Cards Complete 4-Game Sweep of San Diego
The Cardinals could not have started off the season’s second half in a better fashion. St. Louis took 4 straight games from the San Diego Padres while Houston helped out the Redbirds by taking 2 of 3 from the Cubs. While the pitching wasn’t particularly superb, the offense compiled 30 runs throughout the series to make up for it.
Four solo shots off the bats of the Cardinals would steal the headlines in the first game post All-Star break. Rick Ankiel and Joe Mather would homer while Troy Glaus added a pair of his own as Kyle Lohse collected his 12th victory of the year. Ryan Franklin would give up one run in the 9th before earning his 13th save in a 4-3 win at Busch.
The Redbirds hopped all over Greg Maddux from the start of Friday’s game and never looked back. Rick Ankiel homered for the 2nd consecutive day while All-Star Ryan Ludwick belted his 22nd homer of the year, the same number as Ankiel. Ankiel would go 3-5 on the day and raised his average to .278 on the year. Braden Looper had a rough outing giving up 6 earned runs in just 3 innings of work but was let off the hook by the Cardinal offense and bullpen. The Redbirds would win this one 11-7.
St. Louis looked to take the series on Saturday as Todd Wellemeyer squared off against Randy Wolf. The Padres took a 5-0 lead in the 2 nd inning after Edgar Gonzalez blasted a 2-2 fastball over the wall off of Wellemeyer. The Cardinals would score 6 unanswered runs the rest of the way lead by a 4 RBI game by Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals had a chance to sweep on Sunday in St. Louis as Jamie Garcia got the ball for his first major league start. The Padres took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 8 th when Troy Glaus homered for the 2nd time in the series and the 18th time on the year to give the Cardinals a 5-3 lead. The lead didn’t last long as Jason Isringhausen blew the save opportunity in the 9th. This gave the Cardinal fans a chance to see some firework in extras. With the bases juiced in the 10 th an unexpected power source, Aaron Miles, left no doubt hitting a walk-off grand slam over the right field wall for his 3 rd dinger of the year.
The Cardinals now sit just 2 games back of the Cubs and have a real chance to not only take the lead in the division but to put some ground in between themselves and the Brewers. Milwaukee comes in to St. Louis for another 4-game series for the Redbirds. The Brewers are just 1 game back of the Cardinals for 2 nd place in the Central. Joel Pineiro (3-4) will go tonight for the Redbirds and Seth McClung (5-5) will take the mound for Milwaukee. Kyle Lohse (12-2) will face off against ex-Cardinal fan favorite Jeff Suppan (5-6) in game 2. The Cardinals will get their first look at recently acquired C.C. Sabathia (9-8) as he faces Braden Looper (9-7) in the 3 rd game of the series. Todd Wellemeyer (8-4) will have to deal with Brewers’ ace Ben Sheets (10-3) in the series finale.
By Zack Estes
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