Today's game saw salty bulldog John Lackey (4.21 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.90 xFIP) face off against lefty Francisco Liriano (2.22 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 3.18 xFIP)
With a tough lefty on the mound, Matheny gave Matt Adams and Jason Heyward the day off. Mark Reynolds started at 1B, with Peter Bourjos in CF and Jon Jay moving over to RF.
Yep, that estimation was from memory of a previous post. Liriano's pitches in the strike zone? 33.75%. pic.twitter.com/pYF5OkbX1c— stlCupofJoe (@stlCupofJoe) May 2, 2015
Also, let me say how disappointed I am that SB Nation does not allow emoji here in the story body, thereby scuttling my plans for an all-emoji recap. Now I have to write this thing out longhand. Killjoys.
Another extra inning win for the Cardinals and apparently their third walk-off win in a row against the Pirates, going back to last season. The Pirates certainly had their chances, leaving runners all over the bases including 2 runners in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th and the bases loaded in the 6th.
Lackey ate up 6 IP, and gave up 6 hits while striking out 4 and walking 3. Not a stellar performance, telegraphed by needing 27 pitches to get through the first inning, but he somehow kept getting out of jams.
The Pirates were able to get a lone run across. In the top of the third Gregory Polanco singled his way on, then stole second base. Yadi's throw appeared to hit Polanco in the thigh and it got away from Kolten Wong covering. Polanco went to third. Meanwhile Wong appeared to have taken a bit of a hit on his hand during the slide. He was examined by the team sawbones and stayed in the game. Josh Harrison then singled him home for a 1 - 0 Pirates lead.
Meanwhile, Liriano carved up Cardinals batsmen to the tune of 8IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 K and 3 BB.
The Cardinals had such a tough time getting anything going, Matheny even sent up both Adams and Heyward against the lefty to try their luck. The Heyward appearance happened in the sixth inning. After Peter Bourjos singled to center for the first Cardinals hit of the day, Heyward batted for Lackey. Jason hit a single as well which chased the speedy Bourjos to third. Jon Jay then grounded out to Pedro Alvarez at first. Pedro stepped on the bag, but then sailed a high throw home. A perfect throw might have had Bourjos at the plate, but Alvarez's throw left no doubt. The Cardinals had tied it up 1 - 1.
Seth Maness spelled Lackey in the 7th. He, too, would allow Pirates baserunners, but kept them off the scoreboard.
Maness, Randy Choate, and Mitch Harris conspired to take an out each in the 8th.
Trevor Rosenthal, not to be outdone, allowed a hit, threw a wild pitch, and intentionally walked Alvarez in the 9th but managed to keep the game tied.
Kevin Siegrist kept the general theme going in the 10th, stranding Jordy Mercer after his double into the left field corner.
Carlos Villanueva took the ball in the 11th, and would presumably have had it for quite a while after as well. He was picking up what everyone else was laying down, so he stranded a pair of runners too. It's interesting to note that Villanueva had been rumored to be taking the next Waino game in the rotation, Tuesday against the Cubs. That's still several days away and this appearance might not have any impact on that decision. He threw 18 pitches in this appearance. We'll see how this shakes out.
Thankfully, mercifully, the Cardinals would end this thing in the bottom of the 11th. Bourjos hit a chopper down 3B line, well over Harrison, for double. ... and then Bourjos was picked off trying to steal 3rd. A frustrating turn of events and the despair from the Guys in the Booth was palpable. But a Pete Kozma basehit was the ray of hope everyone needed. Jay singled Kozma over to third, then a Matt Carpenter sac fly ended the game 2 - 1 Cards!
- According to Fox Sports Midwest, Carpenter has never had a walk off hit in his career (he still hasn't...)
- 18 is the most runners left on base by the Pirates since 1938 (if I saw that graphic correctly)
- WPA leaders today: Heyward (.169), Lackey (.157), and Villanueva, Siegrist, and Rosenthal (.125)
- I would be remiss if I did not make note of the pivotal role played by lil_scooter's rally thread for the second game in a row. Well done, you.
Join us for a Sunday matinee when the Pirates' Vance Worley (4.50 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 4.23 xFIP) takes on Michael Wacha (2.42 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 3.82 xFIP). Action starts at 1:15pm