It was absolutely nuts to play a baseball game in the outdoor sauna that was St. Louis Satyrday afternoon.
Fortunately more than a third of the ticket holders decided to stay home. Otherwise their surely would have been more heat-related illnesses. I saw an usher being pushed in a wheelchair by a paramedic toward the end of the game...
A great deal of those who did show up seemed to leave early. And the Cardinals and Twins obliged by scoring all of the game's eight runs in the first three innings.
Albert Pujols hit a carefully measured a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Cardinals a lead. Not only did Pujols seem to know just what he needed to do to get the ball over the wall for his 27th homer, he had perfect timing. One Twins fan behind be said "I don't see what the big deal is about this guy" just as Pujols launched his shot.
Todd Wellemeyer was perplexingly terrible, walking four and giving up four hits in 2 1/3 innings. He surrendered the lead when a fly ball to left centerfield fell in for a bases clearing hit when the ball ticked off of Chris Duncan's glove as Colby Rasmus, who had much less distance to run to the ball, looked on indifferently. The pair of flychasers could be seen arguing about the play afterward.
Manager Tony La Russa came out of the dugout to the cheers of the crowd, but the audience began to murmur when the skipper talked to his starter instead of immediately yanking him from the game. When La Russa called on Josh Kinney from the bullpen, the crowd cheered again.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Pujols cranked a second homer -- this time a no doubter -- in the third to pad the lead and secure his place as the MVP in the game.
Lowlight: Wellemeyer just keeps getting worse. But where do the Cardinals turn? They have no one in the system who could step in and do any better.