Coming to the end of a frustrating series (injuries! errors! Jonathan Broxton!), the Cardinals badly needed a strong performance from Adam Wainwright and a patchwork Cardinals offense made up of whatever guys still happen to be standing. Luckily, both the pitching and the offense rallied and got the Cardinals a 5-1 win.
Pitching notes: Adam Wainwright had a very solid performance, going 7 innings with only a single earned run and a single walk against nine strikeouts. Tyler Glasnow made his debut for the Pirates, and after a very effective first time through the order came back to earth and gave up a total of 4 ER and 2 BB against 2 Ks. However, he did get his first major league hit in the 5th inning (one of only 5 given up by Wainwright). Glasnow is the 11th starter used by Pittsburgh this year, compared to only 5 by St Louis.
The bullpen also had a good showing today. Tyler Lyons, Trevor Rosenthal, and Seung-Hwan Oh followed Waino to close out the game. Lyons was lifted for Rosenthal in the 8th after getting the first out and giving up a single. Rosenthal got everyone a bit on edge by immediately giving up a very hard hit foul ball, but rallied to get the final two outs. Oh pitched a basically flawless 1-2-3 9th inning.
Dinger camp: 2 home runs today, by Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk. Piscotty's 3 run HR, initially ruled a double, was overturned after a challenge by Mike Matheny. Randal Grichuk had a solo shot in the 5th inning, which I have seen alternately labeled 431 feet and 441 feet, which is really just the difference between "dang" and "daaang".
How's the weather?: First pitch was delayed a half hour due to rain, but once the game started, the weather was quite nice, if a bit humid.
Did someone debut today?: You bet! In addition to the aforementioned Glasnow, backup catcher Mike McKenry came in to bat for Wainwright in the 7th and was immediately requested to bunt, which is likely Matheny's initiation to the big club. McKenry's name was misspelled on the scoreboard as "McHenry" for about 2/3 of the inning before it was corrected. Welcome to the Cardinals, Mike!
All-star watch: Lone Cardinals All-Star Aledmys Diaz tripled to lead off the 4th inning and would later score on a wild pitch. He was 1-4 on the day.
Opponent scoring: The Pirates scored their lone run when Matt Joyce doubled in the 2nd inning and was advanced by Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer. The Pirates wouldn't get a runner past 2nd for the rest of the game. WPA graph shows the relatively pain-free nature of this game:
Defensive notes: Greg Garcia, who I don't think anyone anticipated being needed at third, made two strong defensive plays on liners. No errors by anyone!
Anything else?: Mike Matheny, please stop bunting. In the 7th inning, with a runner on first, the Cardinals opted to have Kolten Wong bunt. After the ball was misplayed, allowing Wong to reach first, the Cardinals decided to press their luck by having McKenry bunt. It was less successful, and a double play by Garcia ended the inning on the next batter.