The Cardinals were handed their first series loss of the 2015 season this weekend at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Perhaps the bigger news regarding the Cardinals from this weekend is away from the team. Matt Carpenter stayed back in Saint Louis this weekend due to extreme fatigue. Many have joked about the reasoning in pure ignorance. This ‘injury’, for say, could turn real serious real fast. Matt and the Cardinals are hoping for a return with the team this week when they take on Cleveland, but I’m sure they are going to take the time needed to get him healthy. Before I get into the upcoming Cleveland series, let’s look back on this past series..
Michael Wacha and Francisco Liriano opposed each other on Friday night. The Pirates got to Wacha early, scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning. Jhonny Peralta tied the game by himself in the second with his fourth long ball of the season. Matt Holliday quadrupled the Redbirds’ score in top of the third inning with a three run home run that he hit over the centerfield wall. The Buccos answered in their half of the inning. That made the score 4-2. They made it a bit more interesting in sixth when they scored their third run of the ballgame. The Cardinals exploded in the seventh with four runs. Three of those runs can be credited to the second baseman, Kolten Wong. He sent a baseball on a trip deep over the twenty-one feet tall right field wall for his third dinger of the year. The Cardinals now led 8-3. The Pirates scored a run in each of the next two innings, but they ultimately fell short. The Cardinals won the game, 8-5, and helped Wacha achieve to 5-0 on the season.
Vance Worley twirled the ball around for the Pirates and faced off with Carlos Martinez who was looking to leapfrog over his shaky last outing, one where he surrendered seven earned runs over three and two-thirds innings. The Cardinals looked like they had a chance to bust through their goose egg on the scoreboard first in the second inning. Peralta drew a walk to start it off. That walk was followed by a double by the right fielder, Jason Heyward. Yadier Molina came up and hit the baseball hard, as usual, but this ball was snagged by Walker. He flipped to Kang at third for the second out, and then Kang fired it back to him at second for another out. That’s right. The Pirates had turned a 4-5-4 triple play. If you have a triple play turned against you, please know that most of the confidence that you once had in the game has shifted to the other team. It had, at least for the moment. Pittsburgh smacked Carlos around in the bottom of the second inning. They scored three to jump out to a 3-0 lead. The Cards fought back with a huge fourth inning. With hits from Kolten Wong, Matt Holliday, Jhonny Peralta, Yadier Molina, Carlos Martinez, and a sac fly from Jon Jay, the Redbirds took over the lead. The hitting parade was good enough to plate five runners and to give the ‘birds a 5-3 advantage. Neil Walker homered in the fifth to slice the deficit in half. The Pirates plated three more baserunners in the sixth to turn the tables. The now 7-4 score stood and the Bucs won the game. The three game series became tied, 1-1, and set up a rubber game on Sunday afternoon.
This afternoon’s game was started by Tyler Lyons and Jeff Locke. The left handers both had similar goals- to win this series. Jung Ho Kang continued his early Major League Baseball career dominance of the Redbirds when he touched a ball for his second home run of the year, both off of Cardinal pitching. The Pirates had an early 1-0 lead. They scored another in the fourth to lead 2-0. Kolten Wong responded with a two-run shot in the sixth. The home run was his fourth of the season, his second of this series. The score was all knotted up at two runs a piece. Pittsburgh broke out of the tie with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth from their right fielder, Gregory Polanco. Jason Heyward singled in Mark Reynolds in the seventh to tie the game at three. The Pirates rallied for a run in the seventh inning. The Cardinals trailed them 4-3 and went on to lose by that score. It’s only fitting that the second “Cardinal killer” on the team, Jung Ho Kang, drove in the go-ahead run.
The Cardinals are looking to retaliate from this series loss while taking on the Cleveland Indians this week. The series will start Tuesday, thankfully, meaning the Cardinals will have a much needed off day tomorrow. Lance Lynn will take the mound to face the Tribe. Cleveland’s starter is yet to be announced..
Thank you for reading!