The Cardinals finally took advantage of their ninth free pass, scoring Scott Rolen from second on an RBI single from Yadier Molina, and beat the Phillies 4-3 Wednesday night.
The weather was crisp. Phillies pitching was not.
Brett Myers (5.40 ERA) lasted 5 innings and gave up 5 walks and 3 runs, including homers to Skip Schumaker and Albert Pujols. Nifty defense kept it close, otherwise this was an early knockout for the Cards.
Myers fell into his common trap of missing spots early, getting impatient, getting away from his best pitches and throwing stuff that didn’t make much sense. Home-plate umpire Chuck Meriwether called a tight but fair game, and it appeared that Myers took issue, as he often does. One of his walks was surrendered to pitcher Mark Mulder with two outs, after nearly walking him the previous at bat.
Combined with Jon Lieber on Monday, Phillies starting pitching has allowed 20 baserunners in 8 1-3 innings.
The Phillies debut of Tom Gordon was just as rough. Gordon was tagged for the loss, giving up two walks in the ninth, including the eventual game winner. Ryan Franklin also pitched his Phillies debut, throwing two shutout innings with two walks and a hit.
The two homers and good defense actually keyed this win more than the walks for St. Louis because the Phils were able to wriggle out of several jams, specifically with good defensive play by Chase Utley and Aaron Rowand. On the other side, everything put in play was gobbled up by Cardinals' infielders. And if you didn't hear it during Monday's broadcast, it was repeated several times tonight: "David Eckstein is just fun to watch."
David Bell’s insertion in the lineup against Mulder (7 innings, 3 earned runs, 0 walks) paid off as Bell took the big left-hander deep to left, scoring Ryan Howard to tie the game 3-3.
The other half of the black hole was less impressive. The Phillies loaded the bases in the ninth on a single by Pat Burrell and walks by Howard and Bell, but Lieberthal tapped out weakly in a bad at bat to end the ballgame.
J-Roll extends streak to 38
How's this for marginalizing history? Jimmy Rollins stretched his hitting streak to 38 games with a leadoff double in the first inning, his first of two on the day. More importantly for the Phillies, it was the catalyst for an old-school first inning, with J-Roll doubling, Aaron Rowand moving him to third on a bunt, and Bobby Abreu scoring him on a sac fly. Now that's something Paul Molitor would be proud of. J-Roll needs one more hit to tie Molitor's 39-game mark set in 1987. Molitor also ranks 12th all-time with 109 sacrifice flies.