Something happened in the fifth inning. Describing exactly what the something is that happened would require a word that may or may not be in existence. For now, let us call this something... auspictageous. Moss led off the fifth inning with a double, well struck into the left-field gap. Next, the somethings happened. After advancing to second base on his double, Moss further proceeded to third base after Liriano Gronk-Spiked the baseball off home plate passed the catcher, Stewart. The next something was really something. Liriano buried a slider in the dirt to strike out Jedd Gyorko, but he buried it so well, too well, that it bounced under and passed the catcher again, allowing not just Gyorko to reach first safely, but also Moss to score.
With no outs and the Cardinals leading by a run, Carlos Martinez stepped up to plate. At this point, all the somethings had happened, probably to the opposing pitcher, Francisco Lirano's, utter annoyance. It would seem unlikely that sheer annoyance, and prolonged pitching from the stretch, contributed to what transpired forth-hence, but a lovely narrative that does make.
For then Carlos battled Liriano, hanging tough and ultimately concluding his at bat with his goal accomplished: advancing Gyorko to second. The half bunt, half swing was not exactly an orthodox method, but rarely is anything from El Gallo ever so. Grichuk followed by popping up on the first pitch and Aldemys followed Grichuk by working a walk. Then this happened.
Matt Holliday hit his tenth home run of the season and gave the Cardinals a four runs to zero lead.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Grichuk was hit by a pitch on his elbow. Matt Holliday, basher of baseballs and crusher of hopes and dreams singled to right and was pinch run for by Jeremy Hazelbaker, who promptly put himself into scoring position by stealing second base.
But scoring position is not always scoring position, has Hazelbaker soon found. With two outs, Jhonny Peralta hit a broken bat single to left that scored Grichuk easily, but did not score Hazelbaker, though try he might. The Pirate catcher applied the tag to prevent the sixth Cardinal run from scoring, but hobbled off the field afterwards. He was replaced behind the dish Erik Kratz the following inning.
Carlos Martinez, Red Ass
Carlos Martinez is not really a red ass. This is a red ass:
Carlos Martinez is not nearly angry enough for this type of classification. In fact, his demeanor is more akin to a labrador puppy, as mister_manager once pointed out.
But even puppies bark sometimes.
A man just does not throw 100 miles per hour without having a little bit of an edge. It is there, and if we inspect closely we might just see it bubbling under the surface, just enough to make him dangerous when the going gets tough. Or maybe it is just the chaw in his lip. Or maybe it is looks like this:
For Martinez tonight, the going rarely got tough. Carlos cruised through eight and one-third innings, reaching his season high in pitches at 122, and seemingly getting stronger as the game wore on with three of his five strikeouts occurring in innings eight and nine. His command was nearly meticulous, his only blemishes occurring in the form of six hits and three walks, scattered and promptly erased on double plays, save the for the ninth inning. No Pirate reached third until the bottom of the seventh, when Polanco led off the inning with a double that did not actually appear hit in fair territory (the reason for the reaction from Carlos above). Polanco scored on a sacrifice fly to account for the Pirates only run. Fatigue may have caught up with El Gallo in the bottom of the ninth and after a long plate appearance against Polanco and a groundball single from Marte, he deferred to Trevor Rosenthal, who induced a groundout from Kang and a swinging strikeout from Josh Harrison.
- Grichuk batted in the leadoff spot with Carpenter taking the day off. That is not ideal, but it also had little impact over the course of one game.
- I was surprised to see Martinez lead off to start the ninth. I had already begun writing about his solid eight innings.
- DAVID FREESE I STILL LOVE YOU, BUT I HOPE YOU STRIKE OUT, THANKS YOU ARE A DOLL.
- 122 pitches is the second most pitches thrown by a pitcher this year to Jeff Smarjiahfdpafnad, who threw 123.
LIL PLAYER OF THE GAME
Matt Holliday! I think this is the first time he has been the recipient of this prestigious award. He earned it with a three-run home run and .285 WPA (just edging out Carlos).
WIN EXPECTANCY GRAPH OF JOY
Tomorrow the Cardinals go for the SWEEP (!!!) as Mike Leake faces off against Jonathon Niese at... 4:05 p.m.