After So Taguchi was hit by a pitch and Albert Pujols singled, Jim Edmonds failed to convert with one out in the top of the first inning. However, Scott Rolen did not let Hirsh off the ropes. His two-out double into the left field corner scored Taguchi. The rattled rookie uncorked a wild pitch with his very next offering, as finally one of Juan Encarnacion's wild swings did some good, as all the wildness enabled Pujols to dash in from third.
Leading off for the Rockies, former Met Kaz Matsui reached base and promptly stole second, as Yadier Molina was missed immediately. Troy Tulowitzki scorched a ball that almost took Wellemeyer's head off to put runners on the corners. Matsui scored on a 4-6-3 twin killing to cut the lead to 2-1 Cards.
The Cards' lead was short-lived as Brad Hawpe blasted a solo home run into the right field seats to tie the game in the second.
The same Rockies keyed a two-out threat in the third. Tulowitzki shot another screamer past Wellemeyer for a single. A hit and run single by Hawpe put runners at the corners. That set the table for Todd Helton, who was retired on a fly ball to left.
In the fourth, Edmonds collected a leadoff standup triple as the veteran centerfielder Steve Finley dove and missed his sinking liner. As the ball rolled to the wall, I thought the Edmonds of old might have circled the bases. The next pitch was turned into a one-hopper off the wall in left center – an RBI double by Scott Rolen to retake the lead.
The Cards batted around in the fifth. Miles and Taguchi both singled to lead off the inning. Pujols slammed his ninth home run of the year to dead center on the first pitch of his at-bat. Edmonds put the very next offering into the bullpen in right. The pair of 400-plus-foot home runs made the score 7-2. Encarnacion hustled a double to left center with one down. Matt Holliday hauled down Gary Bennett's blast up against the wall. It was just a few feet from being a two-run home run. The Rox gambled by walking Kennedy with first base open, but Wellemeyer's RBI single blew up the strategy and ended Hirsh's night. He was charged with all eight runs.
Matt Holliday homered to start Colorado's fifth, which ended Wellemeyer's night. He allowed three runs on seven hits in five-plus innings. After Randy Flores collected three outs, Ryan Franklin took over for the seventh. A Jeff Baker RBI double charged to Franklin closed the gap to 8-4.
Franklin was asked to pitch a second inning, which may or may not have future rotation implications. Holliday singled with one out in the eighth. A wild throw by Kennedy pulled Miles off the second base bag on Helton's grounder, so instead of an inning-ending double play, two runners were on. Franklin fanned Atkins before Tyler Johnson came in to face Hawpe, who took Ryen Ludwick to the wall in right for the catch. That would be the Rockies' last threat of the evening.
A forgotten man in this series so far, Jason Isrnghausen, closed out the Rockies in the ninth in order. It was a non-save situation.
- Closing out the four-game series Thursday night, Brad Thompson (3-1, 4.73) faces Aaron Cook (4-1, 4.11). The Cards have their work cut out for them as Cook hasn't lost in his last seven starts.
- With the win Wednesday, the Cardinals took a 68-67 lead over the Rockies in career head-to-head games. The Cards are 34-36 lifetime at Coors Field.
- When the big boys hit, the Cards win. Simple as that. The former "MV3" went 7-for-14 with a walk in Wednesday's victory.
- Albert Pujols went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, including a home run. His average is back up to .296.
- Scott Rolen had three hits in Tuesday night's game and two more Wednesday. He has hits in seven straight and nine of his last ten contests. His average has climbed to .252 since he started the last homestand on the 22nd at .209.
- Jim Edmonds hit his fourth home run in five starts Wednesday night and has had at least one hit in 11 of his last 16 games. Edmonds went 3-for-5 on the evening.
- I don't want to get the cart ahead of the horse, but I have to admit that the photo of Wellemeyer above sort of reminds me of another journeyman and ex-Cubs reliever, turned effective starter in St. Louis, then turned into trade bait. I am talking about Kent Bottenfield. See any resemblance? Maybe time will tell…
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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