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Cardinals @ Pirates 6.12 recap: Cards sweep series in style

Leake's strong effort plus a nice offensive output equals series win against division foe

Mike Leake done good!
Mike Leake done good!
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Pirates

Mike Leake vs. Jonathon Niese
4:05 p.m. CT 
PNC Park - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Today's Lineups -

Jedd Gyorko - 2B John Jaso - 1B
Aledmys Diaz - SS Andrew McCutchen - CF
Matt Holliday - LF Gregory Polanco - RF
Stephen Piscotty - RF David Freese - 3B
Jhonny Peralta - 3B Starling Marte - LF
Yadier Molina - C Josh Harrison - 2B
Brandon Moss - 1B Jordy Mercer - SS
Randal Grichuk - CF Erik Kratz - C
Mike Leake - RHP Jon Niese - LHP

Some News -

  • Cubs destroyed Atlanta 13-2 -
  • Oakland took care of the Reds in interleague action 6-1 -
  • Milwaukee held off a late surge from the Mets to win 5-3 -

Things that happened -

Top halves -

Matt Holliday put the Birds up early, hitting a two-out solo jack the opposite way on a Niese fastball.  Cards lead 1-0.

The second inning yielded only a Yadier Molina base knock to right field.

The third was a good one for the Cards.  Mike Leake got things going, a single to left field.  He advanced to second on a passed ball.  Aledmys moved him along to third with his league-leading 15th infield hit, putting runners on the corners with one out.  Holliday drove in his second run of the game, a single to drive in Leake.  Piscotty put another one on the board, doubling in Diaz, a shot off the base of the wall in center.  Old friend David Freese saved a run on a nice play on a grounder from Jhonny Peralta - he got the out at first and allowed only one run to score, instead of the two that would have if the ball had scooted past.  Yadi singled to put runners on the corners.  When Moss was batting, Yadi took off for second and got himself caught in a rundown.  Piscotty took the opportunity to try to score, but was gunned out at home.  The Cardinals asked for a review, contending that Piscotty would have scored, had Erik Kratz not been blocking the plate.  It's hard to say he wasn't blocking the plate, but in the end, the call was upheld to end the inning.  Cards lead 4-0.

The fourth and fifth went 1-2-3 style for the Cards as Niese seemed to settle in a bit.

The Cards got tired of the 1-2-3 thing, so they tried to replicate their third inning in the sixth.  They in fact did one better.  Piscotty led off with a walk.  Peralta singled, aided by a bounce off of Niese on its way through.  Two came home on a single by Molina to left field, but that was because Marte's throw to the plate hit Piscotty, so each runner was able to advance (including Peralta to the plate and Yadi to third).  Moss singled in Yadi, but got thrown out at second trying to advance on the throw to the plate.  OOPS!  And that sucked, because Randal Grichuk homered on the very next pitch.  That chased Niese in favor of Jared Hughes.  Mike Leake singled for his second hit of the game, but then Jedd Gyorko erased that with a GIDP.  Cards lead 8-2.

Jonathon Niese's final line: 5 1/3 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 79 pitches thrown.

Arquimedes Caminero pitched a seventh inning, and only gave up a single to Holliday (his third hit of the game).

Corey Luebke checked in to pitch the eighth.  Moss walked and Grichuk got hit by a pitch, but they were stranded.

Luebke kept runs off the board in the ninth as well, though Piscotty notched a double into right.

Bottom halves -

Mike Leake made the first three innings look easy.  He faced the minimum, erasing Jordy Mercer's leadoff single in the third with a double play.

The fourth inning proved to be the best one for the Buccos today.  Brandon Moss wasn't able to handle a John Jaso struck ball, allowing him to reach.  Gregory Polanco singled to right to put runners on first and second, until a wild pitch moved them to second and third (the radio folks were convinced it should have been a passed ball, but I don't know).  Mr. Freese drove in their first run, an infield single.  Starling Marte singled to left field, driving in Polanco.  Freese became the second out by trying to take third on Holliday's throw home.  Peralta cut it off, though, and gunned him at third.  Josh Harrison grounded out to end the frame.  Cards lead 4-2.

After the runs in the fourth, Mike Leake went back to his facing the minimum ways that he had going in the first three innings for the fifth and sixth.  He even struck out four in the two innings, 3 of those of the looking variety.

In the seventh, Freese and Marte singled, and Freese tagged to third on a fly out by Harrison.  Jordy Mercer drove in Freese on a grounder up the middle at short.  Diaz threw it to first, where Mercer was declared safe.  Matheny challenged, contesting that the throw beat Mercer.  The call was overturned and Mercer was deemed out.  My opinion is that there wasn't enough to overturn the call, but perhaps that makes up for the Piscotty thing earlier in the game.  Regardless, they got a run out of the deal.  Cards lead 8-3.

That was Leake's final frame.  His final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 105 pitches thrown.

Jonathon Broxton used just 6 pitches to record the three outs of the eighth.

Kevin Siegrist put a nice easy stamp on this game.  He struck out one and got a couple fly outs to end the game.  Cards win 8-3.

Final Notes -

  • Old friend David Freese had a nice day, going 2-4 and pulling out a couple great plays at third.
  • Holliday and Yadi both had 3-hit days, and Leake and Piscotty both notched 2 hits.  With 14 total for the team, all the starters except lead-off hitter Gyorko got at least one.
  • Leake was very good today.
  • Fangraphs
  • Game notes: CardinalsPirates

Looking ahead -

Tuesday, the Cards start some interleague action at home with a 2-game set against the Astros.  Doug Fister will be opposed by Jaime Garcia.  Action starts at 7:15 CT.