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Cards Overcome Sloppy Defense and 8 Walks to Survive Pirates 6-5 in Game 1

MLB: Game One-St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

To put it simply, if the Cards want to make the playoffs, they need to take care of business against the Pirates. The club didn’t get the job done last night, and got even more bad news that Dakota Hudson will be out at least for the rest of the regular season. The Cards needed innings from the starter and their bats to score runs, having been limited to 2 hits in each of the last 2 games. Today in Game 1, the Cards got just enough from their offense, although the defense went a long way to keep the Pirates in the game until the very end. Credit Carlos Martinez for settling down and limiting the self-inflicted damage he cause by walking the bases loaded to start the game. Alex Reyes came in and provided a much needed 1.2 IP of relief without allowing a hit, and Tyler O’Neill hit a key 2-run HR and played great defense. I can’t tell you the last time the Cards won a game despite the defense committing 4 errors and the pitching staff allowing 8 walks and still won the game.

Trevor Williams took the mound for the Pirates. Kolten Wong led off the game by lining an 0-2 low-and-in fastball off of the right field foul pole just over the right field wall for a solo HR to give the Cards a 1-0 lead.

That was Wong’s first homer of the season. Tommy Edman grounded a low-and-in 0-1 slider to first base. After Paul Goldschmidt struck out chasing a 1-2 slider low-and-away, Brad Miller struck out swinging at an outside 2-2 fastball to end the inning. Carlos Martinez took the hill for the Cards. Adam Frazier worked a 3-2 walk to lead off the bottom of the 1st after being behind in the count 0-2. Ke’Bryan Hayes walked on 5 pitches, and Carlos can’t find the plate. Colin Moran worked a 3-2 walk, and Carlos had only thrown 6 strikes out of 24 pitches to the first 3 batters. Gregory Polanco swung at a first-pitch outside fastball to shallow center field, and the Pirates decided not to test Bader’s arm. It looked at first glance like Bryan Reynolds struck out swinging at a hanging 2-2 slider on a foul tip. Reynolds complained about catcher’s interference. The umpires reviewed the play, and the replay clearly showed that Reynolds’ bat clipped the top of Molina’s glove. The call was catcher’s interference, E2. Frazier scored to tie the game 1-1. With the bases still loaded and only 1 out now, Kevin Newman drove a low-and-in 1-1 fastball to deep left-center for a Sac Fly to score Hayes and give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. JT Riddle grounded a low-and-away 0-1 change to Goldschmidt guarding the line to end the inning, which took Carlos 29 pitches to escape.

Paul DeJong flied a center-cut 2-0 fastball to shallow right-center to lead off the top of the 2nd. Matt Carpenter slowly tapped an 0-1 hanging change to the right of the mound for Williams. Yadier Molina blooped a low-and-away 2-1 slider to left-center for a 2-out base hit. Tyler O’Neill drove a 1-0 fastball to right, just missing a home fun foul. He then smoked a 3-2 center-cut 92 mph fastball well over the right-center field wall for a 2-run HR to put the Cards on top 3-2.

The Pirates defense shifted Harrison Bader to the left, and Bader grounded an outside 1-1 fastball to the right of the 2nd base bag for a base hit. Wong hit a 2-1 low-and-away change for a sinking liner to right, but Polanco made a running catch forward to end the inning. Jose Osuna flied an outside 0-1 fastball for Edman in right towards the corner to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. John Ryan Murphy lined an outside 2-2 fastball to right-center for a base hit. With Murphy running on the 1-1 pitch to Frazier, Frazier sharply grounded an up-and-in 1-1 fastball to the right side. Goldschmidt knocked it down to get the out at 1st base, with Murphy moving to 2nd. With 2 out, Hayes grounded a low-and-in 2-0 change to Carpenter at 3rd to end the inning.

Edman lined a 1-2 center-cut fastball to right-center for a base hit to lead off the top of the 3rd. Goldschmidt sharply grounded an inside 1-2 fastball down the 3rd base line and into the corner for a double to score Edman all the way from 1st base to extend the Cards’ lead to 4-2.

Brad Miller flied a low-and-in 2-2 slider deep to right-center that the center fielder Riddle finally ran down. The ball was deep enough to allow Goldschmidt to tag up and move to 3rd. With 1 out, DeJong drove a center-cut fastball deep to left, but Reynolds caught it at the track against the wall. Goldschmidt scored on the Sac Fly to give the Cards a 5-2 lead. Carpenter grounded an 0-2 high-and-outside fastball into the shift for shortstop Newman on the right side of the 2nd base bag to end the inning. Moran struck out looking at a low-and-away 3-2 change to lead off the bottom of the 3rd. Polanco popped a low-and-in 1-1 fastball to Carpenter at 3rd on the outfield grass. Reynolds grounded a first-pitch low changeup to Goldschmidt guarding the line in the shift to end the inning.

Molina lined an inside 0-1 sinker to center for a base hit to lead off the top of the 4th. O’Neill grounded a center-cut 3-1 fastball to Newman at short for what could have been a double play. Instead, Newman threw the ball wide to Frazier’s right and in the dirt, with the ball rolling onto the right field grass. It was a fielder’s choice, E6, with Molina advancing to 3rd. With runners at the corners and nobody out, Bader struck out swinging at a 1-2 hanging slider. Wong chopped a very high 2-2 fastball over the mound and towards the middle for a groundout to short. The ball was hit slow enough to allow Molina to score from 3rd base to extend the Cards’ lead to 6-2. Newman had to charge, and that allowed O’Neill to advance to 2nd base. Edman grounded a low-and-in 1-2 slider to 1st to end the inning.

Newman grounded an outside 2-1 fastball to DeJong to lead off the bottom of the 4th, but he decided to backhand it instead of getting in front of it, and booted it for an error. Riddle flied a low-and-in 1-0 fastball in foul territory toward the sidewall near left field, and O’Neill made a long run forward to catch it. Osuna tapped a hanging change slowly to 2nd for the 4-6 force. Murphy slowly rolled a 2-2 low-and-away slider down the 3rd base line that died on the grass for an infield base hit to move Osuna to 2nd base. Frazier then walked on 4 pitches to load the bases. Hayes lined an outside 2-2 slider to right-center for a base hit. Osuna scored, and Edman somehow overran the ball, trying to field it from the side and whiffing, with the ball getting behind him a bit. That allowed Murphy and Frazier to also score to clear the bases and cut the Cards’ lead to 6-5, with Hayes moving to 2nd base.

Edman’s misplay cost the Cards at least one run, possibly two. Shildt then brought in Genesis Cabrera to pitch to the lefty Moran, who struck out swinging at a low-and-in 2-2 fastball to end the inning.

After Goldschmidt flied a high-and-outside 3-2 slider to right to lead off the top of the 5th, the Pirates brought in lefty Nik Turley to pitch to Brad Miller. Turley hit Miller in the back below the right shoulder blade with a 1-0 74 mph curveball. DeJong flied a center-cut fastball to left. Carpenter struck out swinging at an outside 3-2 fastball to end the inning. Polanco lined a 1-1 center-cut fastball to center for a base hit to lead off the bottom of the 5th. Reynolds blooped an up-and-in 2-1 fastball to left, but O’Neill raced forward and made a diving catch for the out.

After Newman walked on 4 pitches, righty Erik Gonzalez pinch hit for the lefty Riddle and slowly grounded an 0-2 low-and-away curve to Carpenter for the 5-4 force. Polanco moved to 3rd on the play. Shildt brought in Alex Reyes to pitch to Osuna. Osuna chased a high-and-outside 2-2 fastball and lined it to right to end the inning.

Righty Geoff Hartlieb came in to pitch for the Pirates in the top of the 6th. The Pirates also made several defensive changes. Gonzalez stayed in the game in the #7 spot at SS. Newman moved from SS to 2B, Frazier moved from 2B to LF and Reynolds moved from LF to CF. Molina sharply grounded a low 1-2 sinker to 3rd to lead off the inning. After O’Neill walked on 4 pitches, Bader did the same. Wong flied a high 3-2 fastball to center that Reynolds caught on the track. The runners were moving on the 3-2 pitch, which prevented them from tagging up on the play. Edman lined a low sinker right to Hayes at 3rd to end the inning, and the Cards couldn’t pick up any insurance. Murphy struck out looking at an outside 2-2 slider to lead off the bottom of the 6th. After Frazier walked on 4 pitches, Hayes tapped an up-and-in fastball to Goldschmidt for the 3-1 flip on the 10th pitch of the plate appearance. Frazier moved to 2nd base on the play, but Moran struck out chasing a 2-2 curve in the dirt to strand the runner and end the inning.

After Goldschmidt lined a low 0-2 slider to right for a base hit to lead off the top of the 7th, the Pirates brought in lefty Sam Howard to pitch to Brad Miller. Miller struck out swinging at an outside 0-2 slider. DeJong hit a first-pitch center-cut fastball for a sinking liner towards the line at 3rd, but Hayes was playing right there and caught it. Dylan Carlson pinch hit for Carpenter and struck out swinging at a high-and-outside fastball to end the inning.

At 33 pitches, Reyes came back out for the bottom of the 7th. Carlson stayed in the game in RF, with Edman moving from RF to 3B. Polanco crushed an inside 2-2 100 mph fastball for a liner to right, but Carlson caught it drifting back to the track. Shildt then brought in Ryan Helsley to try and close out the game for the Cards. Reynolds lined an 0-1 low-and-in 99 mph fastball up the middle. DeJong was positioned right there, jumped for the catch, bobbled it off of his glove, but corralled it with his free right hand for the 2nd out. Newman worked a 3-2 walk after being behind in the count 0-2. Helsley’s 0-2 pitch was a nasty slider low-and-away that looked like it caught the corner, but it was called a ball. Play stalled for a bit because the umpires foolishly lost track of what the count was and huddled together. They had to go to the review and perhaps call New York to determine indeed that it was ball four. The review took about 3 minutes before Newman was finally awarded first base. Gonzalez grounded an 0-2 outside cutter to short, but DeJong’s throw was low and Goldschmidt couldn’t pick the throw out of the dirt near his feet. DeJong’s 2nd error of the game extended the contest and allowed Newman to advance to 2nd. Lefty Josh Bell pinch hit for Osuna and walked on 4 pitches to load the bases. Jason Martin, who was added today as the 29th man, came out to pinch run for Gonzalez at 2nd base. Murphy flied a low 2-0 fastball to left that O’Neill caught in front of the track to end the game. Helsley picked up the first save of his career.

We’ll see you in 40-45 minutes for Game 2.

Martinez (4 days rest) 3.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO; Cabrera (3 days rest, bottom 4, 2 out, man on 2nd, ahead 6-5) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO; Reyes (3 days rest, bottom 5, 2 out, men on 1st and 3rd, ahead 6-5) 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO; Helsley (3 days rest, bottom 7, 1 out, bases empty, ahead 6-5) .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 SO.