Friday, October 4, 2013

Cole, Pedro Lead Bucs To 7-1 Bounceback

Lance Lynn picked up where Adam Wainwright left off in the first; a pair of whiffs, a Cutch single and a fly out. Gerrit Cole was up in the zone a bit in the opening frame, his kryptonite inning, but escaped with the October Monster, Carlos Beltran, doing the only damage with a double, although three of the four balls in play hit fairly well and to the outfield.

In the second, Pedro hit a ground rule double that Jon Jay lost in left center between a pair of whiffs. The Cards followed the book and walked the eight hitter, Jordy Mercer, to get to the pitcher, and Cole crossed them up by singling up the middle to chase home El Toro. Starling Marte got beaned, but Walker left the bases loaded when he got a fastball where he wanted it, but got on top and bounced to second. It was 1-2-3 for the Cards, with the last two outs on the ground, a good sign. The first was on a sliding catch by Cutch, another good sign.

In the third, Justin Morneau singled between a pair of fly outs. Pedro hit a big fly, too - one that carried over the CF wall to give the Bucs a 3-0 lead. Cole tossed another clean frame, picking up his first two punchouts. The fourth went quietly for both sides.

Cutch K'ed to open the fifth, but Morneau and The Byrd banged back-to-back doubles to add on another run. Pedro walked, and Lynn called it a day as Mike Matheny brought in Seth Maness. Russ Martin singled through the left side to plate another, then Mercer hit into a force to leave runners on the corners for Cole. But he couldn't repeat, though he was close. Matt Adams gloved Cole's liner, so he'll have to make do with a 5-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Yadier Molina cut the edge down a tad when he took a heater away and banged it out of Busch. Cole settled down and retired the next three Redbirds.

John Axford took the bump in the sixth. Marte walked, and an out later, stole second. Cutch walked, and lefty Randy Choate took the ball with Morneau up Good call by Matheny as Morneau hit into a 4-6-3 DP. You can debate on whether Gaby should have hit there, but Clint doesn't play match-up with Morneau like he did with Garrett Jones, and the sixth might be just a bit early in the game. Matt Carpenter walked with an out, and that got Justin Wilson and Bryan Morris up. No need for them to break a sweat - Cole K'ed Beltran looking on a 98 MPH fastball that ran back over the plate and Holliday bounced out on 100 MPH inside heat.

Kevin Siegrist took over in the seventh for the Cards. The Byrd started off with a hustle two-bagger when his pop fell between three Cards (3b David Freese was charged with an error). Pedro bounced a ball to the right side to move him up a station, and Martin hit a fly to score him, with The Bull beating a strong throw from Beltran. Mercer singled, and Gaby grabbed a bat for Cole, popping out. Gerrit went six, giving up a run on two hits with a walk and five whiffs, tossing 86 pitches...maybe he's going to be the ace up the sleeve if there's a fifth game.  Tony Watson came on (along with Clint Barmes). Matt Adams singled, and two outs later, Freese walked. But Tony got Daniel Descalso to ground out, and there were six outs left to get.

Shelby Miller took over in the eighth, and Marte greeted him with a homer to left center, making it 7-1. Mark the Shark, who hasn't worked since the weekend, took Watson's spot. He knocked off the rust with a 1-2-3, seven pitch frame. Edward Mujica worked the ninth cleanly. Jason Grilli, who hasn't worked in a week, came to close the deal. He K'ed Holliday, then Adams banged a double they nearly left the yard. Grilli recovered nicely, punched out Molina and Jay, and the Bucs are coming home in great shape.

Well, the Pirates do have a short memory. And they got what they needed, a split in Saint Louis, and now they could end the series in Pittsburgh. It's not about statements; it's about the pitching. The Bucs are off for a day, then Sunday Francisco Liriano and Joe Kelly duke it out PNC Park. The joint should be rockin' again.

  • Jeff Banister rejuvenated an old tradition by giving out his version of the famous "Stargell Stars" to this year's players. But the MLB ruled that the small, black stars with a gold “P” are not allowed to be visible on uniforms or hats because of marketing agreements.

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