Game Observations – Tue. 8/29 – Marlins 9-1

The St. Louis Cardinals were spanked by the Florida Marlins, losing by a 9-1 score on Tuesday evening at Busch Stadium. Color Mark Mulder as Mul-done, as he again looked awful in defeat. Preston Wilson's leadoff home run was the only offense. The 69-61 Cards' lead over the Reds in the NL Central Division race remains 3.5 games.

Cardinals starting pitcher Mark Mulder was awful again. With no control or velocity to speak of, the youthful Marlins hitters tagged him for five earned runs on six hits and three walks in just 1-2/3 innings. And it could have been worse, but Josh Hancock escaped a jam in the second, as if it mattered. The game was effectively over by the time Mulder departed.

The Cardinals' offense was non-existent against a left-hander as they have most of the season. This time, the conqueror was Marlins starter Scott Olsen. He held the Cards to a lead-off home run by Preston Wilson and just two other harmless hits over eight innings. The middle of the order, Spiezio, Pujols, Edmonds and Encarnacion, were a combined 0-for-12 at the plate. Gary Bennett had half the Cards' hits with two singles.

One year ago today
On August 29, 2005, the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter won his Major League-leading 19th game as the Cardinals defeated the Florida Marlins at Dolphins Stadium by a 6-1 score. Carp allowed one earned run on seven hits over 7-2/3 innings. David Eckstein set the table with a 4-for-5 day and three RBI, hitting his team-leading sixth triple. Larry Walker had three hits, including his 12th home run of the year. Cardinals hitters were issued eight walks by the Marlins as four of the runners came around to score.

The match-up
Mark Mulder (6-6, 6.77) vs. Scott Olsen (10-7, 4.42).

The line-up
Wilson (RF), Spiezio (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion (CF), Belliard, Miles (SS), Bennett and Mulder.

On to the game…

Marlins first – Forget the shutout
The game began in light rain. Leading off, Hanley Ramirez reached on a ball that hugged the third base line, but stayed fair upon hitting the bag. Ramirez moved up on a ground out. Josh Willingham walked with two out after Mulder fanned the dangerous Miguel Cabrera. Wes Helms' single plated the first run. Fish 1-0.

Cards first – Turnabout is good
Preston Wilson quickly tied the game with a line drive home run inside the foul pole in left. Tie 1-1.

Marlins second – Mul-done
With one out, Mulder walked the #8 hitter, Alfredo Amezaga. Olsen bunted the runner over. Ramirez' stand-up triple off the top of the wall plated Mulder. Dan Uggla singled Hanley home. Cabrera singled to put runners on the corners. Josh Hancock began to warm up in the bullpen. The fourth straight hitter reached as Josh Willingham walked to load the bases. Helms singled to center, scoring two. Exit Mulder, enter Hancock, who finally collected the third out. Fish 5-1.

Cards second – On and off
Belliard walked with one out, but Miles hit into a 5-4-3 and that was that.

Marlins third – Hold ‘em
Three quick outs for Hancock.

Cards third – Bottom out
Bennett and Hancock fanned on the way to a quick frame for Olsen.

Marlins fourth – Double stealing agents
Uggla walked with one out and Cabrera followed with a single. As Josh Willingham fanned the runners executed a double steal successfully. But, Helms grounded out this time to end it.

Cards fourth – No action
Spiezio, Pujols and Rolen did nothing.

Marlins fifth – Twin killing
Cody Ross singled leading off, but was erased in a double play.

Cards fifth – Olsen on top of game
Miles fanned to end yet another 1-2-3 inning.

Marlins sixth – Olsen with the bat
Olsen doubled to center leading off. After a sacrifice, he scored as Uggla shot a single up the middle past the pulled-in defense. Jorge Sosa took over and walked a batter before securing the final two outs. Fish 6-1.

Cards sixth – Welcome to the game
Gary Bennett singled for just the second Cards hit of the night. But Jose Vizcaino, who came in with Sosa, grounded into a double play. Then, Wilson fanned.

Marlins seventh – Two runners, no runs
Ross walked leading off but Olivo grounded into another double play. Amezaga singled, but Olsen was retired to end it.

Cards seventh – Big boys quiet
Same three same result. Spiezio, Pujols and Rolen made three outs.

Marlins eighth – Got away from Sosa
Ramirez hit a ground rule double that had a fan not interfered may have been a triple. It didn't matter as little second baseman Dan Uggla hit a 449 foot bomb into Big Mac Land for the longest home run in the new park to date. One out later, Willingham's home run ball hit off the top of the fence that went over. Encarnacion didn't get back quickly enough to have a shot at catching it. A Helms single ended Sosa's appearance in favor of Tyler Johnson, who collected the final two outs. Fish 9-1.

Cards eighth – So for two (outs)
Belliard singled with one out but another defensive replacement, So Taguchi was exposed with the bat as his double play ball ended the inning.

Marlins ninth – Forgetting the score
Johnson fanned Amezaga on the way to a perfect ninth.

Cards ninth – Done and overdone
Bennett singled leading off against reliever Brian Moehler but Vizcaino grounded into his second double play in two at-bats.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Wed., Aug. 30 vs. Marlins: Jason Marquis (13-12, 5.77) vs. Ricky Nolasco (11-8, 4.45) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Thur., Aug. 31 vs. Marlins: Jeff Suppan (10-7, 4.77) vs. Dontrelle Willis (9-10, 4.01) 7:10 p.m. FSNM

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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