Matt Carpenter, back in the leadoff spot, got the game started with fashion today, ripping a HR to RF on the second pitch of the game. Carpenter sent the Trevor Williams sinker 417 feet, coming off the bat at 104 mph. Our leadoff hitter is back, almost like he never left us.
The Pirates would get that run back of Jack Flaherty in the bottom of the 1st. Also, on a solo HR, this one from the just activated, Starling Marte. Marte took a hanging slider to deep CF, 447 feet coming off the bat at 108 mph.
The Cardinals grabbed a one run lead, making it 2-1 in the top of the 3rd. After a Muñoz leadoff single, Flaherty would lay a perfect sac-bunt down, advancing Muñoz. And with two outs, Cafecíto would deliver with an RBI single shot up the middle, getting thrown out at second trying to take the extra base.
Flaherty buckled down and was in complete control after the Marte HR. Flaherty wouldn’t pick up his first strikeout until the 3rd inning, getting Pirates leadoff man, Josh Harrison on a 95 mph fastball.
The next two Pirates (Cervelli & Marte) would reach base, trying to put together some two out magic, before Flaherty ended the threat getting Bell to ground out to Carpenter.
The offense added two more insurance runs in the top of the 4th off Trevor Williams. Pham and Ozuna started the inning off with back-to-back hits, Pham a double down the LF line and Ozuna a single to RF.
Dexter Fowler was then drilled by a pitch on his right knee from Williams, being lifted for Harrison Bader who would pinch-run, loading the bases for Peña. Peña would hit a sac-fly to deep CF, scoring Pham. Munoz collected his 2nd RBI of the season next, reaching base on an infield single down the third base line, bringing across Ozuna to make it 4-1 Cardinals.
Carpenter (2-5) showed another sign of getting things going at the plate, laying down a perfect bunt with the shifted infield, right past Rodríguez down the third base line. Carp has made some very important changes these past few weeks, and I only expect it to get better for him.
Flaherty’s last two innings of work, were probably his best of the outing. Over his last two innings, he’d strikeout three, bringing his total to four. The first, leading off the bottom of the 5th with Mercer at the plate. Flaherty would get Mercer on that filthy slider he possesses. The final two strikeouts came leading off the bottom of the 6th. Flaherty would get Cervelli on a changeup that was dancing down and in on the hands. Marte was the next victim, he would fan at the Flaherty slider.
The Cardinals bullpen worked the final three innings, giving up 2 hits, holding the Pirates scoreless. Lyons, who was activated from the DL today, started the 7th vs lefties Moran and Polanco. Moran would hit a single to CF before Lyons would pull out his lethal breaking pitch to strikeout Polanco looking.
Jordan Hicks was called upon for the next two outs, getting them throwing only 3 pitches. Hicks came in and immediately got Mercer and Meadows to ground out.
Hicks would run back out for the 8th, making quick work again, inducing three ground ball outs.
Trap House Gyorko made a smooth play with one out and a runner (Cervelli) on first, fielding a high chopper off the bat of the speedy Marte and throwing him out at first base.
Bud Norris picked up his 10th save in as many opportunities, shutting the Bucs bats down 1-2-3, ending the game striking Polanco out on an outside fastball.
Worth noting: Matheny shuffled the top three in the order today (Carp, Cafecíto, Pham) and it payed off, as they would combine to go (6-13) with 2 RBI’s and 3 XBH’s.
First pitch 12:35 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 49 is 'in the books'
by Stew // @StewStilez