The Cardinals didn’t offer much of anything in the way of offense in the 1st. After Carpenter flared out to short CF, Pham drew a bizarre walk. He clearly offered at the full count offering in the dirt, and he ran down to first as the catcher threw to first as if he thought he’d struck out, but the home plate umpire called the pitch ball 4. It didn’t end up mattering, except that it elevated Jameson Taillon’s pitch count to 20 after Fowler popped out to SS and Gyorko struck out swinging.
John Gant made his first start since August 27, and his first as a Cardinal. Firing a series of 94mph fastballs, he got Bostick to ground out on a come-backer and walked Marte before we were graced with another bizarre play. Gant got in on Andrew McCutchen’s hands and popped him up into the area between the mound and 3B. But the pop up was low, Gant vacated his position, Kelly never located the ball amid the full sun backdrop, and Gyorko couldn’t reach the ball in time, resulting in the ball dropping uncaught. But Marte didn’t get a read on in either, and wound up being thrown out at 2B. Gant then got Osuna to ground out to 3B with his 16th pitch to end the inning.
Wong worked a 3-1 count but grounded out to 2B before Paul DeJong managed the Cardinals’ first hit, a single to LF. But Piscotty lined out to LF, and Kelly was robbed by a charging, diving McCutchen. Taillon was at 38 pitches.
After Gant got Rodriguez to fly out to LF, Luplow turned on a fastball and drove it into the LCF gap. Pham tried to cut it off, but it scooted just under his glove and went to the wall for a triple. But Gant battled back and got Moroff to pop out to 3B, and got Taillon to ground out to SS on his 27th pitch.
After Gant grounded out to SS, Carpenter gave the Cardinals the lead with a solo HR just over the 21-foot tall wall in RF. Taillon recovered to strike out Pham and get Fowler to pop out to LF on his 52nd pitch. 1-0 Cardinals.
The Pirates answered. Gant battled Bostick to a full count before losing him with a HBP. Marte and McCutchen followed with singles to LF to load the bases with none out. After Osuna pushed a run home and Marte to 3B with a sac fly to short LF (thanks to Gyorko’s ill-advised cutoff of Pham’s throw,) McCutchen tried to squeeze another run in by working himself into a hot box situation, but ended up just costing his team another out. Gant got Rodriguez to ground out to 3B to end the threat. Gant had thrown 48 pitches, and his afternoon was over. Tied 1-1.
The Cardinals went down quickly in the 4th. Gyorko struck out, Wong was thwarted trying to bunt his way on base, and DeJong lined out to short LF. The quick inning put Taillon back on track at 61 pitches.
Matt Bowman relieved Gant. The sinker-baller got Luplow to fly out to CF and Moroff to strike out on a check swing. Then, after Stallings reached on Gyorko’s throwing error, he struck out Taillon.
Stephen Piscotty led off the 5th with an 11-pitch strike out, but Carson Kelly grounded a single off Taillon’s leg, and pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz singled cleanly throw the left side. But Carpenter and Pham struck out on 16 pitches combined to end another threat, but elevate Taillon’s pitch count to 95 and end his afternoon.
Seung Hwan Oh relieved Bowman for some reason. Chris Bostick greeted him with a single back up the middle, and Starling Marte cashed him in with a HR deep to LF. Oh recovered to get McCutchen to ground out to SS, Osuna to pop out to LF, and Rodriguez to ground out to 3B, but the damage was already done. 3-1 Pirates.
Edgar Santana relieved Taillon, and picked up where his predecessor left off. He got Fowler to strike out staring at a 2-seamer on the inside half, Gyorko to line out to CF, and Wong to ground out to SS. He threw just 8 pitches, 7 of which were strikes.
The last thing the Cardinals needed was an even-greater deficit, so of course Brett Cecil was tapped to relieve next. Jordan Luplow promptly took his first-pitch, get-me-over fastball and put it into the seats down the LF line for a HR. Cecil recovered to get Moroff to line out to deep LF, Stallings to line out to 3B, and Diaz to strike out swinging. 4-1 Pirates.
Daniel Hudson relieved Santana. DeJong worked a lead off walk and advanced to 2B on Piscotty’s ground out. After Kelly grounded out into the jaws of a strange shift, pinch-hitter Greg Garcia worked a second walk. Lefty Dan Runzler came in to face Carpenter, but Matheny countered by pinch-hitting with Randal Grichuk (???), who actually managed the Cardinals’ third walk of the inning. George Kontos entered next to face Tommy Pham, who grounded out sharply to 3B to end the threat.
Now that the lead had been surrendered, John Brebbia was tapped to relieve. Bostick grounded a single up through the middle, but the reliable righty buckled down and struck out Marte and McCutchen before getting Osuna to fly out to RF.
Kontos remained in to pitch the 8th. He got Fowler to fly out to RF, walked Gyorko, got Wong to pop out into foul territory, and got DeJong to ground out to 3B. The Cardinals just looked lifeless.
Tyler Lyons relieved Brebbia and struck out the side. He got Rodriguez on 3 pitches, finishing him off with a slider. Next he got Luplow on 7 pitches, finishing him off with another slider. After Moroff singled down the 3B line, off Garcia’s glove, he got Stallings on 5 pitches, finishing him off with a fastball.
Felipe Rivero entered to close it out, with the shadows creeping out to halfway between the mound and home plate. He struck out Piscotty, got Kelly to ground out SS, and struck out pinch-hitter Harrison Bader to end it. Pirates win 4-1.
John Gant: 3IP, 1ER, 3H, 0HR, 0K, 2BB, 45GSc
Jameson Taillon: 5IP, 1ER, 4H, 1HR, 6K, 1BB, 57GSc
- Amid the drama caused by President Trump’s comments about NFL players, Mike Matheny said he’d support his players if they chose to express themselves before the game. None did.
- Seung Hwan Oh has allowed 4 runs in 5 September appearances across 4IP, matching his total in 12 August appearances across 8.1IP.
- Today was Rookie Costume Day, and featured Luke Voit as Nacho Libre, Ryan Sherriff as Lieutenant Dangle, Magneuris Sierra as The Flash, John Brebbia as Sherlock Holmes, Alberto Rosario as Toad, Alex Mejia as Mario, among others (help me out in the comments, you guys)