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Pirates @ Cardinals recap 9.6 - Pirates power their way to series win

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Cole shuts down Cards' offense, Pirates power up late.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis Cardinals

Gerrit Cole vs. John Lackey
7:10 p.m. CT 
Busch Stadium - St. Louis, Missouri

Today's Lineups -

Some News -

Things we were looking for -

Randal Grichuk was activated today and is available to pinch run.  He is close to being able to hit, and is further away from being able to throw.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

John Lackey hit a groove early.  It took him 8 pitches to get through the first, and 10 to get through the second, and that included a single to Aramis Ramirez, which he was able to erase with a double play.  In the third, he used only 11 pitches to retire the side in order.

Gregory Polanco singled to lead off the fourth.  Starling Marte reached on an infield single.  Andrew McCutchen grounded into a double play, but it unfortunately left Polanco on third.  Neil Walker drove him in for the first run of the game.  Before the inning ended, Francisco Cervelli hit a ground ball for third.  Carpenter thought there was a possibility of the grounder going foul, so he let it go.  It stayed fair, and Carpenter and Ramirez collided at the base.  Lackey retired Pedro Alvarez to strand the bases loaded.  Pirates lead 1-0.

In the fifth, Mercer took a walk, and Cole bunted him over (impressive, considering the pitch ran up and in towards his head).  Polanco's single put runners on the corners with one out.  Lackey got Marte to ground into the inning-ending double play.

Lackey worked a 1-2-3 sixth.

The Bucs tacked on another in the seventh.  Pedro Alvarez knocked a double to the corner in right, and Gerrit Cole drove him home, blooping a single into center.  Pirates lead 2-0.

Lackey came back out for the eighth, to my surprise, and he did so with the heart of the order coming up.  It did not work out for the Birds.  Aramis Ramirez took advantage, and blasted a dinger into the Pirates' bullpen, and that finally prompted Matheny to get Lackey out of there.  Steve Cishek checked in.  After a nice diving catch in left by Piscotty, Cervelli doubled, and Sean Rodriguez hit a two-run homer.  Pirates lead 5-0.

Lackey's final line: 7.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 100 pitches thrown.

Tyler Lyons came in from the 'pen and pitched the eighth. He coughed up two more - this time on a Marte 2-run jack.  Pirates lead 7-0.

Bottom halves -

Gerrit Cole worked around a couple two-out walks in the first, getting a sharp line-out to end the inning off Yadier Molina's bat.

Cole went on to retire the Cards in order in the second, although Brandon Moss drove a fly ball to the warning track.

John Lackey got an extremely generous ball call and he rode it to a leadoff walk in the third.  But Cole buckled down and struck out Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty.  Jordy Mercer made a nice leaping grab to rob Jhonny Peralta of a hit, ending the inning.

Cole got a couple fly outs and a groundout on his way to a 1-2-3 fourth.

Jon Jay broke up Cole's no hitter in the fifth, with a soft liner to center just past the outstretched glove of Neil Walker.  Carpenter blooped a single to right to put runners on the corners with two down and Piscotty up to the plate.  Cole was able to keep the Cards at 0, though.

Cole continued his dominance into the sixth, retiring the Cards' 3-4-5 batters.

Moss, Wong, and Jay got out in order in the seventh.  Cole hit triple digits on his 94th pitch of the evening.  The seventh inning was his last.  His final line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K, 99 pitches.

Tony Watson mowed through Tommy Pham, Carpenter, and Piscotty in the eighth.

Joakim Soria pitched to the Cards' contingent of call-ups in the ninth, and they showed some spunk.  Greg Garcia doubled and then scored on a Cody Stanley single.  Peter Bourjos flew out to end the game.  Pirates win 7-1.

Final Notes -

  • Lackey had a decent day.  Cole had a great one.  They both used the low portion of the zone effectively, both with good sliders.
  • Cole's RBI was his first in 364 days.
  • Fangraphs
  • Gamenotes: PiratesCardinals

Looking ahead -

Tune in tomorrow for a Labor Day matinee starting at 1:15 CT.  Dan Haren and the Cubs will take on Lance Lynn and the Cardinals.