Welcome to VEY, Viva El Yairo. All Yairo, all the time. I Googled the meaning of the name, and search results kept pointing to “Jairo,” which means “He shines (in the outfield).” Ironically, “Jairo” is pronounced “HI-ro,” which is how I would’ve pronounced “Yairo,” but he pronounces it “JI-ro,” which is how I would’ve pronounced “Jairo.”
Munoz got his fourth consecutive start, but this time in left, not center. Satisfied, Cardinals blog commenters backed away from their keyboards. Shildt spun the spinner, which landed on Dex for center. Cafecito roamed right. Bader and O’Neill clenched in the dugout.
Ah, but while your favorite outfielder had himself quite a night, the game belonged to another.
Waino looked to rebound from his previous 3.1-inning, 7-ER outing against the Reds. The Pirates countered with the well-traveled righty Jordan Lyles, pitching for his 5th team since 2011. He’s bad, then right? He came in sporting a 4.39 FIP this season but gave up just 1 run over 6 innings in his lone previous start this season vs. the Cards in May.
The Cards were trying to nail down their 4th-straight series win since the break. I recapped this while a machine washed my clothes for me. What a world.
Tonight’s game started much like last night’s. The Cards went down quietly 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts in the first, and the Pirates jumped on Wainwright right out of the gate. Adam’s fastball command was absent, and the Pirates laid off and waited for his curve, turning three walks, a single, and a sac fly into a 2-0 lead.
But this game quickly became one like few others.
The Cards answered immediately and emphatically in the second, discovering that Lyles didn’t like to pitch from the stretch. The Redbirds sent 13 batters to the plate, producing 5 doubles, 3 home runs, and 9 runs, and it could’ve been more. In order: runner reached on an error, then homer, double, double, homer, strikeout, walk, double, single, (runner thrown out at home), homer, double, strikeout. Angry Pirate Fan was so mad he could no longer scowl or mutter-swear. Maybe Pittsburgh fans should get $.50 drinks when giving up at least 6 runs.
One of the dingers was Knizner’s first as a Major Leaguer!
Waino didn’t reward that largess, giving 2 runs right back in the bottom of the second. Mirroring the top half in which the Cards’ run-scoring started with a Pirates error, the Cards did likewise. With 1 out, Edman made a tough play on a hot grounder, but then he followed that with his first error as a major leaguer when he knocked down a hot shot but unwisely attempted a throw that went past first, putting the runner at second. The Pirates promptly parlayed that into 2 runs with back-to-back doubles, making it 9-4, which didn’t look nearly as nice as 9-2.
Tired from all that hitting and base running in the 2nd, the Cards went quietly without scoring in the 3rd, failing to capitalize on first and 2nd 1 out.
With Waino already at a ridiculous 67 pitches entering the third, it was hard to know what to expect out of the vet, but the still-large 5-run cushion bought him some time. He was fortunate this inning, as he left several pitches over the fat part of the plate and up, working around a double that wasn’t far from being a homer.
The Football Cardinals were back at it in the 4th, scoring four more. Pauly D hit his second homer of the early night, a 2-run bomb to the Pirates’ bullpen in left center to make it 11-4. Wong walked, then Munoz, who had reached first on a grounder that forced Wong at second, brazenly stole second and third, prompting Ricky Horton to finger-wag that running with a 7-run lead invites retaliation from your opponent. After another walk, this one to Knizner, a pitch in the dirt allowed him to advance to second. No longer needing to sac bunt, Waino then did the other sac thing, hitting a deep-enough fly to score Munoz from third; 12-4. For good measure, Edman singled to center to plate Knizner, making it 13-4.
Feeling safe enough with that lead now, Waino returned for the 4th, and suddenly was sharp, retiring the side in 10 pitches, bookending 2 strikeouts around a harmless fly-out. He was at 96 pitches.
After the Cards went quietly with no runs, like at all, in the 5th, Shildt pushed Waino back out again, either for the “pitcher win!” or to really save as much of the bullpen as possible by squeezing another inning out of the old righty. Or both. Waino rewarded his skipper by repeating his last inning’s efficiency, going 1-2-3 to retire his last 7 in a row, moving over the century mark with 106 pitches.
The 6th brought a brief moment of slight drama, as Munoz appeared for the first time at bat after his 2 steals in the fourth, leading off against new reliever Keone Kela, who just returned from a 2-game suspension after an altercation with a Pirates staff member. Despite the “Unwritten Rule Breaker” facing off against a possibly quite for-real-mean pitcher, no bean ball ensued. No runs ensued, either in this frame for the Cards or Pirates.
Lowering the Jolly Roger and replacing it with a white flag, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sent infielder/Outfielder Osuna in to pitch the 7th. He was throwing faster than Waino, chucking fastballs at 90-93, retiring the side. He at one point hilariously signaled for a curve with his hand—and threw it (for a ball). Don’t see that every day. With two outs, Goldy seemed to possibly reach first safely on a grounder, but the Cards did not challenge. Suddenly, it seemed both teams simply wanted to quickly get this game over without anyone getting hurt.
The Pirates scratched across 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th off of new Memphis arrival Mayers, who gave up a walk, double, and bloop hit, making it 13-6. But not before Wong turned in another nifty play. It’s not all about offense, yo!
For more giggles and grins, not-real Pirates pitcher Osuna came back out for more in the 8th, feeling his oats after retiring the Cards in order in the 7th. Throwing strikes, but at a few mph slower already, DeJong deposited his curveball 420 feet away in center for his third homer of the night! 14-6 Cards.
Brebbia then entered the bottom of the 8th and sat the Pirates down in order, and the Cardinals also obliged in the top of the 9th, going quickly and quietly against I think-actual-pitcher Jacob Stallings.
Got to give the Pirates credit, though (not really, but I’m feeling generous), as they went down with the ship, fighting to plate a final 2 runs on back-to-back doubles (the second one Marte’s third of the night) and a single.
After the final, third out and the smoke cleared, it was a 14-8 Cards win.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- All hail the Pitcher Win! Without all the crazy run-scoring, Waino might not have survived beyond the third. His 4th and 5th innings were very good, though, allowing him to end with: 5 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 5 Ks
- In a game with several hitters having really good nights, the “Have a Night!” award went to Pauly D: 4-4 with 14 total bases: 3 HR and a 2B, 4 Runs, 5 RBI, 0 Ks.
Special recognition to (of course) Yairo: 3-5 with 2 2B and a single and those 2 SB!
- Cards scored 13 of their 14 runs in 2 innings
- Can’t wait to see the lineup card tomorrow, with a day game after tonight’s football contest