Game Observations – Wed. 7/26 – Cards 6-1

The St. Louis Cardinals again defeated the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, this time 6-1 on Wednesday afternoon. They took the season series seven games to two. Jeff Suppan led the way with six one-run innings. The Cardinals' 58-42 record temporarily extended their lead over the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central Division to five games.

Jeff Suppan pitched his third consecutive solid game since the break, going six-plus innings. He allowed just the one run on five hits and two walks. Soup had just one perfect inning, but limited the damage by spreading out the baserunners. He even collected an RBI. Adam Wainwright did his usual fine job in relief, getting five outs.

Ex-Rockies Aaron Miles and Gary Bennett each had two RBI in their former home. Miles hit his first home run as a Cardinal. Jim Edmonds also added a solo shot, his ninth July home run, as part of a 3-for-3 day. In a rare start, John Rodriguez scored three times on two singles and two walks. David Eckstein continued his recent struggles, going 0-for-5 and is just two for his last 23.

One year ago today
On July 26, 2005, the Cardinals defeated the San Diego Padres 4-2 at Petco Park. The Cardinals turned three double plays, helping Mark Mulder to his 12th win of the season. Jason Isringhausen notched his 129th Cardinals save, tying Todd Worrell for second on the team's all-time list at the time as five relievers closed out the win for Mulder. Albert Pujols homered and doubled and John Gall was 2-for-4 in his long-awaited big league debut.

The match-up
Jeff Suppan (7-5, 5.17) vs. Aaron Cook (6-8, 3.80).

The line-up
Eckstein, Duncan (RF), Rolen, Edmonds, Spiezio (1B), Rodriguez (LF), Miles, Bennett and Suppan.
In: Chris Duncan, Scott Spiezio, John Rodriguez, Gary Bennett.
Out: So Taguchi, Albert Pujols, Juan Encarnacion, Yadier Molina.
Three of eight regulars were given the day off, with a game the previous night and a four-game weekend series in Chicago ahead.

On to the game…

Cards first – Nada
The Cards went down in order.

Rockies first – Variety pack
Ground out, fly out, line out.

Cards second – Big Bennett bop
Edmonds singled leading off. After Spiezio fanned, John Rodriguez singled to center and moved up when the throw went to third. Aaron Miles took an intentional walk with one down and first base open. Bennett stroked a liner to left that scored the two lead runners. Suppan bunted the two remaining runners into scoring position, but Eckstein was retired for the third out. Cards 2-0.

Rockies second – Helton hits
Todd Helton singled with one out, but that was all.

Cards third – Jimmy jacks one
Jim Edmonds slugged a two-out solo home run to right. Cards 3-0.

Rockies third – Trouble avoided
Cory Sullivan drew a lead-off walk. He was sacrificed to second but stranded there.

Cards fourth – Soup helps himself
Rodriguez singled to right leading off. He moved up and eventually scored on a big two-out single by Suppan. Cards 4-0.

Rockies fourth – Another harmless free pass
Matt Holliday took a one-out walk. Todd Helton took his place on a force out, but that was it.

Cards fifth – Erased at third
Rolen singled with one out. Edmonds singled for his third hit of the day. The ball got away from Sullivan, but he recovered quickly enough to throw out Rolen at third.

Rockies fifth – RISP stranded
Leading off, catcher Yorvit Torrealba legged out an infield single as Eckstein flagged his ball down, diving and throwing, just not in time. He moved into scoring position, but not home.

Cards sixth – E5
With two down, Bennett's chopper went under Atkins' glove at third for an error. He was stranded.

Rockies sixth – Big jam escaped
Atkins singled with one out. Holliday clubbed a 2-2 pitch for a double that rolled to the wall in right center. Atkins was the Rockies' first runner of the day to reach third base. Helton popped out with two in scoring position. Adam Wainwright and Tyler Johnson continue to warm up, but Soup retired Hawpe for the third out.

Cards seventh – Burger time
Rolen walked with two out. That brought in Ray King, who retired Juan Encarnacion, surprisingly hitting for Edmonds.

Rockies seventh – Soup scoreless stretch ends at 19 innings
Torrealba hit a high fastball into the seats in left leading off. Tyler Johnson came in to pitch and retired pinch-hitter Choo Freeman. Adam Wainwright was next and collected the final two outs of the inning. Cards 4-1.

Cards eighth – Miles at home
After John Rodriguez walked, Aaron Miles greeted reliever Ricardo Ramirez with a home run to right. It was his first in the Cardinals uniform and ninth in his career. Wainwright singled with two out, but was stranded. Cards 6-1.

Rockies eighth – Get out of town
Wainwright made quick work of the Rockies' 2-3-4 hitters.

Cards ninth – Joe Table time
Jose Mesa was asked to get the last three Cardinals outs as the rain fell pretty hard. So Taguchi walked. Encarnacion singled via a pop fly to short center. Rodriguez walked to load the bases, but that was it as Miles was retired on a ground out to Helton at first.

Rockies ninth – Ending it
Randy Flores came in to pitch. Taguchi made a nice sliding catch against Todd Helton. Josh Hancock got the final two outs.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Thu., July 27 @ Cubs: Jeff Weaver (4-11, 6.32) vs. Rich Hill (0-4, 9.31) 7:05 p.m. FSNM/ESPN
Fri., July 28 @ Cubs: Jason Marquis (12-7, 5.62) vs. Carlos Marmol (3-4, 4.50) 1:20 p.m. FSNM
Sat., July 29 @ Cubs: Anthony Reyes (2-4, 4.57) vs. Greg Maddux (8-11, 4.83) 3:05 p.m. Big FOX
Sun., July 30 @ Cubs: Chris Carpenter (10-4, 2.68) vs. Carlos Zambrano (11-3, 3.27) 1:20 p.m. WB11

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

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