In the second inning, shortstop David Eckstein continued his defensive woes by overthrowing first baseman Albert Pujols on a groundball by Cincinnati third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. This came back to haunt pitcher Kip Wells and the Cardinals, as Gonzalez would hit a home run, scoring Encarnacion ahead of him.
The next big inning for Cincinnati came in the fifth, while they were up 3-1. An Adam Dunn walk would be costly to Wells, as the next batter, Ken Griffey Jr., hit a home run to deep right. Up by a score of 5-1, it seemed like the game was starting to slip away, then Encarnacion singled and first baseman Scott Hatteburg singled leading up to Gonzalez's second home run of the day, a three-run blast that put the Reds up 8-1.
The Cardinals got their second run of the game in the eighth inning. Catcher Yadier Molina singled leading off, and Eckstein's ground out pushed Molina to second base. He would score on left fielder Chris Duncan's base hit to close the Reds' lead to six runs.
In the top of the ninth, catcher David Ross singled to bring in another Cincinnati run and relief pitcher Mike Stanton got in on the action as he hit the team's fourth consecutive single, knocking in the tenth run of the game. Cardinals' reliever Brad Thompson would load the bases with yet another single off the bat of left fielder Josh Hamilton, but would get second baseman Brandon Phillips to ground into a double play.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals had three consecutive singles of their own, coming off the bats of pinch hitter Gary Bennett, Spiezio, and second baseman Adam Kennedy. Molina grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, allowing Bennett to come home and score the third and final run of the day for St. Louis. Pinch hitter Preston Wilson grounded out to end the game.
- Albert Pujols was removed from the game after hitting a single in the eighth inning. He ran to first with a noticeable limp, and as soon as there is news, we will update everyone.
- Every National League Central team seems to have a player that dominates the Cardinals, and on Tuesday night, that player was Cincinnati shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez went 4-for-5 with two home runs, a double, a single, four runs scored, and five RBIs. He also made one spectacular defensive play, robbing Pujols of a potential base hit and making a mid-air turning throw to first. The throw made it in plenty of time and had enough muscle to get there. It was impressive.
- Scott Rolen continues to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-3 in the game. He is seeing the ball just as well as Chris Duncan is, and each hitter is slowly starting to find their swing again.
- Most have probably already known this, but perhaps the Cardinals should play all their games on Sundays. The team has won all but one Sunday game (the only loss coming on opening day to the Mets), and in those wins, they have scored 10 or more runs. Two ten-run games, and one twelve-run game.
- The Cardinals also should consider playing all their games on the road. The team is now 1-7 at Busch Stadium and 7-4 on the road.
- Kip Wells did not look the same as he did in his last few starts. He gave up seven earned runs and eight total runs while walking three and striking out none in only 4.2 innings pitched. His ERA went up to 4.70, while his counterpart's ERA dropped to 3.86 in a seven-inning, two-run performance. The pitching staff's weaknesses are beginning to show, and the return of Chris Carpenter would be a huge shot in the arm for the Cardinals. Also, Mark Mulder coming back after the All-Star break will be a big boost, because the team desperately needs a good lefty in the starting rotation.
- In my opinion, pitching coach Dave Duncan should give reliever Tyler Johnson a long look as a replacement for the struggling Anthony Reyes. Reyes needs to work on keeping the ball down at AAA Memphis so he isn't hurting the big league club, and Johnson has yet to allow a run all season in all his relief appearances. He deserves a shot with the way he has pitched. His stats look like this: 7.1 innings pitched, two hits allowed, two walks, five strikeouts, 0.00 ERA. Not too bad.
Brady Holzhauer can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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