Cheap Seats

April 2: Padres 11, Cardinals 3

It wasn't an entirely bad day at the old ballpark. I mean, I found a primo parking place. It was right near the exit and in a place where no one could park next to me and give me door dings.

Man, that was sweet.

The actually game stunk to high heaven. But that parking spot was epic.

The Birds looked like they showed up to play. In the first inning Allen Craig, subbing in left field for Matt Holliday, had a two-run hit that gave the Birds an early lead. But, in a sign of things to come, starting pitcher Jake Westbrook walked the leadoff man in the top of the second, got an out, then walked another before giving up and RBI single.

With a runner on third and the pitcher at the plate, the Birds seemed to be taken completely by surprise when Padres starter Clayton Richard bunted, driving home the tying run.

In the third the Cardinals regained the lead when Albert Pujols hit a line drive homer to centerfield, his first hit, run and RBI of the year. But Westbrook again couldn't stand prosperity and in the fourth former St. Louis outfielder Ryan Ludwick lead off with a single. Westbrook got two outs and it looked like he might wiggle off the hook before he served up a fat pitch to Nick Hundley that was barely held by the ballpark. Right fielder Lance Berkman raced toward the wall only to have the ball fly over his head, hit the fence and bounce back toward the infield.

Things really got ugly in the fifth when Westbrook allowed the first two San Diego hitters to single. Orlando Hudson sacrificed the runners to second and third and the Cardinals countered with an intentional walk to bring Ludwick to the plate.

Westbrook walked Ludwick to force in the go-ahead run. Then he gave up a two-run single and an RBI double to open up the Padres lead. Jason Motte was called in from the bullpen and intentionally walked Hundley. He then unintentionally walked the Fathers starting pitcher to force in a run for the second time in the game.

At that point, the Cardinals folded up their tent and packed it in for the day. They never challenged again and ended up losing the game 11-3 when San Diego kept plugging away at the St. Louis bullpen.

For the game, Westbrook allowed eight earned runs on six hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Allen Craig drove in a pair of runs in place of Matt Holliday, and that's really all you can ask him to do.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Pujols' first homer of the season.

Lowlight: The Cardinals couldn't afford the eight walks they gave up in the game. Nor could they afford the shoddy defense of Ryan Theriot who mishandled one ball he tried to bare hand and then was made to look like a fool when he stayed back on a ball hit right to him with a speedy Padre motoring down the first base line. By failing to charge the ball, he was unable to make the play. By my count, he's botched four makable plays in two games while managing to convert one above average defensive play.

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