2nd-best win of the year.
Jack Flaherty picked up just about where he left off. After he allowed a lead off single to Josh Harrison and saw him move up to 2B when Jose Martinez whiffed on a catchable pickoff throw, he struck out Cervelli swinging, got Marte to ground out to SS, and struck out Bell looking at a slider at the bottom of the zone. He threw 18 pitches.
The Cardinal offense then ambushed Trevor Williams. Carpenter & Bader led off with pair of singles to LCF and, after Pham popped out trying to bunt his way on, Martinez drew a 6-pitch walk to load the bases for Dexter Fowler. Fowler, riding high after his 3-hit performance in Milwaukee, promptly looped a soft, 2-run single to RCF to put the Cardinals on the board. Then, after watching Ray Searage visit his struggling pitcher, Yairo Munoz pulled a 2-run double down into the LF corner. By the time Garcia grounded out to 2B and Flaherty grounded out to 3B, Williams had thrown 25 pitches. 4-0 Cardinals.
The Pirates clawed a run back in the 2nd. Corey Dickerson led off with a single to LF and traded places at 1B when Moran grounded into a 3-6 fielder’s choice. It should have been a 3-6-1 double play, but Munoz’s throw pulled Flaherty off the bag. Gregory Polanco then worked a 10-pitch PA and singled to RF, and Jordy Mercer followed with an RBI single to LF. Flaherty accepted his counterpart’s sacrifice bunt, and then recovered to strike out Harrison with runners on 2B & 3B. Flaherty’s pitch count ballooned to 47. 4-1 Cardinals. It would be OK.
Williams returned to form in the 2nd. After Matt Carpenter lined a single over Harrison’s head in short RF, Bader popped out to 1B, and Pham & Martinez grounded out softly to 2B & SS, respectively. Williams was at 41 pitches.
Flaherty set the Pirates down in order in the 3rd, albeit with more pitches than he’d probably like. He struck out Cervelli looking with an inside fastball, struck Marte swinging with an inside fastball, and got Bell to ground out to 1B after a 9-pitch battle. He threw 19 pitches in the inning, and was up to 66 pitches overall.
Williams kept rolling. He got Fowler to fly out to CF, and Munoz to fly out to RF. After Garcia bunted his way on with a perfect bunt down the 3B line, Pena struck out swinging. Williams was at a comparatively efficient 54 pitches.
The Pirates nabbed another run in the 4th. Dickerson smacked another lead off single and, after Moran flew out to CF, Polanco brought him around to score with an RBI double to the RCF wall. Flaherty recovered to get Mercer to pop out to 2B and Williams to fly out to LF. He was up to 84 pitches. 4-2 Cardinals. It would be OK.
Williams kept the Cardinals at bay again, despite Harrison Bader’s best efforts. After Flaherty struck out in a 7-pitch battle, and Carpenter popped out to short LF, Bader beat out a 2-hopper to third baseman Colin Moran for an infield single, and then stole 2B. He’s fast. Unfortunately, Pham struck out to strand him on 2B. Williams was at 78 pitches.
With Flaherty’s pitch count rising and a tough batch of lefties due up, the rookie was sent back out to try and earn a Win. He got Harrison & Marte to fly out to LF & RF, but hit Francisco Cervelli on the right forearm, and then served up a 393 HR to Josh Bell, providing a judicious ending to Rick Horton’s lecture on the importance of The Win. Flaherty recovered to get Dickerson to fly out to LF. He was now at 102 pitches, and his evening was through. 4-4 Tie. It would be OK.
But the Cardinals picked their man up. After Martinez struck out, Dexter Fowler continued his resurgence with a double down the 1B that caromed off the sidewall in RF. He would move up to 3B on Yairo’s fly out to RF, and then score on Greg Garcia’s bloop single to CF. Williams was now up to 97 pitches, and his evening was also through. 5-4 Cardinals.
With a pair of lefties due up, the embattled Tyler Lyons was tabbed to relieve. Contrary to wide expectations, he pitched really well! He got Moran to pop out to Pena in foul territory, and then struck out Polanco with a bevy of sliders. Brebbia then relieved, and walked Mercer, but got pinch-hitting Austin Meadows to fly out to the track in LF. Brebbia threw just 9 pitches, and would return in the 7th.
Tyler Glasnow relieved Williams. He gave up a pair of soft singles to pinch-hitting Kolten Wong & Pham, but got Carpenter to ground out to SS, Bader to pop out to RF, and Jose to line out to RF. He threw just 11 pitches, and would return for more.
The top of the 7th featured the The Adventures of Yairo Munoz. Brebbia returned to eat an inning for his team, but ran into trouble after Harrison popped out to RF. Cervelli hit a sure single into the hole between SS & 3B. Munoz slide to field the ball, but ended up kicking it all the way to foul territory, allowing Cervelli to reach 2B. Then, Marte grounded a ball up the middle that Munoz got a glove on, but couldn’t corral, leading to an infield single, ending Brebbia’s night.
In classic Matheny fashion, the Cardinal manager turned to his ground ball specialist for a double play. Fortunately, his ground ball specialist is Jordan Hicks, who got Dickerson to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play (after he walked Bell on 4 pitches.) He threw 7 pitches.
Glasnow returned and mowed the Cardinals down. Flashing a 100mph fastball, he struck out Fowler, got Munoz to ground out to 1B, and got Jedd Gyorko to pop out to 2B. He threw 7 pitches in the inning.
Hicks returned for an encore, and got something else. Colin Moran greeted him with a single to LF, and was pinch run for by the fleet utility-man Sean Rodriguez. Gregory Polanco promptly followed with an RBI double to the RCF wall. Hicks battled back and sandwiched a pair of flyouts to RF by Mercer & Harrison around a walk to Frazier.
With 2 out, and Hicks at 30 pitches, Matheny opted for another mid-inning pitching change, and brought in his closer. Bud Norris battled Francisco Cervelli for 6 pitches before giving up a 3-run bomb to LF. Matheny yanked Norris, and brought in Mayers to retire Marte on a fly out to RF. Brutal, brutal inning. 8-5 Pirates. It would be OK.
Kyle Crick relieved Glasnow after the long inning. He got Pena to pop out to Cervelli in foul territory, then Wong and Carpenter to line out to CF on a pair of well-hit balls.
Mayers returned to be the first Cardinal reliever to complete an inning on the night. He got Bell to ground out to 2B, and then struck out Dickerson and Rodriguez.
Felipe Vazquez entered to try to close this one out, and earn a little redemption after his wild melt-down against the Cardinals on Sunday. Poor guy. Harrison Bader led off with a double down the LF line, followed by Pham reaching on a fielding error by Sean Rodriguez. Marcell Ozuna worked a walk ahead of Luke Voit’s pinch-hit, 2-run single to LF, which closed the deficit to 1 run, and brought up..... Yairo Munoz. And what did Yairo do?
Cardinals win 10-8.
Jack Flaherty: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 43 GSc, 102 pitches.
Trevor Williams: 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 37 GSc, 97 pitches.
- Holy crap, you guys.
- Gregory Polanco hadn’t had a hit in 9 days before his single in the 2nd. He ended up with 3.
- Cervelli was unhappy about the zone Flaherty was getting, and Williams wasn’t.
- The Cardinals just played Game 7 in a 10-in-10 stretch, so it was understandable that Matheny didn’t want to use up the bullpen in short bursts. Didn’t work, though.
- Hereby dubbing Yairo Munoz “Shark” - Pirates hate sharks. Also,