Game Observations – Mon. 8/07 – Cards 13-1

The St. Louis Cardinals combined solid pitching and great hitting to defeat the home Cincinnati Reds by a 13-1 mark Monday night. Jeff Weaver pitched his best game as a Cardinal, giving up only one-run in six innings. The Cards' 61-50 record extended their lead over the Reds in the NL Central Division to 4-1/2 games.

Cardinals starter Jeff Weaver pitched his best game in the uniform. He struck out seven in six one-run innings. Weaver allowed six hits, including a solo home run and just two walks.

Yadier Molina was the hitting star, with a two-run double and a two-run home run. Chris Duncan homered among his three hits, walked and had two RBI. The third base position was 5-for-5 as Scott Rolen and Scott Spiezio both homered and drove in two each. The hits were spread out, with only Jim Edmonds and Aaron Miles among the nine starters without at least one hit.

One year ago today
August 7, 2005 was one of the signature games of the 2005 season, as David Eckstein capped a thrilling 5-3 win at Busch Stadium over the Atlanta Braves with a walk-off grand slam off Chris Reitsma. It was the second walk-off grand slam of Eckstein's career and the eighth in Cardinals history. Chris Carpenter threw eight strong innings, fanning ten in the no–decision. Albert Pujols blasted his 31st home run and So Taguchi had a pair of hits.

Is it me, or do the George sound similar?
Handling the play-by-play for Fox Sports Ohio is the familiar voice of George Grande. Grande was one of the original ESPN anchors back in their formative years. So, is it me, or does his voice have a resemblance that of actor and Budweiser hawker George Clooney?

History in the making
The Cardinals are the only first-place team in the history of the game to endure two separate eight-game losing streaks and still remain in first place. That is both impressive and scary at the same time.

The match-up
Jeff Weaver (1-2, 8.68) vs. Elizardo Ramirez (4-7, 4.47).

The line-up
Belliard, Duncan (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Encarnacion, Molina, Miles (SS) and Weaver.
In: Jim Edmonds, Chris Duncan and Aaron Miles.
Out: David Eckstein, So Taguchi and Scott Spiezio.
The big news is the night off for David Eckstein, off to attend to personal matters, replaced in the order by Ron Belliard and in the field by Aaron Miles.

On to the game…

Cards first – Who's your Daddy?
Leadoff man Ronnie Belliard doubled and scored on a Chris Duncan single. Dunc moved up on the throw home. Albert Pujols (left field corner) and Scott Rolen (one-hopper off the wall in center) each added RBI doubles. Molina topped it off with a two-run home run to left on the first offering he saw. Cards 5-0.

Reds first – Good K
Ken Griffey, Jr. singled with two out, by Weaver fanned Edwin Encarnacion to end it.

Cards second – Duncan deep, double error
Duncan homered to right with two outs. Pujols was walked and Rolen was grazed by an inside pitch. Edmonds hit a grounder to Brandon Phillips. He dropped the ball, allowing Edmonds to reach. Making matters worse, he committed a second error, throwing wide of first, allowing Pujols to score. Encarnacion was walked intentionally to load the bases. That was all for Ramirez. Former Mariner and Phillie Ryan Franklin was asked to get the final out and did. Cards 7-0.

Reds second – They get one
Javier Valentin went deep to right center with two out. At least it was a solo shot. Royce Clayton reached on a ball behind second base for an infield single, but was stranded. Cards 7-1.

Cards third – One RISP wasted
Miles walked leading off. Weaver bunted him over. To end it, Duncan fanned looking on three straight pitches, the last two of them on the outside corner.

Reds third – Big jam averted
Four consecutive balls to Ryan Freel put the lead-off man on base. Weaver got his act together to fan big bats and left-handed hitters Dunn and Griffey, both looking. But, their Encarnacion doubled to left to put two in scoring position. Lefty Scott Hatteberg was pitched-to carefully, being walked to load the bases with two down. Phillips flied out to right to end it with no runs crossing the plate.

Cards fourth – Yadi comes thru again
Rolen dropped a bloop single into short right with one out. Freel made a great diving catch in right, coming in on another bloop, this one by Edmonds. The good Encarnacion singled to put two on with two out. Molina shot a two-run double into the left-field corner. The Reds couldn't get the ball back in fast enough to even make a throw. Miles was walked intentionally to get to Weaver. Weaver singled to right, but Molina was thrown out by a mile at home. Cards 9-1.

Reds fourth – Back to business
Weaver fanned the side and has seven total so far.

Cards fifth – Two Ks
Duncan and Pujols fanned to end the Cards' first in-order frame.

Reds fifth – In and out of trouble
Freel singled to center leading off. Dunn was hit by a pitch in the rear end. Three outs ensued.

Cards sixth – Double digits sound good
Rolen homered to right center leading off. Cards 10-1.

Reds sixth – One runner
Valentin singled with one out, moved up to second, but stayed there.

Cards seventh – Two on, none in
Todd Coffey pitched. Weaver's night ended well, with John Rodriguez pinch-hitting. He doubled off the left field wall with one out. Duncan singled to put two in scoring position for Albert, but he grounded out.

Reds seventh – 1-2-3
Randy Flores fanned Freel and Dunn on the way to a perfect inning.

Cards eighth – Former Card
Former Cardinal Kent Mercker, fresh off the disabled list, pitched. Spiezio singled past Encarnacion, diving to his left at third. Taguchi pinch hit for Edmonds and singled up the middle. But, that was it, as three outs followed.

Reds eighth – Former Red
Former Red Josh Hancock took over. Spiezio, who stayed in at third, made an errant throw on Edwin Encarnacion's grounder for an error. Pujols made a great diving attempt to save the throw. Hatteberg singled. A 4-6-3 and a fly ball diffused the threat.

Cards ninth – Just for good measure
David Weathers was the new pitcher. Duncan walked with two out. Pujols brought him home with a stand-up double into the left field corner. Spiezio put the next pitch into the right field seats, a two-run shot. Cards 13-1.

Reds ninth – Over and out
Clayton singled against Hancock leading off. So made a nice catch in center off pinch hitter Chris Denorfia. Adam Dunn popped out to Miles to end it.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
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 (10-6, 3.06) vs. Aaron Harang (12-7, 3.53) 6:10 p.m. FSNM
Thu., Aug. 10 @ Reds: Anthony Reyes (3-5, 4.63) vs. Bronson Arroyo (9-7, 3.47) 11:35 a.m. FSNM/ESPN

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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