The Cardinals are back in St. Louis tonight starting their weekend series facing off against the Pirates. This is guest writer Hats for Matts writing from my wonderful wife’s account, so please don’t blame her for my shortcomings.
Anyway, here are the lineups:
The Cardinals and Brewers are tied for second place in the NL Central, each 5 games back of the first place Cubs. Luckily for El Birdos, the Cubs and Brewers play each other this weekend so they have the chance to make up some ground on one or both of the clubs if they can get a few wins. Going into tonight both teams are also only 3 games back from the Colorado Rockies for the second Wild Card spot. On to the game!
Top of the 1st
Starling Marte led off the first with an infield hit, Max Moroff hit into a fielder’s choice, Luke Weaver stuck Gregory Polanco out looking, and Josh Bell hit a dribbler to second. 0-0
Bottom of the 1st
Matt Carpenter led off with a full count walk before being erased by Stephen Piscotty grounding into a double play. Tommy Pham, returning to the starting lineup tonight, struck out swinging on a nasty slider from Pirates starter Trevor Williams. 0-0
Top of the 2nd
The Pirates got a couple of hits and an out before Jordy Mercer ground into a nicely turned double play. 0-0
Bottom of the 2nd
3 up 3 down. Randal Grichuk showcased his amazing ability to whiff on breaking pitches and struck out swinging on 3 sliders.0-0
Top of the 3rd
Williams ground out to second, Marte ground out to third, Moroff struck out looking on a fastball at the bottom the zone. Luke Weaver was looking sharp this inning, fastball well-located and breaking pitches breaking. 0-0
Bottom of the 3rd
Greg Garcia led off the inning with a double to shallow left right where the front of the 100 sections runs up near the foul line, good baserunning out of the box as he slid safely into second in true Superman fashion. Alex Mejia grounded out to second, advancing Garcia and bringing up Weaver. Weaver got his first career RBI on a ground ball sacrifice to score Garcia. Congratulations Luke! Carpenter walked again before Piscotty ended the inning on a groundball out. 1-0 good guys
Top of the 4th
Weaver struck out Polanco swinging, Josh Bell singled to RF, and then 2011 hero David Freese worked a 10 pitch AB before striking out. Yadier Molina threw Bell out at second for the double play. Still 1-0
Bottom of the 4th
Pham led off with a full count walk and took a long lead at first. Danny Mac noted on the broadcast Pham’s goal of being a 20/20 guy (20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, that is) and that Tommy was now only 1 of each from meeting that goal. Jose Martinez worked a long AB before hitting a single to shallow LF that allowed Pham to motor to third and bringing up Molina. Yadi went down swinging and Grichuk hit into a fielder’s choice to score Pham. Garcia ground out to end the inning. 2-0 El Birdos
Top of the 5th
Jordan Luplow got out and Weaver struck out Diaz. Diaz took his second ball of the AB by holding back his swing and looking just about like ye ole Mike Napoli:
Mercer got on with a long single to RF that Piscotty got back to the infield quickly to prevent him from advancing further. Weaver got a quick out from Williams to end it. 2-0
Bottom of the 5th
Mejia struck out, Weaver hit a single up the middle, Carpenter walked a THIRD time, and then the broadcast spent a good 40 seconds showing John Brebbia making sweet love to the ground in the bullpen. Piscotty struck out swinging on a good inside pitch before Pham took a few pitches and a HBP to load the bases. Martinez continued his rather impressive (for his limited PAs) season and took a single up the middle scoring Weaver as well as Carpenter on a close slide home. The Pirates challenged whether Carpenter’s foot actually touched the plate and promptly lost the challenge on a convincing shot from the camera by third base. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle replaced Williams and Molina hit a long fly to the RF warning track for the third out. 4-0 Cards
Top of the 6th
Marte grounded out to second, Moroff singled to right, and Polanco took a ball to the the left-center gap where Pham ran it down on a nice play. Weaver was now at 104 pitches and was uh... still pitching. He gave up another single to Bell and Mike Matheny finally decided to manage and pulled his starter for Matt Bowman. Bowman struck out Freese to end the threat. 4-0
Weaver’s line for the night: 5.2 IP, 7 K, 7 H, 0 BB, 0 R. Solid.
Bottom of the 6th
With AJ Schugel pitching for the Pirates, Grichuk hit a flyout to center. Garcia ground out to SS and Mejia struck out. 4-0
Top of the 7th
Brebbia, newly rejuvenated from his blissful romp with the bullpen astroturf, came in to relieve Bowman. He struck out Luplow, walked Elias Diaz, and then got Jordy Mercer on a ground out. Pinch-hitter Adam Frazier hit a single to right field scoring Diaz and Brebbia struck Marte out swinging. 4-1
Bottom of the 7th
George Kontos came in for the Pirates to face pinch-hitting Harrison Bader who promptly chopped the first pitch back to Kontos for an out. Carpenter flew out to left and Piscotty struck out. 4-1
Top of the 8th
Ryan Sherriff came in to start the eight and retired Moroff on a grounder. He got Polanco swinging and gave up a dribbler to Bell. Matheny handed the ball to new Cardinals Juan Nicasio, making his first appearance for the team. Freese hit a slow-roller to the left side of the mound which Nicasio barehanded, spun and shot over to a stretched Martinez for the out. We were happy. 4-1
Bottom of the 8th
Pham struck out swinging, Martinez hit a high fly to center for the second out, before Yadi hit a single to CF. Randy grounded out to third. 4-1
Top of the 9th
Nicasio stayed in to get Luplow on a fly to RF, Diaz on a grounder to third, and Mercer on a liner to CF. Game over.
Overall a good night for Weaver and the bullpen, with some pretty good baserunning (!) on the part of the Cardinals. Aggressive at times but not the complete yakety-sax stuff we have been seeing for the last couple of seasons.
As of publishing the Brewers held off the Cubs to win 2-0. meaning the Cardinals will move up a game on the division leaders while remaining tied for second. The Dodgers are up 4-1 over the Rockies at the moment so the potential remains to gain a game in the Wild Card standings.