. All he did was strike out pinch-hitter Jose Cruz, Jr. and induce a double play.

Cards seventh – Breaking it open
Pujols greeted Odalis Perez with a slow-rolling infield single. Encarnacion reached on an Izturis error with one out on a play that was later changed to a single. Spiezio's single to right scored Albert. Molina did the same thing. Taguchi grounded into a force out of Molina but outran the double play as the third run of the inning scored before Luna fanned. Cards 9-2.

Dodgers eighth – Another twin killing
Lofton singled leading off, but was forced out. Then Johnson collected his second double play in two innings off Kent on the next pitch.

Cards eighth – Exclamation point
Eckstein reached on another error by Izturis at third, his second in two innings, or not. Eck scored on a pinch-hit John Rodriguez home run, his second of the season. It was on the first pitch. Three ground outs ended it. Cards 11-2.

Dodgers ninth – Scratched out one
Saenz greeted Josh Kinney with a double. He scored after consecutive ground outs. Kinney ended the game on a high, striking out Russell Martin. Cards 11-3.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
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. Tim Hudson (6-8, 4.56) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Wed., July 19 vs. Braves: Chris Carpenter (7-4, 3.08+) vs. Jason Shiell? (0-0, 0.00) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Thu., July 20: Off day

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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