Cards rough Archer up in Bucs debut, but cannot cash in on big opportunities, drop game-one 7-6
16 left on base. 16 left on base. 16 left on base. Okay, I’ll stop there because you hopefully get the point by now. A game with countless opportunities, 15 hits (6 with RISP), and a handful of outs on the bases, didn’t end in favor of the Redbirds.
The Cardinals would get their first look at Chris Archer in the NLC, running him from the game in the 5th inning after getting hit hard. But John Gant wasn’t much better, either.
Matt Carpenter, leadoff guy, provider of salsa, did that thing he does often, sending a leadoff HR to RCF off the new Pirates piece, putting the Cardinals on the board 1-0.
After getting Yadi to fly out to Polanco, Archer would hit DeJong with a pitch. Archer would then get Swags to pop out to Freese at 1B and end the inning with his first strikeout in the black and gold, getting O’Neill to swing and miss at a slider.
The Bucs didn’t seem to like that leadoff bomb from Carp, plating three runs faster than you could even blink. Frazier lined a leadoff double to RF, Marte tapped an infield single up 3B line, and Polanco cashed in lining a two-run triple off the chain linked fence of the Clemente Wall, scoring Frazier and Marte to put the Pirates on top 2-1.
Gant recorded his first out getting Freese to ground out to DeJong with the infield playing in. Moran extended the Bucs lead with a sac-fly to Ozuna (the arm is nonexistent), scoring Polanco to make it 3-1 after the 1st.
The Cardinals would inch back in the top of the 2nd, as the first three batters would all reach base. Gyorko with a leadoff walk, Dex with a single to RF (beating the shift), and Yairo with an RBI double down the RF line to score Trap House to make it 3-2 Pirates. Archer recorded the first out getting his counterpart to go down swinging at the slider. With first base open, Clint Hurdle would elect to put on Carp for free after Archer fell behind 2-0, loading the bases for Yadi with one out. Archer’s intensity sky rocketed for these next two batters, bringing an Octoberish vibe to this game. Archer would escape the bases loaded jam, striking out Yadi and DeJong back-to-back with sliders.
John Gant, who obviously needs to grow his locks out again, struck out the Pirates in order in the bottom of the 2nd (Harrison, Mercer, Archer). Can you guess what pitch he used for all three k’s? You’re probably right, because you should have picked the vulcan-change, I mean it is his best pitch.
Swags opened up the 3rd inning with a double to LF. Archer then picked up his 5th strikeout of the night, getting O’Neill looking at a fastball. Gyorko would ground out to Mercer, advancing Swags over to 3B with Dex coming to bat. Archer would strand the tying run at 3B, getting Dex to go down swinging on another slider.
The Pirates would invite themselves to another three-run inning, getting things started with an Adam Frazier single to RF. Marte followed that with a double to LF, putting runners in scoring position. Polanco drove in Frazier with a sac-fly to CF, bringing in Freese, who would ground out to Muñoz. Gant would deliver his first free pass of the evening to Moran, bringing in Cervelli. Cervelli and Harrison would both hit back-to-back RBI singles to extend the Pirates lead to 6-2, yikes.
Yairo Muñoz worked a leadoff walk to begin things in the 4th. Gant couldn’t do his part with the sac-bunt attempt, bunting it right in front of the plate for Cervelli to nail Muñoz at 2B. Archer ended his inning on 13 pitches.
Gant’s last inning would be a good one, as the vulcan-change machine would pick up back-to-back k’s on Archer and Frazier, but this time with fastballs in the upper 90’s, an angry Johnny Gant. Marte (3-5) would knock his third hit of the game into LF to keep the inning alive. Polanco the flew out to Dex to end the inning and the night for John Gant.
Gant’s final line: (4IP, 8 hits, 6r/6er, 1 bb, 5 k’s, 71 pitches)
The Cardinals would start the comeback in the 5th, running Archer from his debut without the chance of snagging a win. Worth noting, the rally beers were in full effect from this point on.
Pauly D opened the inning with the third leadoff walk of the night from Archer. Swags reached on an E6 from a sure-handed fielder in Mercer. What happened next was weird, for both squads. Mr. Canada, Tyler O’Neill, would hit a high fly ball to Marte in CF, but Marte would lose it, throwing his hands up asking for help. Frazier would come diving for the ball, missing it, as it dropped in for a long single. But for some reason, DeJong was held up at third, and Swags would run right past 2B looking back and putting his head down before realizing DeJong was given the stop sign from Oquendo. Swags would be thrown out, 8-3-4 on the play. A huge and costly mistake, blame it on whoever you want to blame it on in my opinion. Trap House wouldn’t let us down though, coming through with an RBI single to RF to make it 6-3. Dex came through next, lacing an RBI single to RF, scoring O’Neill to make it 6-4 and running Archer from the game.
Archer’s final line:(4.1IP, 7 hits, 5r/4er, 4 bb, 6 k’s, 95 pitches, 1 standing ovation)
Edgar Santana entered the game for Archer and Muñoz (3-4) would rip a single to LF, loading the bases for Cafecíto (pinch-hitting for Gant). Cafecíto tapped a slow roller to the left-side, advancing all the runners, getting thrown out on the RBI groundout, making the Pirates lead only 6-5 now. With Carp batting and first base open, Hurdle would IBB Carp for the second time. And for the second time it paid off, as Yadi would ground out to Moran at 3B, the Cardinals stranding the bases loaded for the second time tonight.
John Brebbia and his magnificent beard came in to throw the 5th and 6th innings for the Cardinals pen. David Freese would greet him with a leadoff single to LF. Brebs then picked up his first k, getting Moran to go down on a good fastball. Cervelli and Harrison would both pop out to end the inning.
Another golden opportunity gone to waste coming up right now. A two-out rally looked promising in the top of the 6th. Santana would pick up two quick outs on DeJong and Swags, bringing in O’Neill. O’Neill and Gyorko would connect on back-to-back singles to bring in Dex. Dex would draw a walk to load the bases for Yairo. Richard Rodríguez would be summoned from the pen to face Yairo and Rodríguez would win the battle, getting him to ground out to SS as the Cardinals stranded the bases loaded for the third time.
Brebs worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 6th, getting two nice plays from O’Neill in CF to begin and end the inning. Brebs would mix in his second k on Bostick (pinch-hitting) in between, getting him to whiff at the slider.
The other new Pirates acquisition, Keone Kela from TEX, would throw the 7th inning for Clint Hurdle. After getting Garcia to fly out (pinch-hitting), Carp would greet the other new guy in the NLC with a ground-rule double into the RF corner. Kela then struck out Yadi on a curve to bring in DeJong. DeJong would finally come through, lining a single to RF, but Oquendo would wave Carp home and Carp was hosed by Polanco by a few feet. Making a stressful night more stressful. Tyler Webb worked a clean bottom of the 7th for the Cardinals, working through the heart of the Bucs order. Marte would pop out to Carp, Polanco would fly out to O’Neill, Freese would single to RF, and Moran would ground out to Muñoz.
Kyle Crick came in for the 8th for the Pirates, looking to keep the lead at one-run for the closer, Felipe Vázquez. Crick would hit Swags with a fastball in the elbow pad to begin the inning. Mr. Canada would single to CF, as Swags would have some heads up base running, advancing to 3B on the play. O’Neill would also advance to 2B on the play to put runners in scoring position for Trap House. Jedd would ground out to Harrison, driving in Swags to tie the game at 6-6. Dex then ripped a grounder to Freese at 1B, who would gun it to the plate to throw out O’Neill, who was running on contact.
Muñoz kept the inning rolling with a single to CF. Bader(pinch-hitting) would be the final out of the inning, grounding out to Harrison.
Dex appeared to hurt his left foot on the play as he was about to round third base. He would have to be helped off the field in between innings and the Cardinals officially diagnosed it as a left foot fracture.
Mike Shildt would shuffle his defense around after the Fowler injury: moving Yadi to 1B, Peña would catch, Carp to 3B, Jedd to 2B, and Yairo to RF.
Jordan Hicks got the bottom of the 8th, getting Cervelli to ground out to DeJong to begin things. Harrison then reached with an infield single and Mercer followed that with a walk. Hicks picked up a huge first strikeout, getting Osuna (pinch-hitting) to whiff at the slider. Adam Frazier (3-5) delivered the dagger, ripping an RBI single back through the middle to make it 7-6 Pirates. Yairo Muñoz would make an horrendously beautiful play to end the inning, tumbling backwards on the warning track, falling over, to make the play on Marte.
Felipe Vázquez would shut the door for his 25th save of the year, as the Pirates held on to win game-one 7-6.
Austin Gomber (1-0, 3.22) gets the ball in game-two as he faces off against Ivan Nova (6-6, 4.33). First pitch 6:05 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers! Stew