Matt Carpenter started the game off right by looping a single into short CF on the second pitch he saw from Trevor Williams. Pham flew out to deep LF and Fowler worked a full-count walk, but Gyorko grounded into an inning-ending 5-3 double play. Despite facing 4 batters, Williams threw just 12 pitches.
Adam Frazier began the Pirates’ half in similar fashion, chipping the second pitch he saw from Carlos Martinez over DeJong’s outstretched glove into short LF. Carlos struck out Jaso as Frazier stole 2B, and McCutchen followed by scorching the ball back up the middle. Wong was perfectly positioned to turn it into an easy out, but the ball struck the 2B bag on the fly and caromed into CF, scoring Frazier. But Martinez battled back, getting Bell to line out to LCF and Cervelli to ground out to 1B. Carlos was at 18 pitches. 1-0 Pirates.
Molina and Wong wasted no time becoming the first 2 outs of the 2nd, Molina grounding out to 3B on 2 pitches, and Wong flying out to CF on another 2 pitches. DeJong then socked a double that one-hopped the wall in LF, and Sierra beat out an infield single. Sierra, who had been working on stealing bases in the minors, then swiped 2B with no throw, but Carlos ultimately struck out to end another Cardinal threat. Williams was still just at 23 pitches.
Gregory Polanco was all over Carlos’ pitches to start the bottom half, but ended up lining out to 1B. Mercer and Moroff then softly grounded out to SS. Carlos was at 30 pitches.
Carpenter and Pham worked a pair of deep counts against Williams, but ended up flying out to LF and striking out. Fowler spotted a single off the end of his bat into short RF, but Gyorko grounded out to 2B, after working another deep count. However, Williams’ pitch count had ballooned to 44.
Williams knocked a single to RF to lead off the bottom of the 3rd. But Carlos got Frazier to ground out to 2B, Jaso to pop out to short LF, and McCutchen to strike out on a slider. He was now at 43 pitches.
Williams recovered some of his efficiency in the 4th. He struck out Molina, surrendered an early-count single up the middle to Kolten Wong, then cancelled him by getting DeJong to ground his first offering into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. Williams was at 49 pitches.
Carlos returned the favor. He got Bell to ground out to 1B on the first pitch, and Cervelli to fly out to RF on 4 pitches. Polanco worked a full count and launched long fly ball that missed being a HR by a foot (that required a replay review) and ultimately beat out an infield single (that required a replay review.) Carlos got Mercer to fly out to deep left that required a good play by Pham in foul territory to convert. Carlos was at 60 pitches.
Sierra began the 5th with another infield single, and advanced to second on an incredible sacrifice bunt by Carlos. Matt Carpenter followed by working another deep count and lining an RBI double down the RF line. Pham drew a walk, but Fowler and Gyorko grounded out to cut the rally short. Williams was at 74 pitches. 1-1 Tied game.
Max Moroff socked his first career home run off the RF foul pole to return the lead to the Pirates. Carlos settled back in and got Williams to ground out to 1B, Frazier to ground out to 2B, and (after walking Jaso) McCutchen to line out to LF. He was now at 79 pitches. 2-1 Pirates.
The 6th started as the 4th did, with Molina striking out and Wong slapping a single past the SS. DeJong struck out on a pitch away and off the plate, but Sierra manufactured his 3rd infield single of the game, knocked down by a sprawling Josh Bell at 1B. Matheny opted to leave his ace in to bat for himself, and Carlos Martinez rewarded him with a looping RBI single up the middle, which ousted Williams from the game. Daniel Hudson relieved him and got Carpenter to fly out to deep RCF. 2-2 Tied Game.
Reinvigorated, Carlos struck out Bell on 3 pitches, got Cervelli to fly out to CF on 4 pitches, and got Polanco to line-out to LCF, aided by a wide-ranging Tommy Pham. He was at 88 pitches.
Tony Watson relieved next. He got Pham to ground out on a hot shot to 3B before Fowler dunked another hit into short CF. But Gyorko promptly grounded into his second inning-ending double play of the afternoon, this one of the 6-4-3 variety.
Martinez kept cruising in the 7th. He struck out Mercer, got Moroff to ground out to 1B, and carved up pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin with his 101st pitch. His afternoon was through.
Juan Nicasio relieved next, and tried to climb the ladder on Yadier Molina. The Cardinal captain turned the pitch around for long a home run to deep LCF, giving the Cardinals their first lead of the game. Wong flew out to CF and DeJong struck out, but Sierra stepped in a slapped a single, and this one reached the outfield grass in LF. Nicasio then gifted him third base with an airmailed pick off throw. Luke Voit pinch hit and drew a walk, but Carpenter struck out to end another threat. 3-2 Cardinals.
Trevor Rosenthal relieved Martinez. He started his inning by hitting Frazier with a 98mph fastball on his kneecap. But he regained his composure to get Jaso to bloop out to 3B, McCutchen to pop out behind home plate, and Bell to strike out looking at a 99mph fastball on the outside corner.
Pham led off the 9th by getting punched out on consecutive pitches inside and off the plate, but the Pirates returned the gift when Mercer let Fowler’s harmless grounder go through his legs. Gyorko then lined into his third double play of the afternoon, with replay confirming Bell held his foot on the bag to double off Fowler.
With the Cardinal bullpen in flux, Brett Cecil entered to close the game out. He got Cervelli to ground the ball to SS, but DeJong could not come up with the ball. The play was ruled a single, and Josh Harrison entered to pinch run. Polanco advanced Harrison to second on a soft come-backer, and Jordy Mercer followed with an RBI double down the LF line to tie the game. Matheny opted to walk pinch-hitter David Freese, but Adam Frazier made him pay with a walk-off single up the middle. Pirates win 4-3.
Carlos Martinez: 7.0IP, 2ER, 5H, 5K, 1BB, 63GSc
Trevor Williams: 5.2IP, 2ER, 10H, 5K, 2BB, 49GSc
- After swiping a bag yesterday, Matt Carpenter attempted another steal in the 1st inning today. Fortunately, the attempt came on a pitch that was ruled ball 4, because he would have been dead-to-rights at second.
- Magneuris Sierra now has a hit in 9 straight games to begin his career.
- Conversely, Trevor Williams’ hit in the 3rd was his first in the major leagues, snapping an 0-for-22 start to his career.
- Juan Nicasio had not allowed a HR all season, prior to serving up Molina’s 8th-inning dinger.
- John Brebbia for closer.
- This team did not magically get better over the All-Star Break.