Game Observations – Wed. 8/30 – Cards 13-6

The St. Louis Cardinals came back from a four-run deficit to defeat the Florida Marlins by a 13-6 score on Wednesday evening at Busch Stadium. The 70-61 Cards' lead over the Reds in the NL Central Division race is temporarily four games.

As he has done much of the season, Cardinals starting pitcher Jason Marquis was in trouble almost the entire game, yet managed to again scavenge a win – his 14th of the season. Marquis allowed five runs in five innings, on three walks and seven hits. It was the first outing in his last five that he did not allow an opposing home run.

The Cardinals' offense started slowly, but began scoring in the third and kept on going. 20 hits represented their most in any game this season to date, including eight doubles and a home run. The middle of the order did particular damage. Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBI, including a home run. Scott Rolen scored three times on three hits, Juan Encarnacion also had three hits and had two RBI and Preston Wilson had a pair of safeties and drove in three.

One year ago today
On August 30, 2005, the Cardinals' come-from-behind rally fell short as the Marlins prevailed in Miami by a 7-6 score. Mark Grudzielanek hit a game-tying three-run home run in the sixth to make it 4-4 and also drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth. But, the Marlins scored three in the eighth on a blown save by Ray King. John Mabry hit a solo home run in the ninth. Matt Morris was credited with the loss, charged with six runs on nine hits over seven innings.

The match-up
Jason Marquis (13-12, 5.77) vs. Ricky Nolasco (11-8, 4.45).

The line-up
Miles (SS), Duncan (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Encarnacion (CF), Wilson (RF), Belliard, Bennett and Marquis.
In: Chris Duncan
Out: Scott Spiezio
Aaron Miles was brought back up to the lead-off spot as Preston Wilson settled back into the sixth spot.

On to the game…

Marlins first – Coulda been worse
Hanley Ramirez singled and stole second base. He was sacrificed to third and scored on a ground out. Rolen committed an error on Josh Willingham's grounder. Mike Jacobs walked before the third out was recorded. Fish 1-0.

Cards first – Nothing early
Duncan fanned on the way to a 1-2-3 inning.

Marlins second – An ugly frame
Encarnacion dove to try to catch a shot by the #8 hitter Alfredo Amezaga. It ended up being a triple. Nolasco missed the bunt on a squeeze and Bennett made a great play to catch the pitch far outside, diving to tag out Amezaga sliding across the plate. Bennett was injured on the play, but remained in the game. But, then Marquis walked the pitcher after going 0-2! Ramirez doubled into the right field corner to prolong the agony. Fortunately, Uggla's hard-hit liner was right at Encarnacion for the third out.

Cards second – Still a perfecto
Encarnacion flied out to the wall in left center for the second out of another in-order inning. Wilson struck out looking to end it.

Marlins third – Two HBP
Yadier Molina had to enter the game to replace the injured Bennett, who reportedfy sprained his lower back. Marquis plunked Cabrera on the elbow with a pitch. The hitter had to leave the game. Willingham singled. Olivo was hit, too, to load the bases with one out. Jeremy Hermida's sac fly plated the run. Fish 2-0.

Cards third – Needed more
Belliard, Molina and Marquis singled to load the bases. The lead runner scored on a sacrifice fly by Miles. Fish 2-1.

Marlins fourth – Bigger trouble
Ramirez was on again, doubling to right with one out and Dan Uggla walked. Wes Helms slashed an RBI single to left as Ramirez scored without a throw. Miles made a nice stop and throw to get Willingham as both runners moved into scoring position. A big single to right by Mike Jacobs brought two more home. Marquis has already made 95 pitches on the night. Fish 5-1.

Cards fourth – Presto: tie game
Pujols flied out to the wall in right for the first out. Rolen stroked a double into the left field corner. Encarnacion singled to put runners on the corners. Preston Wilson shot a ball over the left fielder's head for a two-run double. Molina hit a hard single to third to put runners on the corners for Marquis, who was allowed to hit. He slashed a single just off Ramirez' glove to score Wilson. Miles hit a ball that Ramirez muffed for an error as Molina game home. Duncan's fly to center ended the nice run. Tie 5-5.

Marlins fifth – Just took a long while to warm up
Adam Wainwright began to warm up in the pen as Marquis crossed the 100-pitch point during his first 1-2-3 inning of the night.

Cards fifth – Pujols gives Marquis lead and teammates extend it
Pujols put a ball into the first row of seats in left center. His 39th home run of the season game his team their initial lead of the night. Rolen singled to right and when the ball was misplayed, he took second. Nolasco departed for Matt Herges. Encarnacion singled up the middle to put them on the corners. Wilson came through again with an RBI single to right. With runners on first and third with two out, Marquis again was sent up to hit, though Wainwright looks to be coming into the game. He made the third out in his last official act of the night. Cards 7-5.

Marlins sixth – Harmless single
Off Wainwright, Wes Helms reached on a two-out infield single between second and short. Willingham fanned for the third out.

Cards sixth – One more
Leading off, Miles hit a chopper past the first baseman and took second as the ball rolled toward the corner. After Duncan was walked, Randy Messenger came on to pitch and retired Pujols on a fly ball. Pujols was agitated in the dugout. Rolen walked to load the bases. Miles scored on Encarnacion's sacrifice fly. Cards 8-5.

Marlins seventh – Adam hot
Wainwright fanned two more, including Hermida looking on a curve for the third out.

Cards seventh – Putting it away
Belliard led off with a single. Molina blasted a 400 foot out to dead center. Wainwright got into the fun with a two hopper off the wall. Unfortunately, Belliard had been thrown out trying to steal second, costing the Cards a run. Miles legged out an infield single to put runners at the corners. Duncan singled to score Wainwright and re-establish a first and third situation. Miles came home on a wild pitch. With first base open, they pitched to Pujols, who shot an RBI double off the wall in right. Another run scored on Rolen's pop fly double to right that eluded Hermida in right as he missed a sliding catch. Renyel Pinto pitched. Encarnacion's single scored Rolen. Cards 13-5.

Marlins eighth – Looper a bit rusty
Braden Looper took over. Amezaga beat him to the bag in a race for an infield hit. Joe Borchard shot a double into right center to easily score the run. A 6-3 double play eventually ended the inning, but it took Looper 27 pitches to get the three outs. Cards 13-6.

Cards eighth – 20 hits
Taguchi doubled off the left field wall with two out. It was his team's eighth of the night and 20th hit overall. So was stranded.

Marlins ninth – Izzy time
Jason Isringhausen was given an inning of work. He surrendered a harmless hit before closing out the Fish.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Thur., Aug. 31 vs. Marlins: Jeff Suppan (10-7, 4.77) vs. Dontrelle Willis (9-10, 4.01) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Fri., Sept. 1 vs. Pirates: Chris Carpenter (12-6, 2.96) vs. Zach Duke (8-12, 5.01) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Sat., Sept. 2 vs. Pirates: Jeff Weaver (2-3, 5.92) vs. Shawn Chacon (1-2, 7.88) 6:15 p.m. WB11
Sun., Sept. 3 vs. Pirates: TBA vs. Ian Snell (12-8, 4.70) 1:15 p.m. WB11

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

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