The Cardinals began a three-game series with the Pirates on Tuesday, with J.A. Happ making his second start for the Cardinals across from Steven Brault, who made his second start of the season after a long recovery from a lat strain. Besides one mistake pitch to Hoy Park that went for a solo home run, Happ and the Cards’ staff were dominant against a sub-par Pirates lineup, combining to allow just one hit in the game. The Cards started the scoring early, with Tommy Edman and Paul DeJong going deep in the first and second innings off Brault. The Cardinals then tacked on two more runs en route to a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Tommy Edman began his evening in Pittsburgh with some thunder, launching a 2-1 changeup over the left field wall to give the Cards a 1-0 lead.
Dylan Carlson followed with a single, beating out a grounder to short for an infield hit. Paul Goldschmidt went down swinging under a 2-2 sinker that was left in the middle of the strike zone. Nolan Arenado chopped a sinker back to the pitcher, but Brault’s only play was to go to first for the sure out as Carlson was running on the pitch. Yadier Molina skied an 0-2 slider to the warning track in left for the last out.
Hoy Park struck out looking at a fastball well off the outside corner of the plate. Ke’Bryan Hayes also went down looking at another pitch that was very much off the plate. Bryan Reynolds jumped on a first-pitch fastball and flew it to center to put the Pirates down in order.
Harrison Bader struck out on three pitches to open the second inning. Paul DeJong worked a full count before belting a fastball into almost the same spot as Edman to put the Redbirds up 2-0.
Edmundo Sosa tripled off the top of the wall in dead center, missing a home run by maybe just an inch. Happ struck out swinging for the second out. Edman then chopped out to third, stranding Sosa at third.
Anthony Alford worked a nine-pitch at-bat before chasing an elevated fastball for the first out. Jacob Stallings and Gregory Polanco both flew out to center, giving Happ two perfect innings to begin the game.
Carlson singled to left to lead off the third inning. Goldschmidt struck out swinging at a sinker just off the outside corner. Arenado closed the top of the frame, grounding into a 5-4-3 double play.
Former Cardinal John Nogowski flew a 2-2 fastball to center for the first out in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Newmann grounded out to short for out number two. Brault grounded out to second as Happ finished his third perfect inning of the game.
Yadi was called out on a fastball that caught the inside corner for strike three. Bader popped out to second for the second out. DeJong got under an 0-2 curveball, skying it to center for the final out.
Park ended Happ’s perfect outing with a solo home run off a fastball on the inside half of the plate. Hayes followed with a five-pitch walk but was erased when Reynolds hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Alford went down swinging through a four-seamer to send the game to the fifth.
Sosa struck out swinging over a 3-2 slider to begin the fifth inning. Happ lined out to second for out number two. Edman then flew out to left to put the Cards down in order again.
Stallings skied out to left for the first out in the Pirates’ half of the inning. Polanco followed with a flyout to center. Nogowski was frozen by a fastball down the heart of the plate and struck out looking to put Pittsburgh down quietly.
Kyle Keller replaced Brault for the Pirates in the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Carlson. Goldschmidt flew out to center. Carlson moved up on a wild pitch to Arenado before Nolan drew a six-pitch walk. Yadi pulled an outside fastball just off Newman’s glove at short that went for an error, scoring Carlson to stretch the lead to 3-0 for St. Louis. Bader flared a fastball in on the hands into shallow left, scoring Arenado to extend the lead again to 4-0.
Small ball, bigger lead pic.twitter.com/PBNp5iNpRv— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 11, 2021
Bader, with Yadi at second, was then picked off at first by Stallings who threw behind Bader to get the out. DeJong struck out after the TOOTBLAN to close the frame.
Newman popped out to first to begin the bottom of the inning. Wilmer Difo pinch hit for the pitcher and walked on six pitches. Park tried to lay down a bunt and was thrown out at first on what went down as a sacrifice. Hayes worked an eight-pitch at-bat that ended with a lineout to center for the final out.
Duane Underwood, Jr. came out of the bullpen to pitch the seventh for the Pirates and retired Sosa on a lineout to first. Lars Nootbaar pinch hit for Happ and flew out to left. Edman walked on five pitches. Carlson, with three hits already on the night, struck out to end the Cards’ half of the inning.
Ryan Helsley got the call to pitch the bottom of the frame for St. Louis and rung up Reynolds on a failed check swing. Alford was frozen by a fastball in the zone for Helsley’s second strikeout. Stallings drew a four-pitch walk to extend the inning to Polanco. This prompted a pitching change from the Cards, who brought in Genesis Cabrera to finish the inning. Cabrera retired Polanco on a groundout to short to send the game to the eighth.
Goldschmidt led off the eighth and popped out to the catcher for the first out. Arenado flew out to the warning track in left-center. Yadi chopped out to short as the Cards went down quietly.
Nogowski skied out to center to begin the bottom of the inning. Newman followed with a popout to second. Rodolfo Castro pinch hit for Underwood, Jr. and grounded out for a clean inning from Cabrera.
Nick Mears relieved Underwood, Jr. and retired Bader with a swinging strikeout at a breaking ball in the dirt. DeJong reached on a six-pitch walk. Sosa followed with an opposite-field single. Matt Carpenter, pinch hitting for Cabrera, was ruled out on an infield fly. Edman then flew out to center, stranding both runners.
Alex Reyes came in to close the game for the Cards and got Park out on a grounder to first. Hayes struck out swinging and Reynolds popped out to second, securing the 4-1 win for the Redbirds.
The Cardinals improve to 56-56 and now sit 10.5 games back of the Brewers in the Central and 8 games back of the Padres for the second Wild Card (the Brewers and Padres games are in the early innings at the time of this writing, so those numbers will be settled out Wednesday morning). Adam Wainwright continues the series for the Cardinals on Wednesday, starting across from Wil Crowe at 6:05 PM CT.
Tyler O’Neill was a last-second scratch on Tuesday as he was experiencing expected symptoms after receiving a second dose of the COVID vaccine.
Tyler O’Neill was scratched from today’s lineup as he is experiencing side effects from his second COVID-19 vaccination shot, Mike Shildt says.— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) August 10, 2021
Carlson will take over in left, Edman to right, Sosa in at 2B. https://t.co/ECMRtYtZkW
Jack Flaherty’s first MLB start after his rehab assignment is scheduled for Friday, pushed back from Thursday because the team apparently didn’t feel comfortable with him swinging a bat as he continues to recover.
The decision to start Flaherty on Friday instead of Thursday comes from a side of caution. With a DH game, team would prefer he not swing a bat as he works up his hitting progression. However, Shildt says Flaherty won’t be under any pitch limitations, is a “full go” on the mound.— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) August 10, 2021
Miles Mikolas will make one more rehab start on Friday at the earliest before rejoining the MLB club.
Final Pitching Lines
Happ (W, 6-6): 6 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / 1 HR
Helsley (H, 9): 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Cabrera (H, 19): 1.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Reyes (S, 26): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Brault (L, 0-1): 5 IP / 5 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / 2 HR
Keller: 1 IP / 2 H / 2 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Underwood, Jr.: 2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Mears: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR