Mike Leake came out strong. He got Frazier to quickly ground out to first, Harrison to pull an outside pitch for a fly-out to left, and Jaso to ground out on a come-backer. He required just 16 pitches.
Matt Carpenter led off the Cardinals’ half with a hard-hit single up the middle, but was erased when Tommy Pham grounded into a 5-4-3 double play on what was, frankly, a grooved first pitch. Piscotty battled Kuhl for 7 pitches but ultimately struck out, giving Kuhl a quick, 10-pitch first inning.
The 2nd inning ruled. David Freese led it off with a long fly ball to right-center field, but Tommy Pham made a great catch, mid-stride at the track. Then, after Josh Bell worked a full-count walk, McCutchen laced a hard ground ball up the middle, on which Aledmys Diaz started a circus, 6-4-3 double play.
Grichuk and Molina led off the bottom half with a pair of singles, the first off Mercer’s glove and the second cleanly into center field. Aledmys then failed a bunt attempt, but ultimately beat out an infield single to shortstop (an easy call the first base umpire initially blew), to load the bases. Then, after Paul DeJong popped out into foul territory, Greg Garcia socked 98mph, 2-1 fastball into center to score 2. After a visit from Ray Searage, Kuhl was able to get Leake to strike out on a foul bunt, and Matt Carpenter to ground out on a hot shot to first. Kuhl burned 31 pitches. 2-0 Cardinals.
Jordy Mercer drew a lead-off, full-count walk and Elias Diaz socked a double to the wall in right field as the Pirates sought to answer the Cardinals loud inning. Kuhl struck out, but Adam Frazier stroked a grooved, 0-2 cutter into right-center for a triple. He then scored on Josh Harrison’s sac fly. 3-2 Pirates.
In the bottom of the 3rd, ESPN showed us a neat little segment with Ray Searage (the Pirates’ “duct tape, chicken wire, and spit”) talking throwing mechanics and pitching with Jessica Mendoza. Meanwhile, Pham struck out, and Piscotty & Grichuk grounded out.
After Bell grounded out, McCutchen singled up the middle. Then, Mercer grounded a ball into the hole. Aledmys fielded and fired low to DeJong, who whiffed on the scoop, letting the ball roll into right field and put runners on second and third with one out. A pair of fly outs to center brought home another run. 4-2 Pirates.
Kuhl mowed the Cardinals down in the bottom half. He struck out Molina on 6 pitches, struck out Aledmys on 3 pitches, and got DeJong to reach and line out on a briefly terrifying come-backer.
Leake had a nice, quiet 5th. He got Frazier to fly out to left, Harrison to ground out on a come-backer, and Freese to fly out to center. He was at 81 pitches.
After Garcia grounded out to second, Mike Leake helped himself with a clean single through the left side. Matt Carpenter followed with an 8-pitch walk, but Pham struck out and Piscotty flew out to medium right field.
Leak kept rolling in the 6th. He retired Bell on a ground out to second, McCutchen on a strike out, and Mercer to ground out to third. The inning required 14 pitches, putting Leake at 95 on the night.
The Cardinals started clicking in the 6th. Randal Grichuk announced his return with a towering, 110mph home run into the second deck next to Big Mac Land. Yadier Molina followed with a line drive to left-center, and successfully gambled on McCutchen not being able to throw a strike to second, resulting in a double. Kuhl’s evening was over after that, his 99th pitch. Tony Watson entered in relief. Aledmys bunted Molina to 3rd, and DeJong struck out. But then Jedd Gyorko, pinch-hitting for Garcia, crushed a 1-1 change-up that bounced in right-center for a ground rule double. After Clint Hurdle elected to walk Jose Martinez, pinch-hitting for Leake, to give the Cardinals runners on first and second with 2 out, Matt Carpenter launched a full-count fastball all the way to the wall in left, but Frazier was able to corral it for the final out.
Matt Bowman entered in relief of Leake, and surrendered a lead off single to Elias Diaz. Gregory Polanco pinch hit for Watson, and chopped a ground ball over the head of a suddenly lost Matt Carpenter, but was retired because DeJong was backing up the play and could fire to Bowman. Frazier also grounded out to first, though causing much less consternation. With Diaz on third and Josh Harrison 0-8 against Trevor Rosenthal, Matheny opted to go with his hard-throwing righty. Rosenthal rewarded his manager handsomely with a 3-pitch strikeout of the Pirate second baseman.
Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty lead off the 7th with a pair of walks against Juan Nicasio to start the Cardinals’ half of the 7th. After Grichuk struck out, Yadier Molina managed to poke a 2-strike single to right that scored Pham. Aledmys followed with a slow grounder that Mercer booted, allowing Piscotty to score and knocking Nicasio from the game. Juan Marinez entered in relief. After he uncorked a wild pitch, which forced the infield to play in, DeJong knocked a 2-run single past the drawn-in infield. After Gyorko flew out, Luke Voit made his major league debut and worked full count before taking a fastball to the middle of his back. He was later given the ball. 8-4 Cardinals.
Brett Cecil relieved Rosenthal and put up another clean, easy inning (knocks on wood). He got Jaso to ground out to first, Freese to ground out to second, and Bell to fly out to deep center.
Edgar Santana relieved Marinez. He got Pham to ground out before he struck out Piscotty and Grichuk.
Seung Hwan Oh entered to finish the game, despite it not being a save situation. The embattled righty was able to retire McCutchen on a line drive to deep center field, Mercer on a ground out to third, and Diaz on a come-backer. Cardinals win 8-4.
Mike Leake: 6.0IP, 3ER, 6H, 2K, 2BB, 50 Game Score.
Chad Kuhl: 5.0+IP, 4ER, 8H, 6K, 1BB, 40 Game Score.
- Grichuk’s 6th inning, 478-foot home run is the longest ever hit by a Cardinal at Busch Stadium III (h/t ldr).
- Grichuk has begun choking up with 2 strikes in an attempt to build up his grit portfolio.
- Jordy Mercer’s error in the 7th was his first in 52 games. As a Cardinal fan, this is an unfathomably long time.
- A fan caught a foul ball with her purse in the 7th, and I thought it was awesome.
- Aledmys was hurt while making an awkward slide trying to score in the 7th.
- The Cardinals had 0 batters thrown out on the bases, which was cool.