Game Observations – Fri. 8/04 – Brewers 4-3

The Cardinals seemed to sleepwalk through another loss, this by a 4-3 score to the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium Friday night. Despite their ace Chris Carpenter starting, the Cards never led all evening. As a result of their eighth consecutive loss and a Cincinnati win, the Cards' 58-50 record meant their lead over the Reds in the NL Central Division dropped to 2-1/2 games.

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter was efficient, but certainly not dominating. Through six innings, he allowed all four runs on seven hits, including a home run.

Chris Duncan epitomized the futility of the offense as he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Scott Rolen doubled and tripled, but scored only once. Juan Encarnacion had a pair of singles for two RBI.

One year ago today
On August 4, 2005, a late rally came up short as the Cardinals lost 4-3 to Florida, splitting the four-game series. The Marlins jumped out to a 4-0 lead after five innings before the Cards scored three in the bottom of the eighth. John Rodriguez and Albert Pujols each had two hits while Jeff Suppan (10-8) took the loss.

The match-up
Chris Carpenter (10-5, 2.93) vs. Doug Davis (6-6, 5.02).

The line-up
Eckstein, Duncan, Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Edmonds, Belliard, Molina and Carpenter.
Out: Scott Spiezio, So Taguchi and Gary Bennett.
In: Chris Duncan, Jim Edmonds and Yadier Molina.
With the righty-pitching line-up back, including Chris Duncan, Ron Belliard went back to the seven spot.

On to the game…

Brewers first – One on
Prince Fielder singled with two out, but was forced out to end the frame.

Cards first – Down in order
Chris Duncan fanned for the second out of a 1-2-3 inning.

Brewers second – Doubled up
Geoff Jenkins reached on a single with one down, but was doubled up on a ball hit by former David Bell.

Cards second – Lead-off double wasted
Rolen stroked a double, but Encarnacion couldn't move him up. Edmonds flied out to the wall in deep center, but Rolen made a baserunning mistake by not being ready to tag up. Belliard grounded out to make it a moot point.

Brewers third – Lead taken
#8 hitter Damian Miller singled. Pujols bobbled Davis' sac bunt and his throw to first just beat the runner there. Miller moved up to third base on the second out. Tony Graffanino singled up the middle just past Eckstein to collect the first run. Just two pitches later, Prince Fielder put the baseball quickly into the right field seats. Carpenter hung his head the second the ball was struck. Brewers 3-0.

Cards third – A runner
Eckstein singled with two outs before Duncan whiffed.

Brewers fourth – Finally a K
Carpenter collected his first strikeout for the second out of a 1-2-3 inning.

Cards fourth – Coulda' been more
Pujols hit a double to the base of the wall in left. Encarnacion came through this time with an RBI single to right center. Edmonds lined into a double play as Encarnacion strayed too far off the bag, to end the inning. Brewers 3-1.

Brewers fifth – Getting into a groove
Carpenter ended another in-order inning with a strikeout.

Cards fifth – Got one
Belliard coaxed a lead-off walk and Molina did it, too. After a sacrifice, Belliard scored on a groundout by Eckstein. Brewers 3-2.

Brewers sixth – Lost one
Graffanino and Fielder singled to put runners on the corners. Newcomer Kevin Mench's sac fly brought the run in. Carp collected the next two outs. Trainer Barry Weinberg looked to be working on Carpenter's thumb after he came off the mound as the result of Bill Hall's struck ball glancing off his pitching hand during the inning. Brewers 4-2.

Cards sixth – Can't find the big hit
Rolen slapped a ball into the right center gap and hustled all the way into a triple. He scored on Encarnacion's infield single as Juan really ran hard. Edmonds fanned without contact. Belliard and Molina each walked to load the bases. Earlier in his at-bat, Molina had the distance for a three-run home run, but the ball went foul. Despite having thrown just 65 pitches, Carpenter was removed for Scott Spiezio. At that point, the Brewers also changed pitchers. Dan Kolb induced a big pop out to end it. Brewers 4-3.

Brewers seventh – Can Adam do it or not?
Adam Wainwright pitched. Hungo came back to an earlier point he made in the broadcast that he is not convinced that Adam has the stuff to be an effective starter, able to get through an opposing order multiple times. I can understand his point, but I don't get how that will change between now and next season, when Hungo said Adam will be "an effective starter". Will two more months really matter that much? Bell singled leading off and was sacrificed up to second. Pinch hitter Gabe Gross struck out and Brady Clark grounded out.

Cards seventh – Big guys can't help little guy
Matt Wise pitched next. Eckstein led off with a single to right. But, Duncan, Pujols and Rolen couldn't do anything.

Brewers eighth – Two jams in one inning
Leading off against Wainwright, Graffanino doubled into the left field corner. Duncan made a good throw, but the runner slid under the tag. Fielder sacrificed the runner over. Duncan the coach came out to discuss the hitter Kevin Mench. He hit a nubber back to Wainwright, who came home to capture Graffanino in a run-down. Mench had to stay at first. A runner back into scoring position when Hall walked. Jenkins was hit on the toe with the next pitch to load the bases. Bell grounded out to Pujols to finally end the frame.

Cards eighth – Edmonds stranded on second
With one out and Edmonds stepping in, Wise departed for the lefty Brian Shouse. Edmonds is hitting just .167 against left-handers this season. Does that make him a platoon candidate? Edmonds answered that for now by slapping a 2-0 pitch into the right-center gap for a double. Shouse left in favor of deposed closer Derrick Turnbow, one of three failed closers in the Brewers' pen, along with Kolb (Atlanta) and Francisco Cordero (Texas). But, on this night, Turnbow did his job, getting the two outs to escape the inning.

Brewers ninth – Not really Izzy time
Jason Isringhausen and Aaron Miles came in via the double switch. Pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. singled to left as Duncan didn't break quickly on the ball. Miles had a bit of trouble getting the ball out of his glove, so the Cards only got the lead runner instead of a double play. Graffanino flied out.

Cards ninth – Out, out, out
New closer Francisco Cordero retired the Cardinals in order to end the game as Duncan fanned with Pujols on deck. Boos were audible.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Sat., Aug. 5 vs. Brewers: Anthony Reyes (2-5, 4.56) vs. Ben Sheets (2-3, 4.58) 6:15 p.m. WB11
Sun., Aug. 6 vs. Brewers: Jeff Suppan (8-6, 5.07) vs. Chris Capuano (10-6, 3.74) 1:15 p.m. WB11
Mon., Aug. 7 @ Reds: Jeff Weaver (1-2, 8.68) vs. Elizardo Ramirez (4-7, 4.47) 6:10 p.m. FSNM
Tue., Aug. 8 @ Reds: Jason Marquis (12-9, 5.68) vs. Eric Milton (7-7, 5.20) 6:10 p.m. FSNM
Wed., Aug. 9 @ Reds: Chris Carpenter (10-5, 2.93)+ vs. Aaron Harang (11-7, 3.62)+ 6:10 p.m. FSNM
Thu., Aug. 10 @ Reds: Anthony Reyes (2-5, 4.56)+ vs. Bronson Arroyo (9-7, 3.31)+ 11:35 a.m. FSNM/ESPN

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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