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Pirates @ Cardinals recap 5.3 - Cards outlast Bucs once again to complete hard-fought sweep

Kolten Wong ends the Cards' 14-inning search for their sweepin' brooms. They were hiding in the right-center field seats.

Kolten Wong locates sweepin' brooms.
Kolten Wong locates sweepin' brooms.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis Cardinals

Vance Worley vs. Michael Wacha
1:15 p.m.
Busch Stadium - St. Louis, Missouri

Today's Lineups -

Some News -

  • Prior to the game, Jordan Walden was placed on the 15-day DL; Sam Tuivailala recalled from AAA Memphis. It doesn't feel like the injury is serious.  - STLToday
  • Tyler Lyons will be next up to start a game in Adam Wainwright's absence on Tuesday. - MLB
  • Brewers topped the Cubs 5-3 - MLB
  • Johnny Cueto gave up 5, falling to the Braves 5-0 - MLB

Things we were looking for -

The Cards have walked off two consecutive extra-inning low-scoring affairs from this talented Pirates lineup.  The new-look bullpen for the Cardinals features Miguel Socolovich and Sam Tuivailala looking to make their 2015 big league debuts for the Cards.  That means a 9-man bullpen for the Cardinals, although several of those arms might not be available, or at least on Mike Matheny's "would rather not use" list.  Pete Kozma gets the start at second base.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

Other than a Andrew McCutchen line drive single to right (first inning), and a double to the wall from Gregory Polanco (third), Michael Wacha rolled through the first three innings unscathed.

Starling Marte legged out an infield single with one out in the fourth.  Marte stole second and Yadi threw WAY wide of second base into center field.  Luckily, Marte stuck around on second.  An adventuresome ground out/attempted double play, a bat-flying-into-the-stands, and a groundout later, Wacha worked out of trouble.

Adams saved a throwing error from Carp in the fifth as he was able to come off the bag at first and apply a tag to Josh Harrison to end the inning.

In the sixth, Wacha seemed to get a bit out of sorts, struggling with the strikezone.  Fortunately, the only harm done was a two-out walk to Pedro Alvarez.  Dan and Ricky were alarmed that Wacha threw out of the stretch with nobody on.

Wacha gave up a hit (a single to Jung Ho Kang) and got two outs in the seventh before he was pulled in favor of the Randy Choate/ Polanco matchup.  Choate got his man, inducing a groundout to end the inning.  Wacha's final line: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 100 pitches thrown.

Matt Belisle got the ball for the eighth.  Kolten Wong double switched into the game as well, Pete Kozma moving over to third and Carpenter coming out of the game.  It didn't make much sense (Dan and Ricky later reported that Carp was feeling some lightheadedness, necessitating his exit).  Belisle got two outs, and gave up a hit to Marte.  Kevin Siegrist came in to finish off Alvarez.  Kevin walked him, Pedro's third of the game.  With two on and two out, Siegrist struck out Mercer to end the inning.  At the time, it ended what felt like the Pirates' best opportunity to break through.

Rosenthal came in to do the closer thing that he does in the ninth.  Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as it could have.  On the very first pitch of the inning, Kang deposited an 82-m.p.h. curveball into the seats in left-center to tie the game.  It amounted to Rosenthal's first blown save of the year and Kang's first big league homer.  Rosie also gave up a little single to Polanco, but avoided that second run.  Game tied 1-1.

Mitch Harris and Peter Bourjos checked into the game in extras.  (Heyward came out after getting the last out of the ninth).  Alvarez walked (his fourth of the game!), and Mercer singled, but Mitch was able to strand them.

A lone single (Sean Rodriguez) off of Harris was all that the 11th had to offer.

Sam Tuivailala should have followed the example of his cohorts and walked Pedro Alvarez.  With two outs in the twelfth, Pedro launched a grooved 97-m.p.h heater into the Cardinals' bullpen to put the Pirates on top 2-1.

Sam came back out for the thirteenth.  He fared much better than in the inning before, getting the three men he faced.

Miguel Solocovich made his Cardinal debut in the fourteenth (that left only Carlos Villanueva in the 'pen).  He looked very good in getting a groundout, a strikeout, and a groundout.  The strikeout, in particular (Josh Harrison), was fun to watch - he used great pitch sequencing to keep him off balance.

Bottom halves -

Vance Worley was in a groove early.  Matts Carpenter and Holliday continued their battle with the umpires.

Matt Adams collected a fly ball single with an assist from the sun to lead off the second.

In the third, Michael Wacha drove  fly ball over the head of Polanco in right.  Polanco was playing him shallow, and nearly ran down the fly ball, but ultimately the hit went off his glove for a two-out double.

Carp broke through, leading off the fourth.  After working a full count in true Carp style, he drove the seventh pitch (a 90 m.p.h. sinker) over Andrew McCutchen's glove and the center field wall.  Cutch made a valient attempt to bring it back into the yard.  A couple batters later, Adams tested him again by driving a ball to the wall in center.  Cutch ran it down for the second out of the inning.  Jhonny Peralta struck out to end the inning.  Cards lead 1-0.

Worley continued his good outing after the Carpenter homer.  A walk to Yadier Molina in the fifth, and a Jon Jay single in the sixth were the only base runners he allowed.  Worley was pulled for a pinch hitter in the seventh, so that was the end of his day.  His final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 89 pitches thrown.

Arquimedes Caminero took over the pitching duties in the seventh.  Peralta poked a liner to center.  Cutch made a sliding play on the ball, and nearly made the catch, but lost his glove as he rolled over his wrist.  It looked like it hurt.  Hopefully it doesn't become an issue for him.  The Pirates got a gift out on a neighborhood play double play attempt.  Shortstop Jordy Mercer was a good couple feet off the bag as he made the turn.  Mike came out and gave the umpires some grief for blowing the call, but of course, the "neighborhood play" is one of the un-reviewable plays.  It seemed to kill the momentum.  Yadi grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Wong singled and stole a base in the eighth, and Reynolds worked a walk, but the two were stranded when Holliday popped out.

Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for the Pirates.  He gave up deep fly balls to both Peralta and Jason Heyward, but they both settled in gloves for outs.  To Extras!!  Again!!

Rob Skahill in the tenth.  He struck out Yadi.  He got Kozma and Wong to ground out.  To the 11th!

Skahill again in the 11th.  With two outs, Holliday worked a full-count walk.  Adams followed with a shift-beating single to right.  That put runners on the corners with Peralta coming up and the pitcher Mitch Harris on deck and Tony Cruz as the only position player available off the bench.  Clint Hurdle elected to force Matheny's hand by walking Peralta.  Cruz comes to the plate with the game on the line.  Bases loaded, two outs.  Good times.  Tony worked a good at bat, but ultimately Skahill won the battle, inducing a popup to shallow center.  To the 12th!

Yadi led off the twelfth with a single off of Radhames Liz.  He was retired on a fielder's choice from Kozma.  Wong moved Kozma along to third with a rocket single to center.  With runners on the corners, Liz lost his command.  He walked Jay on four straight to load the bases, bringing up Bourjos.  Another great battle ensued.  The at bat featured 9 pitches, 4 foul balls, a check swing that Peter was able to hold back to stay alive, and a game-tying single off the glove of Harrison at third base.  A hard-hit grounder, Harrison did well to get some leather on it to keep the ball in the infield.  Had he not, the game would have been over right then.  Liz got out of the mess, striking out Holliday, and getting Adams to ground out into the shift to end the inning.  Game tied 2-2!  To the 13th!

Peralta led off the thirteenth with a popup into shallow center.  With McCutchen playing so deep, and a difficult backpedal job by Mercer, the ball fell in for a single.  Seth Maness tried to bunt him along but popped it up for an easy out (why not use a starter?  I dunno).  Yadi quickly grounded into a double play to end the inning.  To the 14th!

Liz came out for his third inning in the fourteenth.  With one out, Kolten Wong decided he was tired of this game, and did something about it.  Kolten watched a couple mid-90's heaters go by, one a ball, and one a strike.  But when Liz tried to change it up on him, Kolten was ready.  The secondbaseman hammered a long game-winning home run to the seats in right-center field for the third extra-inning walk-off win in as many days.

Final Notes -

  • Dan and Ricky discussed how deep the Pirates outfielders played.  It worked to their benefit in the early going, especially against Jon Jay, who gave a couple whacks that McCutchen was able to track down in the deep parts of the yard.  It hurt a couple times, though, like in the 13th, when Peralta's popup fell in.
  • There are few better examples of missed opportunities defining a series.  LOBs EVERYWHERE!!!
  • The pitching in this entire series was fun to watch.  In this game, Mitch Harris was especially impressive on the Cards' side, and Skahill worked out of a big jam on the Bucs' side.  Tuivailala's stuff was very impressive for his two innings, with the one obvious mistake.
  • It was fun considering the possibilities of Lance Lynn manning center field or Carlos Martinez going back to his old shortstop ways or Pete Kozma's pitching debut.
  • I swear I'm trying to recap with fewer words!  Sorry!
  • Fangraphs page for this game.  Here's the graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Looking ahead -

Tune in tomorrow at 7:10 Central time as Carlos Martinez and the Cardinals host the first of four with the Cubs of Chicago.  Travis Wood toes the rubber for the Cubbies.  I hope Carlos can go deep!