Game Observations – Sat. 9/09 – D'backs 3-0

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second consecutive night at Chase Field Saturday, this time by a 3-0 score. Brandon Webb staked his claim for the NL Cy Young Award by allowing just one Cardinals hit in the one hour, 55 minute gem. The 75-66 Cards' lead over the second-place Houston Astros in the NL Central Division race is five games.

For the second consecutive start, Cardinals starting pitcher Jason Marquis pitched well enough to win, but was over-matched by his opponent. Brandon Webb tied for the National League lead in victories with 15 after frustrating the Cardinals with a one-hit complete game shutout. Webb walked none and worked around two errors.

Scott Rolen's double was the only Redbird safety. On Sunday, the Cardinals will be looking to even up the four-game series before returning home to face Houston.

One year ago today
On September 9, 2005, Larry Walker drilled a solo home run in the eighth inning to send the Cardinals to a 3-2 win over the New York Mets at Busch Stadium. Jason Marquis picked up his third straight win and Jason Isringhausen recorded his 35th save. David Eckstein and So Taguchi each had a pair of hits.

The match-up
Jason Marquis (14-13, 5.73) vs. Arizona ace Brandon Webb (14-6, 3.14). A good showing against Cy Young Award contender Webb would help the Cardinals' own candidate, Chris Carpenter.

The line-up
Miles, Duncan (LF), Pujols, Rolen, Wilson (RF), Belliard, Taguchi (CF), Bennett and Marquis.
In: Chris Duncan, So Taguchi, Gary Bennett.
Out: Scott Spiezio, Juan Encarnacion, Yadier Molina.
Miles was penciled in at the top against the righty Webb and Ron Belliard was put back at #6.

On to the game…

Cards first – Nothing early
Pujols grounded out to third to end a 1-2-3 inning.

D'backs first – Leadoff trouble
So Taguchi dropped Craig Counsell's gapper double and turned it into a leadoff triple. Fundamentally sound? Orlando Hudson walked as Marquis was visibly upset about the call. Poised veteran? Luis Gonzalez brought home the run on an infield chopper. Two more groundouts enabled Marquis to escape with no further damage. D'backs 1-0.

Cards second – Six in a row
Three more outs.

D'backs second – Q HRs
With one out, Carlos Quentin hit a line drive home run off the top of the wall in left center. Marquis' league-leading home run allowed count is now 33. D'backs 2-0.

Cards third – E3
On an easy grounder to Webb, Conor Jackson muffed the throw, enabling Marquis to take second base with two out. Miles did the same thing, but this time the throw was on the money and caught.

D'backs third – DP
Counsell drew a leadoff walk. The speedy Hudson grounded into a double play.

Cards fourth – Pujols costs Cards a run
Jackson made a nice diving stop and throw to get Duncan. Chad Tracy bobbled Pujols' chopper and his throw pulled Jackson off the first base bag for an error. The too-aggressive Pujols was picked off first base and was caught in a rundown. Rolen doubled, with a one hopper off the wall in center for the Cards' first hit. Obviously, no RBI for Rolen ensued. Wilson looked tentative in striking out to end the inning.

D'backs fourth – Drip drip
Jackson doubled off the wall in left center as So missed the catch. As the ball bounced away, Duncan had run a long way to back him up. Quentin was intentionally walked before Chris Snyder singled to left. While the lead runner scored easily, Quentin was caught between second and third. D'backs 3-0.

Cards fifth – Three ground outs
Can't get anything going.

D'backs fifth – Counsell-ation prize
Counsell singled to left with one out. A very smooth 4-6-3 ended it.

Cards sixth – Still just one hit
Quentin slid to catch Duncan's sinking liner to end another 1-2-3 frame.

D'backs sixth – HBP
Jackson was struck in the upper arm by an inside Marquis pitch. He remained in the game to run the bases with two out. Marquis went full on Tracy before he fanned swinging on a breaking pitch.

Cards seventh – Webb tightening
Preston Wilson fanned again to end yet another perfect inning for Webb.

D'backs seventh – RISP stranded
Snyder singled through second base with one out. He was sacrificed to second by Webb, but stranded there.

Cards eighth – Almosts
Pinch-hitting for Bennett with two down, John Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. Scott Spiezio batted for Marquis and missed a home run foul before almost legging out an infield single.

D'backs eighth – Hold ‘em
Adam Wainwright pitched. Rolen threw from almost second base to retire Byrnes for the third out.

Cards ninth – Webb ends it
Webb closed out the 1-2-3 hitters on seven pitches.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Sun., Sept. 10 @ D'backs: Jeff Suppan (11-7, 4.39) vs. Enrique Gonzalez (3-7, 5.64) 3:40 p.m. WB11
Mon. Sept. 11 vs. Astros: Chris Carpenter (13-6, 2.97) vs. Andy Pettitte (13-13, 4.34) 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Tue., Sept. 12 vs. Astros: Jeff Weaver (3-4, 5.19) vs. TBA 7:10 p.m. FSNM
Wed., Sept. 13 vs. Astros: Anthony Reyes (5-7, 5.03) vs. Roy Oswalt (12-8, 3.15) 1:10 p.m. FSNM

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

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