Independence Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated with fireworks, but even if the night sky failed to erupt in a display of pyrotechnic joy, Busch Stadium STILL would have had its share of fireworks last night.
Such is the case when the archrival Cubs travel to the Gateway City, and they emerged last night the victors of the series’ first explosion: a 2-1 win, anchored by the dominant performance of a returning Carlos Zambrano (9-3), who was simply magnificent in his first start since coming off the Disabled List with what was a shoulder strain. He threw six shutout innings before letting the Cubs’ bullpen do the rest.
Braden Looper (9-6) pitched well for the Redbirds, but got burned by solo home runs from Chicago’s Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto.
Albert Pujols accounted for the Cardinals’ only run when he launched the 300th homer of his career in the eighth. He is the fifth-youngest player to achieve that milestone.
Kerry Wood worked the ninth to earn his 22nd save of the season, but his appearance was not without controversy. Troy Glaus led off the innings, and was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Ted Barrett. The pitch appeared to be low and outside, and Glaus showed his displeasure by throwing his bat and yelling at the man in blue.
Overshadowed by the close game between two storied rivals was the return of Jim Edmonds to Busch Stadium. He received a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat in the second. His performance at the plate was not nearly as memorable. Edmonds struckout three times on the night, going 0-for-4 in his first game as a visitor at the new Busch Stadium.