Game 46 – Cardinals 8, Nationals 6

On Saturday night at Busch, the St. Louis Cardinals and Brad Thompson defeated the Washington Nationals to even the weekend series at one game apiece. Jim Edmonds drove in three to pace the offense.

Brad Thompson (2-1, 4.67) faced Levale Speigner (1-0, 6.33). The Rule 5 draftee was making his third start as a Major Leaguer.

Three singles in the first scored Cristian Guzman with the initial run. A walk to Dmitri Young loaded the bases, but Thompson retired Brian Schneider on fly ball on his 30th pitch of the inning.

The Cards came right back to take the lead. Albert Pujols and Scott Spiezio singled with two out in the first. .229-hitting Scott Rolen walked to fill the bases with Cardinals. On a full count, Jim Edmonds' single scored two. It was his fifth consecutive contest with an RBI.

Pujols singled leading off in the third. Two productive outs later, he scored on an Edmonds screamer past third base.

The Cards would bat around in the fourth, increasing their lead to 8-1 and breaking open the game. Kennedy began the inning with a single. After Thompson's second sac of the night, David Eckstein's RBI single increased the lead to 4-1. Chris Duncan took a free pass and a passed ball that moved the runners up enabled the Nats to walk Pujols. With the bases loaded, Spiezio hit a screamer to Young at first base. The ball was trapped, however, giving time for Eckstein to score and Spiezio to reach first. With Rolen coming up, Speigner was pulled from the game. Rolen greeted reliever Billy Traber with a two-run double into the right field corner. A walk to Molina reloaded the bases. Another free pass gave Kennedy an RBI, closing the book on Speigner with eight runs allowed.

The Nats loaded the bases in the sixth with no out. Pujols made an in-time throw home to take out the lead runner, but Ryan Langerhans then plated one with a single. That ended Thompson's night at 5 1/3 innings pitched on ten hits as Todd Wellemeyer relieved. Chris Duncan made a fantastic diving catch of Felipe Lopez' liner to save a couple of runs as just one more scored.

Washington added what looked at the time to be a meaningless run in the top of the eighth, their fourth. It was helped by a throwing error, the ninth miscue of the season charged to shortstop Eckstein.

In the top of the ninth, rain, which had been threatening off and on all evening, began in earnest. The Nats fought back in the slop as the Cards just couldn't get the three outs needed to end the game. Kelvin Jimenez tried to finish it out, but needed help from Jason Isringhausen. Before Jimenez left, he yielded the Nats' fifth run on a pair of doubles. Izzy gave up a single for run #6. At that point, the game was stopped as the showers turned into a downpour.

Following a one hour, 41 minute rain delay, Izzy faced the potential tying run, Jesus Flores, who popped out to Kennedy to end the game.

Game Notes:

- David Eckstein had three hits, Pujols scored three times and Jim Edmonds had three RBI to pace the offense Saturday night. The Nationals actually outhit the Cards, 14 to 11.

- Ron Belliard received his 2006 World Series ring prior to the game. He is now a reserve infielder on the Nationals after signing a minor league deal with them over the winter.

- Yadier Molina's 15-game hitting streak ended Friday night. He went 0-for-3 on Saturday, too.

- Here's one not to be proud of. The last game as an MLB starter that Friday night's victor, Micah Bowie, won was on September 23, 1999. He was with the Cubs at the time and posted a 9.96 ERA that season in 11 starts. The 32-year-old was 24 years of age at the time. Bowie did have one start against the Cards that season, a no-decision on August 14, 1999.

- Get Albert some help! After Pujols went 3-for-4 and hit his second home run of the month on Friday, his hit total increased to 17 in nine games. During that time, his average has risen from .239 to .287, but because no one is on base, he had just one RBI last week, which was himself via that solo home run.



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

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