Whew. That’s a relief. That would have been annoying. The Cardinals almost lost 5 of 6 to the Pirates to start the season and the Pirates aren’t a good enough team to stomach that. The Cardinals looked like they were going to do that once Miles Mikolas, the usually steady starter, gave up four runs through five innings. It would have been another bad series loss to the Pirates, but then the rest of the game happened.
The Cardinals started the game well, because Matt Carpenter is now the leadoff batter. I don’t mean that to suggest Carpenter can only bat leadoff, but to suggest that Carpenter is on fire and a good hitter, so him batting leadoff will lead to good things. So don’t read more into that. Carpenter worked a 7 pitch plate appearance and almost hit a homer, but ended up with a leadoff double. He was driven in by an infield single by Marcell Ozuna.
Miles Mikolas was just a little off, but looked mostly as good as he has all year. For one thing, he has a GB% of 50 on the year and today only 33.3% of the balls hit against him were on the ground. I’m not saying he looked bad, but he didn’t quite look like the standard he has set. He fell behind on about half the batters he faced, and that’s something he usually is able to do with ease.
Still, he didn’t have any problems until the 4th. Austin Meadows blooped a single to lead off the inning, and after a stole base, and a flyout, he was at third with two outs. Colin Moran singled with two outs to drive in the first run of the game and tie the game at 1-1. In the 5th, Elias Diaz walked and Jordy Mercer singled to begin the inning. With one out, Adam Frazier tripled both home to take the lead for the Pirates. Meadows drove in Frazier for a sacrifice fly to take a 4-1 lead for the Pirates. It didn’t look good for the Cards.
In the 7th, the Cards knocked Jameson Taillon out of the game with back-to-back singles by Kolten Wong and Yairo Munoz with one out. After a wild pitch and a flyout by Carson Kelly, Jedd Gyorko pinch-hit with two outs and hit a bloop single to drive both runners in to make it 4-3 Pirates.
Sam Tuivailaila pitched a clean, scoreless inning in the bottom of the 7th, paving the way for the Cards comeback. Jose Martinez singled, followed by walks to both Tommy Pham and Ozuna. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Tyler O’Neill struck out. The Pirates brought in Felipe Vazquez, an elite lefty closer for the Pirates, but he did not exactly behave like an elite lefty closer. Harrison Bader pinch-hit and hit a bloop single to right field to tie the game at 4. Munoz walked with the bases loaded to bring the score to 5-4. Carson Kelly hit a slow grounder to short, which was hit slow enough to drive in a sixth run. Greg Garcia pinch-hit and walked to load the bases. Carpenter struck out with the bases loaded.
Jordan Hicks pitched a perfect 8th inning, with a strikeout and no walks. Bud Norris pitched a perfect 9th inning too, but he didn’t strike anyone out.
- Mikolas line: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 Ks, BB, 4 ER
- Matt Carpenter went 2-4 with a walk. Both of his hits were doubles. His wRC+ is now 103 on the year.
- I suppose nobody else really had a good day today, except the bullpen, because everyone else got one hit or less on the day.
- The bullpen pitched 3 innings, with 2 strikeouts and zero baserunners.
- The Cardinals won a series against the Pirates!
Tomorrow the Cardinals face the Brewers for a 3-game series in Milwaukee. It’s Luke Weaver against Brent Suter, and all I’ll say about that is that his name is Brent. So win Cards.