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Cards Win Opener Against Pirates, 5-2

Arenado homered again as the offense plated five runs and Gant worked a solid five and a third.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals began a short two-game series at home against the Pirates on Tuesday, starting John Gant across from Pittsburgh’s JT Brubaker. The Cardinals’ pitching staff finally got the walks back under control, for the most part, with one walk issued each from Gant and Alex Reyes. Gant worked a solid game before running into some trouble in the sixth, where he gave up a leadoff double and a walk. Both runners came around to score after he was relieved by Genesis Cabrera, but that was all the damage done by Pittsburgh. Brubaker got knocked around for five two-out runs by the Cards, two of which came off a first-inning home run from Arenado, who has now homered in four straight games.

1st Inning

Adam Frazier led off the game for the Pirates and popped out to left on a 1-2 sinker. Kevin Newman grounded a 1-1 slider to Edmundo Sosa at short for the second out of the inning. Bryan Reynolds lined out to second on an 0-2 changeup for the final out of the inning.

Tommy Edman grounded out to second on a 1-2 four-seamer to begin the bottom of the inning. Dylan Carlson worked the count full before drawing a one-out walk. Paul Goldschmidt worked another full count and scorched a 110 mph line drive to center that was caught for the second out. Nolan Arenado golfed a low 2-0 slider just over the wall in left-center for his tenth home run of the season and a 2-0 Cardinals lead.

Yadier Molina broke his bat on an 0-2 fastball and grounded out to end the frame.

2nd Inning

Will Craig grounded a 1-1 sinker to short for the first out of the second. Gregory Polanco smashed a 1-1 sinker on the ground and through the infield for a single. Erik Gonzalez lined out to right on a 1-0 fastball for the second out. Ka’ai Tom got just under an 0-2 changeup and flew out to Carlson at the wall in right field.

Harrison Bader walked on four pitches to lead off the bottom of the inning for the Cards. Justin Williams went down on an ugly swing as he was fooled by an 0-2 slider. Sosa found a hole with a grounder on a first-pitch fastball, putting two on with one away for Gant who moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Edman then blooped a single into shallow left as the third baseman Gonzalez was unable to reach it from his position in the shift. Bader and Sosa both scored on the play to stretch the lead to 4-0 for St. Louis.

Carlson ripped another single on a 3-1 sinker, bringing up Goldschmidt with runners on first and second and two outs. Goldschmidt jumped on a first-pitch sinker and lined out to center to strand both runners.

3rd Inning

Michael Perez struck out on a 3-2 fastball to lead off the third inning for Pittsburgh. Brubaker topped a 1-1 sinker for a groundout to second. Frazier and Newman followed with a pair of two-out singles, but Reynolds got rung up on a 3-2 check swing as he went around on a slider to end the Pirates’ threat.

Arenado walked on a 3-2 slider that missed badly in the dirt. Molina followed and singled on a line drive to left off an 0-1 sinker. Bader popped out to shallow center on an 0-2 slider for the first out. Williams swung over another slider to strike out on three pitches. Sosa took a 2-0 slider the other way for a double, scoring Arenado for a 5-0 lead and moving Yadi to third.

Gant got a hold of an 0-2 slider but lined it right at Reynolds in center for the final out of the inning.

4th Inning

Craig went down looking at a 1-2 sinker to start the fourth. Polanco smoked an 0-2 sinker back up the middle for his second hit of the evening. Gonzalez hit a soft grounder to short and Sosa threw to second to get the lead runner for the second out. Tom saw six pitches before flying the seventh one to Bader to retire the Pirates’ side of the frame.

Edman smoked an 0-2 sinker on the ground to Gonzalez for the first out of the bottom of the fourth. Carlson then lined a one-out single to right field on a 1-1 fastball. Goldschmidt popped out to first on a 1-0 four-seamer. Arenado got way under a first-pitch fastball to pop out to second for the final out.

5th Inning

Perez swung at the first pitch and grounded it to second for the first out of the fifth. Brubaker followed suit, grounding out to Gant this time for out number two. Frazier rounded out the groundout trifecta, topping a 2-2 changeup to Goldschmidt for a 1-2-3 inning.

Yadi ripped a 1-2 fastball to right field but Polanco ran it down for out number one. Bader grounded out to short on a 1-1 sinker for the second out. Williams looked at a 1-2 sinker in the middle of the zone for the final out and his third strikeout of the night.

6th Inning

Newman doubled down the third baseline on a 1-2 slider to lead off the sixth. Reynolds worked a full count and took a changeup off the plate for a walk. Craig, with two on and no outs, crushed a line drive back to Gant who knocked it down with the heel of his glove before throwing to third to get the lead runner. Gant looked to be okay but was pulled anyways as the Cards called on Genesis Cabrera to finish the inning. The first pitch to Polanco went wild, advancing both runners to second and third with one out. Polanco chopped a 2-2 fastball to first for the second out while scoring Reynolds to bring the score to 5-1, Cardinals, and advancing Craig to third. Gonzalez grounded a 1-2 curveball back at Cabrera, who deflected it away from Edman for an infield single to score Craig to close the Pirates’ deficit to 5-2. Tom fell behind 0-2 before popping a fastball up to Molina to end the top of the frame.

Sosa chopped a first-pitch fastball to second for the first out in the bottom of the inning. Matt Carpenter pinch hit for Cabrera and grounded out to the pitcher on a swinging bunt off an 0-2 changeup. Edman lifted a 1-1 slider to right for a two-out single, ending the night for Brubaker. Chasen Shreve replaced Brubaker and struck out Carlson on a 2-2 splitter for the final out.

7th Inning

Giovanny Gallegos pitched the seventh for St. Louis and struck out Perez looking on a 1-2 fastball. Wilmer Difo pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot for Pittsburgh and popped out to Arenado on a 2-2 fastball for the second out. Frazier hit a hard line drive to left on a 1-0 fastball to send the game to the bottom of the inning.

Chris Stratton got the call to face the heart of the Cards’ order and got Goldschmidt to fly out to Frazier for the first out. Arenado took a 1-1 slider to the opposite field for a one-out single. Molina then dropped a soft liner into center on a first-pitch slider. Bader, with two on and one away, flared a 1-1 fastball to center where Reynolds made a sliding catch for out number two. Williams donned the golden sombrero, chasing a changeup in the dirt for his fourth strikeout to end the frame.

8th Inning

Gallegos returned to pitch the eighth and got Newman with a groundout to third on a tough play made by Arenado and Goldschmidt.

Reynolds and Craig both struck out swinging over low sliders for a quick eighth from Gallegos.

Sosa ripped another line drive to center on an 0-1 curve but it was caught for out number one. John Nogowski pinch hit for Gallegos and popped a first-pitch fastball up to first for the second out. Edman dropped a 2-1 curveball just in front of Ben Gamel, now in left for the Pirates, for his third hit of the evening. The 0-1 and 1-1 pitches to Carlson both got away from Perez, moving Edman to third. Carlson worked a full count but lined out to center to send the game to the ninth.

9th Inning

Alex Reyes came in for the save attempt in the top of the ninth and walked Polanco on five pitches. Gonzalez lifted an 0-1 fastball to right for the first out. Gamel chopped a 1-2 fastball high to Edman, who threw to first for the second out. Perez flew a 1-2 slider to left for the final out, securing the 5-2 win.

The Cardinals improve to 24-18 with the win as the Pirates drop to 17-24. The second and final game of the series is scheduled for 6:45 CT on Wednesday. Jack Flaherty (7-0, 2.47 ERA) will start for the Cardinals against Trevor Cahill (1-4, 5.97 ERA) for the Pirates.

Quick Notes

Miles Mikolas and Carlos Martinez seem to be recovering well from their respective injuries and may be able to rejoin the staff as early as this weekend against the Cubs.

Daniel Ponce de Leon and John Nogowski were activated as Junior Fernandez was optioned to the minor leagues and Tyler O’Neill was placed on the 10-Day IL for a finger fracture.

Jordan Hicks received an injection in his right elbow and has been shut down from any baseball activity for at least the next month.

(Thanks yet again to Zachary Silver at for the injury updates.)

Final Pitching Lines


Gant (W, 3-3): 5.1 IP / 5 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / 0 HR

Cabrera: 0.2 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR

Gallegos (H, 8): 2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 0 HR

Reyes (S, 12): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / 0 HR


Brubaker (L, 3-3): 5.2 IP / 8 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 3 BB / 3 K / 1 HR

Shreve: 0.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR

Stratton: 2 IP / 3 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR