Cole tucked away the Redbirds in the third, helped by an wall-banging sno-cone grab by Cutch. Gerritt could stand an efficient inning - after five whiffs and a walk, his pitch count is up to 51. Lynn tossed a clean frame against the top of the order.
It was 1-2-3 for the Cards in the fourth. The Kid walked on four pitches to lead off. Russ fell behind 0-2, worked the count full and banged a heater through the right side to put Buccos on the corners. Pedro went down looking at a pitch off the plate (LH strike zones are murder) after failing to catch a couple of heaters under the letters. Starling was plunked to juice the sacks. Barmes' bouncer to third went for a forceout - the relay to first was off target - and RBI. Cole's grounder ended the frame.
After two outs in the fifth, AJ Pierzynski was hit on an 0-2 pitch, followed by an Oscar Taveras ground out that went off Cole to Walker; score it 1-4-3. Josh tried to bunt his way on; the ball rolled foul and good thing as he launched the next pitch into the left field stands to make it 2-0. The Kid singled to right with two gone and Russ' knock chased him to third. Lynn fired three heaters at El Toro; he fouled a pair and popped the third behind the plate to end the frame.
That's seven stranded and 0-for-6 with RISP in five frames. And worse, Cutch came out with "rib discomfort," whether from banging into the wall or because of his last at-bat we don't know, with JT going to RF, Starling to center and Travis to left.
With two gone in the sixth, Kolton Wong lined a tight heater up the line to right for a two-bagger and the first St. Louis hit. Cole K'ed Holliday; two pitches after a 99 MPH heater, he spun a curve past him on his 104th pitch. Great outing; one hit, one walk, nine whiffs and great movement and velocity. He even mixed in his off speed stuff. Marte singled to open the Buc half. Barmes fought for eight pitches before lining out to medium center. Cole batted and bunted Starling up a station; maybe Clint is going to try to milk another frame from Gerritt. Josh K'ed, so we'll soon see.
Cole did come out, and it was a bad decision by Hurdle, especially with lefty Justin Wilson warmed up. Matt Adams doubled off a curve to open the seventh and Jhonny Peralta fought off a pitch on the hands to single through the left side put Redbirds on the corners. That brought on Tony Watson with an ovation for Cole ringing in his ears.
Jon Jay spoiled some pitches away, then got a slider he could handle well enough for a sac fly to halve the lead. Pierzynski went down swinging, but Taveras blooped a knock into center to chase Peralta to third. Randall Grichuk, just called up today (he had played earlier in the year), grabbed a stick and dropped another flare into center to knot the score and send Taveras 90' away from home. Carpenter grounded out, but two softly hit drop shots have tied the game. Sam Freeman climbed the mound and worked an easy frame, retiring the suddenly free-wheeling Pirates on five pitches.
Watson stayed on, though he had thrown 22 pitches already. He gave up a one-out single to Holliday, but a pair of K calmed the seas. Another Bucco dropped; Pedro left the game with a sore foot and Gaby took his spot.
Righty Seth Maness took the horsehide. After a Russ whiff, Gaby singled and so did Starling. Barmes hit the ball hard, but Jay grabbed it in center. Ike hit it harder, drilling a 2-2 change that spun in the middle of the dish over the wall (and almost over the back fence behind the last row) in right center. The Cards had a LHP warmed up; no idea why Mike Matheny didn't match up. Josh went down chasing a better placed change, but the Bucs were three runs up with three outs to go.
Mark the Shark got the call. With an out, Pierzynski walked, and a grounder moved him to second. There he stayed as Daniel Descalso went down swinging three pitches later.
It's a good win, and one the Bucs had to have. With Adam Wainwright on the hill and the possibility of Cutch, Pedro and Jordy being hurt and Russ getting his day-following-night break, it could shape up to be the scruberoos against the A-Team. Of course, a three-run homer or two, and who knows what could happen...?
It's also good news that both Cole and Frankie were on top of their games the last two nights. Another five or six strong starts from them would be a godsend, especially as Clint doesn't seem to have much faith in his pen outside of Watson, Melancon and maybe Hughes right now.
Jeff Locke closes out the series against Adam Wainwright in the get-away day game tomorrow.
- Ike is tied for the MLB lead with three pinch-hit homers.
- The once scorching Travis Snider is now 1-for-20.
- Tonight's attendance was 25,521.
- Indy was eliminated from the International league playoffs today. Their schedule ends on September 1st, so the minor league reinforcements should arrive the following day.
- The Pirates announced the eight players they're sending to the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League: P Tyler Glasnow, P Nick Kingham, P Adrian Sampson, P Tom Harlan, OF/1B Josh Bell (he'll play first after spending the season as an OF'er), P Joely Rodriguez, C Elias Diaz and IF Dan Gamache.