Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wainwright Hot, AJ Not As Bucs Are Battered In St. Louis 9-1

Pretty impressive opening frame.Adam Wainwright's curve looks sick, and he collected a K and a pair of grounders to start the game. AJ was no slouch either, getting three ground outs around a two-out walk of Matt Holliday. The Buc second looked pretty similar to the first - a K and a pair of grounders.

The second wasn't going so swimmingly for Burnett. Yadier Molina sent a ball into center off Clint Barmes mitt, then Jon Jay blooped a single to center. Neil Walker made a nice play on David Freese's ball to get a force at second. The RISP gods (along with TBS, which missed the play) deserted the Redbirds for a minute, just long enough for David Descalso to bang into a 6-3 DP. AJ's not sharp at all, but he's hung up a pair of zeroes so far.

The third was a little different for the Bucs. Wainwright got a strikeout, ground out, and a *tada* line out; Clint Barmes' low bullet was tailing foul, but Freese made a diving stab to glove it on the line, so it's a perfect three frames for the Card ace.

There was no dodging raindrops for AJ. He walked Wainwright on seven pitches, and then fell behind Matt Carpenter 3-1. He got the grounder he wanted, but it went past Walker into right. For the third straight hitter, Burnett was in a 3-1 hole, and Carlos Beltran made him pay dearly by drilling a ball over the fence in right and beyond (443') for a three run homer. Holliday doubled and Matt Adams got plunked. Ray Searage paid a visit, but oddly, there was no action in the Buc bullpen after five straight Cards had reached base.

Yadier Molina walked, and AJ was at 62 pitches. However, that did stir some action in the pen as Jon Jay walked to bring home another run. Freese took a 2-2 and banged it the opposite way up the first base line; two runs scored and then a third when the relay throw got loose, with Freese going all the way to third. Hurdle came out to get him, but he was late again by a couple of batters, and let the game get out of hand by allowing AJ to hang out to dry.

Jeanmar Gomez came on and got the next three guys, freezing Freese, but a 7-0 for Adam Wainwright is about as close to money as Donald Trump is.  After two down in the fourth, Cutch bounced a single up the middle and Justin Morneau dropped a flare into right center that found grass. But The Byrd wasn't the word; he chased back-to-back hooks away and in the dirt to K. Jeanmar tossed another effective frame, surrendering just a two out two hopper into right by Adams that barely got by Walker.

Pedro got a heater down the middle, belt high to open the fifth and bombed it off the second deck railing. It didn't impress Wainwright; he picked up another pair of whiff to cruise through the bottom of the order, and now has six punch outs. Gomez walked Jay to open the Card half, followed by a Freese single, a bouncer right over second. Descalso hit one sharply to Walker; he went to second for the force, but Barmes' relay on an easy DP chance kissed the dirt and though playable, it skipped through Morneau, allowing another run to score before Jeanmar closed out the inning.

It was three Pirates up, three ground balls, and three Pirates down in the sixth. With two down, Matt Adams walked. You got it; he came around when Molina singled to right center and the ball was muffed by Cutch, allowing the big first baseman to lumber home and Yadier to get to second. A bouncer ended the inning, get geez...

It was 1-2-3 for Wainwright in the seventh as he ran his K count to nine. Vin Mazzaro worked a clean frame for the Bucs. Adam Wainwright was done for the night after tossing a dominating seven frames, and Carlos Martinez took the ball for the eighth, working a perfect frame. Bryan Morris climbed the hill, and except for a two out fister dropped softly over the infield by Holliday, pitched a solid inning.

Trevor Rosenthal came on in the ninth to get his feet wet in post season play. Smart move by Mike Methany; the rookie used 17 pitches to finish up, giving up only a two out knock to Cutch. Well, we'll see if the Bucs can practice what Clint Hurdle preaches and forget about today, a 180 degree turn from how they played Tuesday, and focus on tomorrow's game, now just a nap and bowl of Cheerios away.

It's always about the pitching, especially in post-season. Adam Wainwright has made thirteen playoff appearances with five starts and is 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA. AJ Burnett pretty much is a BP pitcher at Busch Stadium. His ERA in five career starts there is 15.50 in 18 IP, giving up 37 hits and 31 runs. And if there's a fifth game, he's the guy that's set up to work it - at Busch Stadium. Hopefully, he'll will be on a little shorter leash. And it's key to get ahead of the Card hitters; they work counts deep and go the opposite way, perfect grinders, as their RISP verifies.

Gerrit Cole and Lance Lynn do the honors tomorrow.

  • Six of the nine Cardinal runners who scored were either walked or HBP.
  • The Pirates will host a special watch party inside PNC Park for Game two tomorrow, weather permitting. Rain, thunder, lightning, and the Pirates' play made for an early end to the watch party tonight on Federal Street.
  • David Freese has hit safely in all 15 postseason games he's played for St. Louis.

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