Game Observations – Thu. 8/17 – Cards 2-1

The St. Louis Cardinals took their mid-week home series against the Cincinnati Reds, winning game three by a 2-1 mark Thursday afternoon. Jeff Weaver held the Reds in check for 7-1/3 innings in his best game as a Cardinal and Scott Rolen plated both runs. The Cards' 64-56 record reopened their 2.5 game lead in the NL Central Division over the Reds.

Cardinals starter Jeff Weaver pitched his best game since first donning the uniform, but earned a no-decision. Weaver allowed just three hits and a walk in 7-1/3 innings on the mound, with a Ken Griffey Jr. home run the only blemish. Adam Wainwright pitched out of a jam in the eighth and Jason Isringhausen picked up the win after pitching a spotless ninth.

Scott Rolen and Chris Duncan paced the offense. Rolen hit a game-tying home run in the seventh after the Reds briefly took the lead and singled in the winning run with no out in the bottom of the ninth. Chris Duncan had his third straight three-hit game and scored the game and series-winner. It was great to see the Cards take a game in the late innings, especially against a Cincinnati team that has forged its 2006 reputation on just these same kinds of wins.

One year ago today
What a difference a year makes! On August 17, 2005, Mark Mulder spun his second shutout of the season, and tenth of his career, via a five-hitter as the Cards blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-0. Mulder also helped himself at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. John Mabry belted a two-run home run and So Taguchi continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-4 outing that increased his hitting streak to ten games.

The match-up
Jeff Weaver (2-3, 6.60) vs. Kyle Lohse (2-5, 6.39). A pair of 2006 disappointments, both cut by the teams with whom they began the season. Lohse had been a Minnesota Twin, while of course Weaver signed a hefty one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the winter.

The line-up
Eckstein, Duncan (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion, Belliard, Taguchi (CF), Molina and Weaver.
Out: Timo Perez, Aaron Miles, Gary Bennett.
In: So Taguchi, Ronnie Belliard, Yadier Molina.
Juan Encarnacion slides back to right from center. So Taguchi covers for Jim Edmonds, still sidelined by post-concussion effects.

On to the game…

Reds first – OK, Weaver
The first three went down relatively easily.

Cards first – Two more stranded
Duncan singled. He did a nice job breaking up another double play, again sliding hard into Brandon Phillips on a ball off the bat off Pujols. Rolen's walk put Albert in scoring position, but Encarnacion flied out to short center, continuing the no-clutch trend from Wednesday night's contest.

Reds second – Grin and bear it
One step in front of the wall, Encarnacion caught Dunn's long fly for the second out. Hungo said Weaver grinned as a result. It sure looked to me like he was grimacing, instead. (Weaver, not Hungo, that is!) So was I.

Cards second – Quiet
Molina ended an easy 1-2-3 inning with an infield ground out.

Reds third – Nine up and down
Weaver is perfect through three.

Cards third – Duncan reaches again
Duncan singled to right with two out. Pujols grounded out on the next pitch.

Reds fourth – Big jam averted
Hatteberg drew a one-out walk to become the Reds' first baserunner of the day. Griffey singled next, but Hatteberg helped out the Cards by stopping at second. Weaver fanned Dunn for the third out to escape.

Cards fourth – Belliard on ba… never mind!
Belliard singled up the middle with two out. It was the first hit by someone other than Duncan. He was thrown out trying to steal on the next pitch.

Reds fifth – Breezing again
A ground out and two pop outs made for another fast inning for Weaver.

Cards fifth – Wait ‘til next inning
Of the bottom three in the order, only Weaver didn't strike out.

Reds sixth – Three more to go
Weaver continues his best outing to-date as a Cardinal. He's thrown 77 pitches so far.

Cards sixth – 1-2-3
The top three did nothing. Is this getaway day or something?

Reds seventh – Griffey reminds us
Griffey fought Weaver for 11 pitches including seven fouls in a row, before hitting pitch #12 into the seats 388 feet from home plate to break the scoreless match. Reds 1-0.

Cards seventh – Rolen answers quickly
Rolen shot a 3-2 pitch just into the seats in left on a line drive to re-set the match. It was Rolen's 17th home run of the season. Juan Encarnacion beat out an infield single on a ball hit to the other Encarnacion. But after Belliard fanned, a 1-6-3 double play off the bat of Taguchi ended the frame. Tie 1-1.

Reds eighth – Another jam averted
Phillips led off with a double into the left field corner. Duncan played the ball well. Randy Flores and Adam Wainwright began to throw. Ross bunted the runner up to third. Weaver left the game to a standing ovation, replaced by Wainwright. Javier Valentin fanned and Ryan Freel flied out.

Cards eighth – Glove save
Freel made a nice diving catch in right off the bat off Eckstein to end the inning for new pitcher Ryan Franklin.

Reds ninth – Izzy time in tie game
Jason Isringhausen pitched a very encouraging 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

Cards ninth – Rolen does it again
Franklin stayed on. Duncan singled on the first pitch for his third hit of the game and ninth of the series. Pujols walked in four pitches. Scott Rolen slapped an opposite-field single to right to score Duncan easily. Game over. Cards 2-1.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Fri., Aug. 18 at Cubs: Jason Marquis (12-11, 5.71) vs. Carlos Marmol (5-5, 5.00) 1:20 p.m. FSNM
Sat., Aug. 19 at Cubs: Jeff Suppan (9-7, 5.00) vs. Carlos Zambrano (13-5, 3.38) 12:25 p.m. Big FOX
Sun., Aug. 20 at Cubs: Chris Carpenter (11-6, 3.09) vs. TBA 1:20 p.m. WB11
Mon., Aug. 21: 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