The Cardinals wrapped up a two-game series with the Pirates on Wednesday evening, with Jack Flaherty taking the bump against Trevor Cahill. Cahill exited the game early with what looked to be a possible strain or an injury of a similar nature. He ended up being responsible for four of the Cardinals’ eight runs in the game. The Redbirds tagged Duane Underwood, Jr. and Luis Oviedo out of Pittsburgh’s bullpen for the other four runs. Flaherty pitched a solid but inefficient six innings on 105 pitches, yielding two runs on a home run from Gregory Polanco. The Card’s bullpen struggled out of the gate as Kodi Whitley and Tyler Webb combined to surrender three runs on four hits and a walk, but the combination of Genesis Cabrera, Ryan Helsley, and Alex Reyes was sufficient to secure the 8-5 win.
Adam Frazier led off for Pittsburgh and popped an 0-2 fastball to Nolan Arenado for the first out of the game. Kevin Newman followed with a groundout to short on a 2-2 fastball. Bryan Reynolds was rung up on a 2-2 fastball that caught the outside corner, making it a clean first inning for Flaherty.
Tommy Edman belted a 1-0 sinker off the right-center wall to lead off the bottom of the first. Dylan Carlson hit an infield popout on a 2-2 cutter for the first out. Paul Goldschmidt tore a 2-1 sinker off the bullpen fence in right to score Edman for a 1-0 Cardinals lead and take his place at second.
Arenado went down on three pitches, swinging through a fastball. Yadier Molina struck out on a foul tip swinging at a 2-2 cutter off the outside edge of the plate.
Gregory Polanco began the second, drawing a walk on a 3-2 slider that barely missed. Will Craig hit a line drive straight to Arenado on an 0-1 fastball for the first out. Ben Gamel walked on four pitches to put two on with one out. Wilmer Difo grounded out to Goldschmidt, but the Cards were unable to turn two. Michael Perez was walked intentionally to load the bases and get to the pitcher spot. Cahill couldn’t hold up on a 2-2 slider in the dirt and struck out on a check swing.
Harrison Bader walked on five pitches to lead off the Cards’ half of the inning. Bader then swiped second on the 1-1 pitch to Justin Williams, who walked on a 3-2 sinker that missed low. Edmundo Sosa, with two on and no outs, took a 2-2 breaking ball to the thigh to load the bases for Flaherty. After the first pitch to Flaherty missed the zone, the Pirates’ trainer came out to the mound and pulled Cahill, who walked off the field with a limp. Duane Underwood, Jr. replaced Cahill and got Flaherty to line out to right. Bader and Williams both tagged up, giving the Cards a 2-0 lead and runners at the corners with one out for Edman. Sosa stole second on the first pitch to Edman, and Edman scorched a ball back up the middle to score both runners, extending the lead to 4-0 for St. Louis.
The best news comes in twos! pic.twitter.com/KXsC05SuBl— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 20, 2021
Carlson then walked on a 3-2 fastball in the dirt. Goldschmidt dropped 1-2 fastball in center field for a base hit that scored Edman to bring the score to 5-0. Arenado continued the onslaught with another RBI single to right, scoring Carlson to make it 6-0.
Yadi brought the big inning to end, grounding into a 5-4-3 double play to send the game to the third.
Frazier walked on four pitches. Newman lined out to Bader on a 2-2 slider for the first out. Reynolds singled to right on a first-pitch fastball. Polanco grounded an 0-1 fastball to Edman, who managed to throw out the runner at second for the second out. Craig, with runners at the corners and two away, got just under a 2-2 fastball and flew out to Williams to strand both runners.
Bader kicked off the bottom of the inning with a groundout to third on an 0-1 curveball. Williams flew a 3-1 fastball at the top of the zone to center for out number two. Sosa walked on a 3-1 curveball that missed high. Flaherty drew another walk to put two on with two outs. Edman jumped on a first-pitch changeup but was robbed of a hit on an excellent diving catch by Craig to end the inning.
Gamel popped out on a 1-2 fastball for the first out of the fourth. Difo ripped a low line drive back up the middle for a single on a 2-0 fastball. Perez struck out swinging on an 0-2 curveball in the dirt and Underwood, Jr. went down looking at an 0-2 fastball to send it to the bottom of the inning.
Carlson grounded a fastball to Frazier in the shift, but the ball took a weird hop as it hit the grass, allowing Carlson to reach on a fielding error. Goldschmidt hit a 1-2 fastball off the plate the other way for a single. Arenado popped up a 3-1 fastball for an infield fly rule and the first out. Yadi flew out to shallow right on an 0-1 curveball for out number two. Bader struck out swinging through an 0-2 fastball, stranding the runners on base.
Frazier started the fifth with a single on a 1-2 curveball. Newman hit a bullet to short and Sosa made a phenomenal diving catch to rob the hit for the first out.
Is that Superman?— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 20, 2021
No, it's Sosa! pic.twitter.com/jV5yXNVvB5
Reynolds then struck out swinging over an 0-2 curveball. Polanco pulled a 1-0 fastball over the right field wall for a two-run shot to close Pittsburgh’s deficit to 6-2.
Craig then flew out to right on a 3-1 fastball to retire the Pirates’ side.
Luis Oviedo replaced Underwood, Jr. in the fifth as Erik Gonzalez replaced Craig at first in a double switch. Williams took a first-pitch fastball to right for a hit. Sosa followed with another single on a first-pitch slider. Flaherty hit for himself and tried to lay down a bunt, but Oviedo refused the free out and walked him to load the bases. Edman hit a line drive hard into the gap in right center, but Polanco ran it down for the first out. Williams scored on the play to make it 7-2 and Sosa advanced to third. Carlson, hitting with runners at the corners and one out, took a 2-0 fastball back up the middle, knocking in Sosa to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 8-2.
Goldschmidt struck out swinging at an elevated fastball for the second out. Arenado hit a loud line drive to left, but Gamel ran it down for the last out of the inning.
Flaherty returned to pitch the sixth despite being at 90 pitches and retired Gamel with a flyout on a 2-2 slider. Difo struck out swinging at a 1-2 curveball in the dirt for the second out. Perez struck out swinging as well on another 1-2 curveball.
Yadi pulled a 1-2 slider into left for a leadoff single in the sixth. Bader flew out to center on an 0-1 slider. Williams drew a walk and Sosa struck out swinging over an 0-2 curveball. John Nogowski pinch hit for Flaherty and got under a 1-2 slider, flying out to right to finish the inning.
Kodi Whitley relieved Flaherty and walked Gonzalez on four pitches to start the seventh. Frazier then took a 1-2 fastball to right field for a single. Newman loaded the bases with a single to left off a 1-2 changeup. Tyler Webb got the call to get out of the jam and got Reynolds to ground out to Edman for the first out. Gonzales scored on the play to bring the score to 8-3. The Pirates then had runners at the corners with one out for Polanco, who singled to right to score Frazier to close the deficit further to 8-4. Ildemaro Vargas pinch hit for Oviedo and singled on a first-pitch changeup to score Reynolds, putting the Pirates within three runs at 8-5.
Genesis Cabrera then got the call to try to preserve the Cards’ lead. Gamel worked a full count and grounded out on a fielder’s choice. Difo, with runners on first on third yet again, swung through an 0-2 fastball to end the Pirates’ rally.
Sam Howard got the call to pitch for Pittsburgh and he walked Edman on seven pitches to lead off the bottom of the inning. Carlson then struck out swinging on an 0-2 fastball. Edman stole second on the 1-0 pitch to Goldschmidt, who went down swinging on a 2-2 fastball. Arenado struck out swinging on yet another fastball for the final out of the inning.
Cabrera returned to pitch the eighth and got Perez with a groundout into the shift on a 2-2 fastball. Ryan Helsley was then called on to finish the inning for the Redbirds. Gonzalez grounded out on an 0-1 fastball for the second out. Frazier worked a full count and lined a fastball to Sosa’s right, where he made another phenomenal catch to end the top of the frame.
Kyle Keller relieved Howard in the eighth and Yadi to strike out swinging through a fastball. Bader popped out to first on a 2-0 fastball for the second out and Williams lined out to right to send the game to the ninth.
Alex Reyes came in to close the game for St. Louis. Newmann reached on a base hit to Arenado on a grounder that ate him up for a leadoff hit. Reynolds struck out swinging on a sharp 1-2 slider for the first out. Polanco went down as well waving at another 3-2 slider for the second out. Vargas swung at and missed a breaking ball as Reyes struck out the side to earn the save.
The Cardinals record improved to 25-18 on the season and the Pirates slid to 17-25. The Cardinals have another off-day on Thursday before starting a stretch of seventeen games in seventeen days, beginning with a three-game set against the Chicago Cubs over the weekend.
The Cardinals got some good news on the pitching front, as Carlos Martinez and Miles Mikolas are confirmed to be starting Friday and Saturday’s games, respectively, against the Cubs, with Wainwright taking the mound in Sunday’s finale.
Final Pitching Lines
Flaherty (W, 8-0): 6 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 4 BB (1 IBB) / 7 K / 1 HR
Whitley: 0 IP / 2 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Webb: 0.1 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Cabrera (H, 7): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Helsley (H, 2): 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Reyes: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 0 HR
Cahill (L, 1-5); 1 IP / 2 H / 4 R / 4 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Underwood, Jr.: 3 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 3 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Oviedo, L: 2 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Howard: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / 0 HR
Keller: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR