Game Observations – Tue. 9/19 – Cards 12-2

The St. Louis Cardinals evened their road series at one game apiece with a 12-2 blow out win over the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday evening at Miller Park. Jeff Weaver allowed two runs in six innings as Aaron Miles had four hits and Ron Belliard scored four times. The 80-69 Cards' lead over the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central Division remains seven games as their magic number dropped to six.

Cardinals starting pitcher Jeff Weaver pitched a solid game, allowing two runs, including a solo home run in six innings of work. He yielded just five hits and importantly, did not walk anyone. Weaver struck out four. Three relievers pitched a shut out inning each as the left-handers took the night off.

The Cardinals hitters were held partially in check by Ben Sheets, scoring four single runs until breaking the game open in the seventh against the Brewers' pen. Aaron Miles sparked the offense from the leadoff spot, with four hits and three RBI. Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina each collected two RBI. Ron Belliard may have had his best game as a Cardinal as he walked, singled, doubled and homered, scoring all four times. On the downside, Scott Spiezio struck out four times in five at-bats.

One year ago today
On September 19, 2005, the Cardinals had an off day on the road in between a 2-2 series at Wrigley and three games each at Cincinnati and Milwaukee to end the away portion of their schedule. The club held a 95-66 record, good for a 15.5 game lead in the NL Central.

The match-up
Jeff Weaver (3-4, 5.48) vs. Ben Sheets (5-6, 4.08).

The line-up
Miles, Duncan (RF), Pujols, Spiezio (LF), Rolen, Belliard, Taguchi (CF). Molina and Weaver.
Out: Juan Encarnacion, Preston Wilson, Gary Bennett.
In: Chris Duncan, Scott Spiezio, Yadier Molina.
So Taguchi moves down and Aaron Miles moves back up to the top of the order.

On to the game…

Cards first – Tres Ks
Miles, Duncan and Spiezio fanned, with Pujols breaking it up with a two out single.

Brewers first – Down in order
Great start for Weaver.

Cards second – Out in front
Former Brewer Ron Belliard homered to right with one out. Cards 1-0.

Brewers second – Harmless hit
Geoff Jenkins singled with one out. This is the one hot hitter in this line-up. Be careful with him! An infield double play ended the mini-threat.

Cards third – Two on
Miles ripped a single up the middle with one out. Duncan walked, but Pujols fouled out. Spiezio took a called strike three on a check swing.

Brewers third – Tied up
Bill Hall led off with a home run just crawled over the centerfield wall. Tie 1-1.

Cards fourth – Great chance missed
Belliard singled to left with one out and So followed with a single of his own. Yadier Molina collected the RBI with a single of his own. Yadi stole second base (that is not a typo). Granted, it was the back end of a double steal with So, but it still counts. Neither Weaver nor Miles could convert. Cards 2-1.

Brewers fourth – Pujols nicked
Fielder grounded into a 4-6-3, but Miles' throw was down the line. Pujols caught the ball and tagged the steaming runner, but his wrist was pulled back. He immediately took off his glove in pain and was attended to by Tony La Russa and trainer Barry Weinberg. After being checked out, Pujols pleaded to remain in the game and his request was granted. A strikeout ended the inning.

Cards fifth – Back on top
Duncan shot a ball past first base and legged out a triple as the ball bounced around in the corner. It took Albert one pitch to drive in the run. Spiezio fanned for the third time and Rolen popped out. Cards 3-1.

Brewers fifth – Molina mistake costs run
Jeff Cirillo singled with one out. Bill Hall singled to center. Cirillo took third as So kept Hall at first. Good news and bad as Mike Rivera fanned. Molina didn't look Cirillo back to third and instead threw to second. Hall was caught between first and second and eventually was run down to complete the double play. But, in the meantime, Cirillo streaked home to score uncontested. It was scored a fielders choice rather than a steal of home. With the pitcher up next, throwing to second was a costly mistake. Cards 3-2.

Cards sixth – Two-out action
Molina hit a ball off the left field wall for a very long two-out single. On a full count, Weaver came through big with a one-hopper off the wall in right center. Molina chugged home. Hall made a nice stop on Miles' shot, knocking the ball down. Runners on the corners. Duncan took a called strike three for his second strikeout of the night. Cards 4-2.

Brewers sixth – Weaver finishes well
Strikeout, ground out and fly out as Weaver ended his night strongly.

Cards seventh – Ex-closers crater again
Deposed closer Derrick Turnbow took over for Sheets. Spiezio walked and Rolen singled to put runners on the corners with one down. A wild pitch put both in scoring position. Belliard walked to load the bases. Hall erred to let one run in and Turnbow walked in another as Molina collected the RBI. Another deposed closer, Dan Kolb pitched next. John Rodriguez, hitting for Weaver, scored Belliard on a sac fly. Duncan singled to score Molina. Then, Hall made a failed diving attempt in short center on Spiezio's blooper as the ninth run came in. Hall had to leave the game due to the injury, perhaps to his back. After the wait, Pujols hit the next pitch for another RBI. Exit Kolb. Brian Shouse got the last out. Cards 10-2.

Brewers seventh – One hit
Josh Kinney allowed a one-out single to Cory Hart, but that was all.

Cards eighth – A certified laugher
Belliard reached for the fourth time with a one-out double into the gap against Dennis Sarfate. A wild pitch put him on third. So and Molina each walked to load the bases. After Mike Rose fanned, Miles slapped a ball into the right field corner to score two more. Two in scoring position with two out, but it ended there. Cards 12-2.

Brewers eighth – Sosa showing
Jorge Sosa pitched next. He allowed one harmless single.

Cards ninth – RISP wasted – so what?
Jose Vizcaino doubled leading off against Sarfate. Spiezio whiffed for the fourth time for the first out as did John Nelson for the third.

Brewers ninth – Adam ends it
Adam Wainwright got an inning of work. Fielder fanned on an off-speed pitch for the second out on the way to a perfect frame.

Upcoming action – probable starters (times CDT)
Wed., Sept. 20 @ Milwaukee: Jeff Suppan (12-7, 4.23) vs. Carlos Villanueva (1-1, 4.05) 7:05 p.m. WB11
Thu., Sept. 21 @ Astros: Chris Carpenter (15-6, 2.79) vs. Andy Pettitte (13-13, 4.37) 7:05 p.m. FSNM
Fri., Sept. 22 @ Astros: Jason Marquis (14-15, 5.82) vs. Jason Hirsh (3-4, 5.59) 6:05 p.m.WB11/ESPN
Sat., Sept. 23 @ Astros: Anthony Reyes (5-7, 4.92) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (9-10, 5.49) 6:05 p.m. WB11
Sun., Sept. 24 @ Astros: Jeff Weaver (3-4, 5.48+) vs. Roy Oswalt (14-8, 3.05) 7:05 p.m. ESPN

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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