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Cardinals @ Pirates 4.3 recap - Cards Strike Out 14 Times in Opening Day Loss

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Injury bug bites again as Tommy Pham leaves the game early with oblique tightness, Adam pitches OK, offense anemic in opening day loss

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Pirates

Adam Wainwright vs. Francisco Liriano
12:05 p.m. CT 
PNC Park - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Today's Lineups -

John Jaso - 1B Matt Carpenter - 3B
Andrew McCutchen - CF Tommy Pham - LF
David Freese - 3B Matt Holliday - 1B
Starling Marte - LF Randal Grichuk - CF
Francsico Cervelli - C Stephen Piscotty - RF
Gregory Polanco - LF Yadier Molina - C
Josh Harrison - 2B Kolten Wong - 2B
Jordy Mercer - SS Jedd Gyorko - SS
Francisco Liriano - LHP Adam Wainwright - RHP

Some News -

  • Jordan Walden will be out "several months" with a grade two tear of his lat muscle.  -
  • Yadi only trails Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith for Cardinals opening day starts

Things we were looking for -

A bit of a surprise, to me, at least, that Mike went as all in as he's able on stacking righties against Liriano - going with Tommy Pham in left and Holliday at first instead Brandon Moss or Matt Adams being somewhere in the lineup, leaving only Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong as lefties in the lineup.  It's also crazy to see Jedd Gyorko, starting SS, and Matt Holliday, starting 1B.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

Francisco started his season well, inducing quick groundouts from Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham and a full-count strikeout of Matt Holliday.  On the Pham groundout, old friend David Freese made an excellent barehanded play coming in on a swinging bunt to nab Tommy.

Liriano had an easy second, striking out the side in impressive fashion.

He kept it up in the third, striking out Kolten Wong.  Jedd Gyorko became the first Cardinal baserunner, working a walk.  Wainwright laid down a bad bunt, but Cervelli's arm was feeling charitable and he sailed a throw into centerfield, resulting in runners on the corners with one out.  The Pirates worked out of the jam, though, getting a double play off Carp's bat to end the inning.

Holliday and Grichuk hit  back to back singles in the fourth, and Molina walked  to load the bases.  Wong wasn't able to take advantage, though, and left 'em stranded by striking out.  (Liriano's eighth of the day!!)

Liriano kept rolling through the fifth.  He allowed a full-count walk to Carpenter, but set down the others around him quickly.

Holliday led off the sixth by taking a walk.  Piscotty took one as well.  Yadi singled to left to load the bases with one out.  Wong hit a broken-bat fly ball to shallow right, and was called out with the infield fly rule.  Gyorko grounded out to third to end the inning.

Liriano's final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 10 K, 94 pitches thrown.

Tony Watson took over for the seventh.  His inning consisted of two strikeouts and a flyout.  Jeremy Hazelbaker made his big league debut.

Neftali Feliz pitched the eighth.  Holliday flew out to right.  Grichuk struck out.   David Freese made a sweet backhand play on a hot shot from Piscotty to end the inning.

Mark Melancon for the ninth.  Molina and Wong reached by a single and a hit by pitch, respectively.  Gyorko grounded out, moving the runners along.  Brandon Moss struck out, bringing up Carpenter.  It was a great battle, and on the eighth pitch of the AB, Carpenter laced a line drive single to right, scoring one.  Matt Adams got into a quick 0-2, but worked his way back into a full count.  Ultimately, he poked a harmless fly ball into center to end the game.  Pirates win 4-1.

Bottom halves -

We didn't have to wait long for the first challenge of the year.  Adam Wainwright threw a pitch in on the hands of Andrew McCutchen that apparently clipped him going by.  His award of first was confirmed after a Matheny challenge.  David Freese worked a full count and grounded a single up the middle, putting runners on the corners with one out.  Starling Marte lined out to Gyorko, and Francisco Cervelli popped out to Gyorko in shallow center to end the threat.

Tommy Pham left the game due to tightness in his oblique.  Matt Adams checked in at first, Holliday moving to left.

Gregory Polanco led off the second by smashing a double off the right field corner fence.  After a walk to Jordy Mercer, Francisco Liriano drove in the first run of the year sneaking a grounder through to right field.  John Jaso tacked on another, flaring a fly ball single into right center to drive in Mercer.  Pirates lead 2-0.

Wainwright walked Cervelli, but then dialed in and got a flyout from Polanco and an impressive strikeout of Harrison with a Wainwright-ian curveball.

The fourth looked great for Waino.  He pulled out more of those pretty curves, and struck out a couple in his first 1-2-3 inning.

McCutchen and Freese hit a couple hard balls into left in the fifth, and Freese's fell for a single.  A good double play started by Carpenter and a nice turn by Wong got Adam out of the inning.

In the sixth, Cervelli hit a monster triple to left-center.  It took a crazy hop off the wall, aiding his advance to third.  Polanco worked a walk.  Josh Harrison drove a ball deep to center, scoring Cervelli.  On the play, Polanco tagged to second.  Grichuk unleashed a great throw to deny Polanco the next bag.  The Pirates challenged the call, as Wong missed the lead leg on the tag, but the call was upheld after review.  Mercer flew out to deep center to end the inning.  Pirates lead 3-0.

Adam's final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 96 pitches thrown.

Sueng Hwan Oh made his big league debut in the seventh.  He walked a couple, but struck out Freese on a questionable outside pitch, and Marte on a nice sharp breaking ball, and got out of the inning unscathed.

Seth Maness had the eighth for the Cards.  Cervelli and Polanco singled to start things off, and then a sac bunt got them to second and third.  Then they tried a suicide squeeze, and when Mercer wasn't able to get the bunt down, Cervelli was a dead duck.  Mercer atoned, though, and doubled over Grichuk's head to drive in Polanco.  Pirates lead 4-0.

Final Notes -

  • Congratulations to Jeremy Hazelbaker for making his big league debut, pinch hitting for Adam Wainwright in the seventh inning.
  • Congratulations to Seung Hwan Oh for making his big league debut, pitching the bottom of the seventh for the Cardinals.
  • David Freese played a nice third base today.  It was strange to see him as a Pirate.
  • Tommy Pham's injury thread.
  • The replay system in the Cardinals' clubhouse wasn't working correctly, so the umpire crew issued "unlimited" challenges to Mike Matheny, which was utilized unsuccessfully twice.
  • Adam didn't look great early in my estimation, and it looked to me like his command eluded him at times.  He settled in in the middle innings, but was getting hit pretty hard in his last inning or so.
  • Fangraphs
  • Gamenotes: CardinalsPirates

Looking ahead -

Tune in Tuesday for Game 2.  Michael Wacha will be opposed by Jonathon Niese, starting at 6:05 CT.