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9.5.15 Pirates @ Cardinals Recap: Cards Extend Division Lead with 4-1 Win

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Matt Carpenter hit his 21st home run of the season in a brilliantly pitched game by Jaime Garcia.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

An Ode To Jason Heyward

Making your way in the Bigs today

Takes everything you got

Signing a deal with the Cardinals

Sure would help a lot

Wouldn't you like to swing away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody chants your name

And they're glad to see you play

You want to be where there's a sea

Of red shirts throughout the stands

You want to be with Major League's number one fans

You want to go where people know

All aspects of the game

You want to go where everybody chants your name

You want to go where standing Os

And curtain calls give you fame

You wanna go where everybody chants your name

The Game

Pirates. Cardinals. Morton. Garcia. September. Baseball.  AAAAAaaaaaaahhhh.  This is what the season is all about.  Two very good, very tough teams, battling it out for best in the division - and maybe best in baseball.  The Pirates handed the Cardinals a nasty loss last night, so hopefully the boys in red can pull out a win today.  [SPOILER ALERT: They totally did!]

Jaime Garcia was on fire today.  His pitches had so much movement that three of his strikeouts were dropped third strikes where Yadier Molina had to throw to first to finish out the play.  He had very, very good stuff today, allowing only four hits, giving up one walk, and striking out NINE over seven innings.  Jaime got into a little trouble in the second and in the fourth, but he got out of it like the smooth mo fo that he is.

The Cardinals scored two runs in the second on a kind of odd sequence of events. With one out, Kolten Wong drew a walk, then Jon Jay was classically hit by a pitch.  Jaime Garcia bunted the runners over to make it two on, two out.  Matt Carpenter walked next to load the bases.  Stephen Piscotty was up with the bases loaded and hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that nearly bounced over Josh Harrison's head.  He managed to snag it, but threw wildly to first.  Michael Morse couldn't make the scoop, and the Cardinals scored two runs.  The official scorer originally ruled it an error on Harrison, but later changed it to an infield hit for Piscotty, and an error on the throw (causing the runs to score).  I happen to think Piscotty would have been safe (or it would have been super close) even if the throw had been perfect, so good job, official scorer guy.

The Cards added insurance runs in the seventh.  After Greg Garcia pinch hit for Jaime Garcia and drew a walk, Matt Carpenter hit an opposite field bomb for his 21st home run of the year.  MARPMARPMARP!  4-0 Cardinals.

Those would turn out to be important insurance runs, because Trevor Rosenthal came into the game in the top of the ninth and had...issues.  After striking out the first two hitters, Neil Walker singled and Pedro Alvarez singled - scoring Walker who had reached second base on a wild pitch. Harrison walked next, and just as I was starting to yell OH HELL NO, pinch-hitter Gregory Polanco struck out to end the game.  We won!  Hooray!

Notes

1. Jaime Garcia got his 50th win of his career.  Congrats to Jaime!

2. There was a Peter Bourjos sighting today!  In his one at bat, he smoked a ball to center field, but Andrew McCutchen ran it down because of course he did.

3. There was a pretty interesting play in the top of the seventh.  With Aramis Ramirez up to bat, and Sean Rodriguez on second base, a ball sort of got past Yadi, but not really.  He picked it up and fired down to third base to get Rodriguez advancing.  Carpenter fielded the throw and tagged Rodriguez, who got there safely, but appeared to take his foot off the base, while Carpenter held the tag.  The third base umpire seemed to acknowledge this, but made a signal indicating that Carpenter had forced Rodriguez off the base.  The Cardinals challenged the play, but the safe call was upheld.  What we don't know - at least what we didn't know at the time - is whether the replay confirmed that Rodriguez did NOT come off the base, or if the powers that be decided that this call (a fielder forcing a runner off the base) is not reviewable.  I still haven't heard either way, but if others have, please share in the comments.

4. ESPN Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow.  John Lackey faces off against Gerrit Cole at 7:05 CT.  You know it's going to be epic.