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Cardinals at Pirates Recap: Cards' three-run seventh inning enough for the win

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Cards beat the Bucs with one good inning from the offense and seven from John Lackey.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Le Recap Sans Wi-fi

The first six innings of tonight's game were ruled by double plays, Cardinal strikeouts, and a solo home run from The One Who Goes Yard.

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano struck out four Cardinals the first time through the order and eight in his six innings (and one batter) of work. For his part John Lackey went seven innings, walking one and striking out three.

The Pirates got on the board first on a second-inning tater by noted Card-killer Pedro Alvarez. As Ahab said of the foe he could never master, perhaps the Cardinals too: "He tasks me. He heaps me."

Double plays ended the Cards' half of the sixth and Pittsburgh's half of the first, fifth, and eighth innings. And even mighty Alvarez was humbled by the double play, getting thrown out at second in a fourth-inning strike-em-out throw-em-out.

In the fifth inning Matt Adams tumbled into the first-base railing going after a foul ball. His face hit the railing, which faces are not designed to do. John Rooney seemed to think Kolten Wong could've made the catch and thus should have called Adams off. At any rate, Adams stayed in the game, tough as old leather.

The sixth and seventh innings were dramatic. With the bases loaded and dreams of greatness dancing in certain radio-listeners' heads, Oscar Taveras came to the plate. GREATNESS...deferred, as OT hit a grounder to third that resulted in a 5-2-3 double play. This was disappointing, and hope for a St. Louis win dwindled.

Things promptly got even more grim: Kolten Wong singled to lead off the seventh inning but was then picked off first by relief pitcher Jared Hughes. I believe Wong was going on first movement. Damn your guile, Hughes! "Boy that takes the starch out of what the Cardinals had going," said John Rooney.

But lo!--see with what swiftness the Wheel of Fortune turns: For Jon Jay came through with an undeniably clutch pinch-hit double to score the tying run in Tony Cruz (who'd singled after Wong was picked off) and move Matt Carpenter (who had walked on four pitches) to third. And then came more clutch (I'm using that word advisedly), when Holliday came through with an MMI of Carp and a regular old RBI of Jay, thus giving the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.

A lead they would never relinquish! Despite Shane Robinson getting thrown out at second and possibly (I have no idea) dislocating his shoulder. Despite Trevor Rosenthal giving up a home run to Andrew McCutchen on the first pitch of the ninth. And despite even Pedro Alvarez coming to the plate in the ninth representing the winning run.

Alvarez grounded out ("softly," according to Gameday).

Starling Marte flied out to Jon Jay to end the game (justice served).

And the Cards hit the showers having notched another uncertain win.

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The three-game series continues tomorrow at 6:05 central, Lance Lynn versus Gerrit Cole.