After a successful debut at the new Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals look to become more acquainted with the ballpark when they host the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday in the second of a three-game series.
The $365 million facility played to rave reviews on Monday as St. Louis beat Milwaukee 6-4. The field dimensions are similar to old Busch Stadium, but this park features an open outfield with views of downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch.
“Something about that old round stadium was pretty exciting,” St. Louis center fielder Jim Edmonds said. “This is going to take some adjusting, but I think it’s going to be a great place for everybody.”
One thing didn’t change, however, as Albert Pujols led the way, just like he did when the Cardinals (4-3) played the Brewers (5-2) across the street in the now-demolished old Busch Stadium.
Pujols hit the first St. Louis homer in the new ballpark, a 445-foot shot to left field, and is batting .340 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs in 81 games against the Brewers.
“I don’t care about the home run,” said Pujols, who has four homers and nine RBIs in the first seven games. “I care about the win. That was a pretty special win, because we came from a tough road trip. We got beat in Chicago and the last thing you want to do is lose opening day.”
Starter Mark Mulder threw eight strong innings to pick up the win and also went 2-for-3 with a double and his first major league home run, a performance Wednesday’s starter, Jason Marquis, will try to duplicate.
“He’s happy for me, but I think way deep down inside he’s mad,” Mulder said of Marquis. “He just won’t admit it. They already said I’m icing my back because I was swinging too hard.”
Marquis, who won the NL Silver Slugger award for pitchers last season after batting .310 (27-for-87) with a homer and 10 RBIs, went 1-for-3 with a double, RBI and run scored in his first start against Philadelphia last Thursday. He pitched 5 1-3 innings, giving up two runs and five hits in a 4-2 victory.
Marquis is 3-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 10 games against Milwaukee.
After starting 5-0, the Brewers have lost two in a row and will send Dave Bush to the mound. Bush has never faced the Cardinals, having spent the last two years in the American League pitching for Toronto.
He won his first start as a Brewer on Friday, allowing one run and two hits in seven innings to beat Arizona 3-1. The only St. Louis players to face Bush are David Eckstein (1-for-3) and Larry Bigbie (0-for-2).
The Brewers have been outscored 13-4 in the last two losses and fell behind 6-2 to St. Louis on Monday before rallying in the ninth for two runs.
“We’ve got a bunch of young kids that have a lot of heart,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “Anytime you’re down four runs and get the winning run to the plate in the ninth you’ve done something.”