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Game 38 (5/9) Recap and Odds and Ends--Cards' offense finally explodes after a drought for a 17-4 win to mask Wacha's poor outing

Offensively, this is what the team needed after our poor offensive showing the past 2 games. The Cards scored 17 runs, which is the most for the team at home since August 22, 2008. Wacha did not pitch very well, allowing 9 hits in 5.2 IP, but sequencing and our offense made it not matter today. We actually only outhit the Pirates 16-10, but we'll take it.

With 2 out in the 1st, Wacha hung a changeup to Gregory Polanco and he launched it over the bullpen in right-center field to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. But the Cards answered with 3 runs in the 2nd. Ozuna led off the inning by working a 3-2 walk. Martinez lined an 0-2 outside fastball down the right field line for a base hit to move Ozuna to 3rd. Molina lined an 0-2 low slider down the left field line into the corner for a double to score Ozuna, move Martinez to 3rd and tie the score 1-1. Fowler lined a center-cut fastball down the right field line that bounced over the fence for a ground rule double to score Martinez and Molina and give the Cards a 3-1 lead. After Wong struck out and Wacha popped out trying to sacrifice, Carpenter walked on 4 pitches, and Goldschmidt singled up the middle on a hanging slider. Fowler scored to make it 4-1 Cards. DeJong struck out on a slider out of the zone to end the threat.

The Pirates narrowed our lead in the top of the 3rd. Frazier flied a changeup into right field that looked like it should have been caught. Martinez raced in, then held up and it dropped in front of his feet for a base hit. With 1 out, Polanco lined a base hit to right-center that rolled all the way to the wall for a double due to positioning. Frazier scored to cut the Cards’ lead to 4-2. Bell flied out to deep center to move Polanco to 3rd, but Cabrera grounded out to the pitcher to strand the runner. We had a chance for some insurance in the bottom of the 3rd when Ozuna led off with a walk and Martinez flied deep to the track in right-center to allow Ozuna to advance to 2nd base. Molina grounded a ball deep in the hole at short that Cole Tucker slid and knocked down but could do nothing else with. It would have been a risky play for Ozuna to advance, because if Tucker came up with the ball, his only play likely would have been at 3rd base. With runners at 1st and 2nd, Fowler ripped a low fastball to right for a base hit to score Ozuna, move Molina to 3rd and extend the Cards’ lead to 5-2. Wong got jammed inside and softly grounded a ball to 2nd. Because the ball was hit so softly, all the Pirates could do was grab the forceout at 2nd base. Molina scored on the fielder’s choice to give the Cards a 6-2 lead.

Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove walked both Carpenter and Goldschmidt to start the bottom of the 4th. Righty Clay Holmes came on in relief in a double switch to make his first MLB appearance this year. Kevin Newman came in to play shortstop and bat in the #9 spot with Holmes in the #8 spot. At this point, the Cards’ bats came even more alive. Holmes walked DeJong on 4 pitches to load the bases with nobody out. That made 13 straight balls by the Pirates pitching staff. After Ozuna struck out, Martinez walked to score Carpenter to give the Cards a 7-2 lead. The 3-1 pitch looked like it caught the low-and-outside corner and the Cards caught a break on that and other pitches this inning. Molina flied a center-cut fastball deep to the track in right-center field that hit the top of the wall and just barely missed being a grand slam. Because of poor baserunning, Molina only ended up with a single and only Goldschmidt was able to score from 3rd base to give the Cards an 8-2 lead. With the infield in, Fowler softly grounded a ball towards the charging Josh Bell, who tried to backhand it. But he whiffed, with the ball going under his glove and rolling into right field. It was ruled an error on Bell. DeJong and Martinez scored on the play to extend the Cards’ lead to 10-2 and Molina moved to 2nd base. Wong lined a hanging curveball to the right-center field gap for a double to score Molina, move Fowler to 3rd and give the Cards an 11-2 lead. Wacha struck out looking and Carpenter sharply grounded a ball into the shift to end the scoring barrage.

The Pirates got to Wacha for a couple of runs in the top of the 5th. Newman lined a single to center, and with 1 out, Starling Marte moved Newman to 2nd base with a lined single to left. Polanco sharply grounded a ball just fair inside the first base line for another double to score Newman, move Marte to 3rd and cut the Cards’ lead to 11-3. Bell grounded a ball up the middle, but DeJong dove for the ball and threw Bell out from his knees. Marte scored and Polanco went to 3rd on the play. Although our lead was cut to 11-4, DeJong’s dive and throw saved a run.

The Pirates threatened to cut the lead some more in the 6th. Cervelli grounded a hanging changeup through the hole to left for a leadoff base hit. With 2 out, Newman broke his bat and grounded a ball off the third base bag, which went to the sidewall in left field for a double to move Cervelli to 3rd. With Wacha at 89 pitches, Shildt double switched in Bader to play center in the #9 spot and brought in John Gant to pitch in the #5 spot. Fowler moved from center to right. Gant got Frazier to ground out to strand the runners. Righty Dovydas Neverauskas came in to pitch for the Pirates on a double switch. With 1 out, Wong one-hopped a ball over the right center field wall for a ground rule double to lead off the bottom of the 6th. Bader struck out on a sharp curveball in the dirt, but it got away from Cervelli for a wild pitch. Bader reached 1st and Wong went to 3rd on the play. Carpenter lined a high fastball to right for a base hit to score Wong, move Bader to 2nd and extend the Cards’ lead to 12-4. Goldschmidt sliced an outside fastball for line drive down the right field line that bounced and went over the wall for another ground rule double. Bader scored, Carpenter went to 3rd, and it was now 13-4 Cards. This was Goldschmidt’s first extra-base hit since April 24. DeJong walked to load the bases with still only 1 out. Ozuna lined a low fastball to the right-center field gap all the way to the wall for a bases-clearing double to give the Cards a 16-4 lead. Munoz pinch-hit for Gant and flied a ball deep to the track in center field that allowed Ozuna to tag up and advance to 3rd base.

Leone came out for the 7th inning and allowed the 1st 2 runners to reach on a squeaker grounball up the middle and a walk, but settled down and retired the rest of the side in order. Munoz and Wieters, who had both pinch-hit in the prior half-inning, stayed in the game at shortstop and catcher, respectively. The Pirates made another double switch to bring in righty Montana DuRapau and he retired us in order, almost getting his block knocked off by a line drive from Wong. Leone then retired the side in order in the 8th. The Cards continued to swing the bats in the bottom of the 8th. Carpenter led off with a lined single to right, Goldschmidt grounded a ball through the hole, and Gyorko, pinch hitting for Leone, did the same to load the bases. Ozuna grounded a ball to short that might have been a double play ball, but Ozuna was hustling all the way and the Pirates could only get the force at 2nd base. Carpenter scored to give the Cards a 17-4 lead. Munoz grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Odds and Ends: With the Cubs' 4-1 win over the Marlins, they're back in first place, have won 10 out of their last 11 and have won 7 straight series. Darvish only allowed 1 run, but threw 97 pitches in 4 innings and walked 6. Lefty Mike Montgomery came out of the bullpen for the rare 5-inning win in a relief appearance. The Reds avoided the sweep with a 3-0 victory over the Athletics. Derek Dietrich hit a 2-run HR in the first, which would be all the Reds needed. Memphis is currently in a 5-5 tie in the top of the 11th. Starter Jake Woodford only allowed 3 hits in 5 IP, but 2 of them were 2-run homers. Memphis tied the score 4-4 in the 5th with a wild pitch and a 2-run HR from Rangel Ravelo. Jesus Cruz balked in a run in the top of the 10th, but Memphis tied it in the bottom half on a sacrifice bunt and then a sacrifice fly from Drew Robinson. The Redbirds placed Max Schrock on the 7-day IL and promoted Kramer Robertson from Springfield to take his place on the roster...Springfield won 7-4 with the help of 5 errors by Northwest Arkansas. Only 3 out of their 10 hits were for extra bases...Jose Martinez--the other Jose Martinez we obtained from the Royals in the Tony Cruz trade--was promoted to play short for Springfield...Palm Beach's game at Bradenton was suspended due to rain with the Cards down 1-0. It will be completed tomorrow before their other regularly scheduled game. Ivan Herrera and Brady Whalen both went 2-4, but Peoria lost 4-1 as starter Alvaro Seijas allowed 8 H in 5 IP.