It started off promisingly enough; the first three Bucs got aboard. JT singled on the game's opening pitch off Kyle Lohse. He then served up seven straight balls, walking Alex Presley on four pitches and falling behind McCutch 3-0 before he singled two pitches later to plate Tabata and move The King to third.
Makings of a big inning? Nah - Neil Walker whiffed looking after fouling off the first two pitches, and Garrett Jones banged into a 3-6-3 DP.
With an out, Allen Craig got St. Louis rolling against Jeff Karstens with a knock up the middle. Matt Holliday ripped a double to put runners at second and third. Lance Berkman was intentionally walked after getting ahead 2-0. A swinging bunt brought home a run in exchange for an out. Ronny Cedeno gloved a grounder, but had no play. Holliday scored but RC temporarily saved a second a run. It came in quickly enough on a bouncer through the left side, and the Redbirds were up 3-1.
But the Bucs were just warming up. Josh Harrison doubled and tallied on Cedeno's single. Michael McKenry's double sent RC to third. With the infield in, Karstens hit a grounder to second. Schumaker got the out at first, but McKenry had a brain cramp and wandered too far off second, getting caught in a rundown. Maybe he thought Cedeno was going on contact (he'd have been DOA).
The throw went to second, and Cedeno scampered toward home. The ball was short hopped to the plate, and RC scored while McKenry took third. A JT bouncer brought Scoobie Doo in, and the Bucs were up 4-3.
St. Louis went down routinely. But the second was it for Pittsburgh. Over the final seven innings, the Pirates had two hits, one walk and one hitter reach on an error. No one reached third base, and two of the runners were erased on DPs.
The Golden Archers tied it in the third. With two away and Berkman on first via a walk, Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot hit back-to-back singles. Berkman came home, although the Bucs nailed Schumaker at third, Presley to Cedeno to Harrison.
The Cards went ahead in the fourth. After an out, Lohse beat out an infield single and Jon Jay doubled him to third, where he scored on a Craig sac fly. That was all for JK, as Chris Leroux came on to get the final out. In 3-2/3 frames of work, Karstens gave up five runs, nine hits and two walks with a K, leaving after 65 tosses.
The Cardinals added insurance in the seventh. Holliday doubled off the wall in right-center with one out and Berkman was again walked intentionally. Freese followed with a blooper that was just out of the reach of Walker, capping a ten pitch at-bat against Chris Resop.
That brought on D-Mac. A Schumaker grounder drove in Berkman, and that would be the last run in a 7-4 Redbird win.
Today was a game for the Cards' ham-and-eggers with Albert Pujols getting a blow. Ryan Theriot, David Freese and Skip Schumaker each had two RBI. Again, the Bucco starters failed to get deep into a game, and five weeks of continuous use has frayed the bullpen. And again, the Buc offense started en fuego but went into a stall as the game wore on.
Ross Ohlendorf goes against Wandy Rodriguez tomorrow at Houston.
- Neal Huntington said on his radio talk show that the FO erred when they put Ryan Ludwick on the DL. Ludwick's back recovered quickly enough that he could have played this weekend. He's due to come off the DL on September 7th. Huntington blamed himself, saying he thought the injury was more serious.
- Jameson Taillon threw four scoreless frames for West Virginia today, giving up three hits and striking out nine. He was hitting 94-95 on the gun.