Jordy opened the second with a single and was bunted to second, where he died. Waino hit a two-out ground rule double for the Cards, and he too was left at second. The rest of the game will go with three umps; plate man in blue Dana DeMuth took a shot to the mask, and was removed per the concussion protocol to get checked out. Wainwright got into rhythm, tossing a clean frame in the third. Stephen Piscotty took Locke's first pitch deep to center give the Redbirds the lead; he came back to tuck the following Cards away. The Bucs and Cards went 1-2-3 in the fourth.
Wainwright ho-hummed the Pirates again in the fifth, and Jeff did the same. Fran broke the hitless string at 14 with a two out knock in the sixth and was left aboard. St Louis went down in order; Locke has retired a dozen in a row.
|Jeff overcame a rough start to finish strong (photo Denis Poroy/Getty)|
Josh opened with a fly double to the base of the wall in left; Matt Holiday didn't have the wheels to haul it in. He was bunted to third and that was it for Waino, with a pitch count in the high nineties. Seung Hwan Oh came in to face Matt Joyce. With the infield in, the ball was spanked to first. Josh was off at contact and was dead, but stayed in a rundown long enough to get Joyce to second. JJ came through, rolling an opposite field single to left to knot the score. Cuctch walked, but a grounder ended the music.
Jeff Locke went six, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks with a whiff on 89 pitches. Neftali Feliz climbed the hill. Aledmys Diaz doubled with two gone - he's got that left center gapper down to a science - and Feliz then held his breath as Gregory tracked down a liner on the track. Kevin Siegrist alternated swinging K's with singles as the Bucs left runners the corners. Jared Hughes took over. Piscotty doubled with an out, a broken bat fly that dropped on the chalk. With two gone, Grichuk singled him home. That was followed by a walk, wild pitch and walk, but a soft fly to right shut it down.
Trevor Rosenthal toed the rubber for the save. An error and walk put Pittsburgh in business, but Cutch K'ed on a full count, ahead of a change up. A force put Bucs at first and third, and then some good news, bad news - Starling rifled a double to left center (after chucking his elbow pad to the bench), but it caught the gate, kicked up and hopped into the stands, saving a second run from scoring. More bad luck; Fran's check swing tip bounced behind the plate, but the spin brought it back over the dish without touching anyone, and Yadier Molina pounced on it for the third out tag.
|Starling kept the Bucs alive briefly (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
But the end loomed. AJ Shuugel gave up a soft infield hit to Diaz, a flyout to the bullpen wall 375' away, then a no doubter blast by Matt Carpenter to right center, and the Cards walked away with a 6-4 win.
Jeff and Waino settled in nicely after rough opening frames. Kinda curious bullpen decisions by Clint to bypass Tony for Hughes and Arquie for AJ, but it's not as if either guy who sat was setting the league on fire. The Shark was a bad hop away from working the ninth. But the big difference was the Redbirds parlayed nine hits into six runs; they only stranded as many as touched home. It was a typical Pirate - Redbird nail biter, and they get to do it again tomorrow to determine the series winner.
- The Pirates have loaded the bases with no outs three consecutive games; they have one run to show for it. It'd be nice to blow one open for a change.
- Fran and Gregory combined to strand nine runners today, tho El Coffee did at least notch one RBI.
- David Freese pinch hit today; he's still beloved in Birdland and got a standing O.
- Matt Carpenter's walk-off dinger was his first career walk-off hit.
- Trevor Rosenthal hit the blown save/win daily double. His last blown save was May, 2015, against the Buccos.
- Unusual to see, but top gun framers Fran and Yadier both lost strikes today by carrying the ball out of the zone; both times it was because the pitcher threw to the opposite side of the plate as the catcher was set up on.