Cards spoil Bucs home opener with bizarre 6-5 win
Bear with me with this recap, this game seemed to take half a lifetime, lasting just under the 5 hour mark at 4 hours and 50 minutes. So I’m gonna try and break this down in to about 3 short segments, I can’t believe what I watched today, but I loved every second of it.
Chris Archer would get the honors of pitching the Bucs home opener, and he racked up the k’s, nothing new through the first five games. Archer would strikeout Carp (looking at a slider, Carp wasn’t a big fan of the call) and DeJong (on a fastball down the pipe). Working around a one out walk to Goldy, stranding him at first.
Waino would oppose Archer, and it wasn’t so good for Uncle Charlie to get the afternoon started. Waino would fall behind the first five hitter with at least 2-0 counts, walking Frazier, Marte, and Cervelli in the inning. After Frazier and Marte walked to begin the inning, Dickerson would ground out 3-1 on the play, to bring in Josh Bell. Bell would roll an RBI grounder to KoWo at 2B to put the Bucs on the board 1-0. Waino then fell behind Cervelli, walking him to put runners on the corners for Colin Moran. Moran delivered with a double into the RF corner, clearing the bases to extend the early lead, 3-0. Waino was able to stop the bleeding there, getting Reyes to pop out to DeJong.
Archer would blank the Cards over the next couple innings, leaving them searching for their first base hit heading into the 4th inning. Archer would add three more k’s to his line over the 2nd and 3rd, while working around two walks and a HBP on DeJong.
Waino bounced back effectively in the bottom of the 2nd, striking out González looking at a slow 78mph cutter and Archer looking at a sinker. DeJong ended the inning taking away a base hit from Frazier.
But the Pirates would add to their lead in the bottom half of the 3rd, getting the inning started with back-to-back hits from Marte and Dickerson. Marte would single into LF and Dickerson would send one to deep LCF for a ground ruled double to put runners at second and third with nobody out. Josh Bell then drove a sac fly to Swags in LF, who of course is going to get tested with how his shoulder has looked thus far, scoring Marte to make it 4-0 Pirates. Waino kept it there. Striking out Cervelli looking at a curveball, IBB Moran, and a fly out to RF off the bat of Reyes.
The Cardinals would get their only two hits vs Archer in the 4th and 5th innings, not making any noise, adding to everyone’s frustration level. Dex would deliver the first Cards hit of the game, sending a single the opposite direction to LF. After Wong flew out to CF, Dex would get caught stealing with Bader at the plate, on a play originally ruled as safe. After review it was *apparently* determined Dex was out and whatever rally we thought the Cardinals had going, wasn’t there at all.
Bader would get things started in the 5th for the Cards, singling into LF to bring in the pinch-hitter, Drew Robinson. Archer would play no games starting now, striking out the next three he faced on sliders, stranding Bader at first. Carp was not happy with his called third strike this inning, to say the least, keep in mind *foreshadowing*.
John Brebbia, my dad, would come in and throw two scoreless frames in the 5th and 6th from the bullpen, retiring the side in order in the 5th, getting two fly outs and one ground out on Marte-Dickerson-Bell. Brebbs would add two k’s to his line in the 6th, striking out Cervelli and Reyes on heaters, before getting Reyes to fly out to Fowler.
Chippin’ away The Cards would chip away at the 4-0 deficit, getting the fun started in the top of the 7th, plating three runs to cut the Bucs lead to 4-3. Rodríguez would come in to pitch the 7th for the Pirates, hitting Fowler with a pitch, which looked to hit him on the left toe(s) somewhere. KoWo didn’t take too kindly to that gesture, and he made Rodríguez pay, driving a ball over the Clemente wall in RF to make it a 4-2 game. Haaaaaaarry Bader then beat out an infield single, bringing in another pinch-hitter, Prince Sex O’Neill. The good fortunes kept rolling for O’Neill, as he was graced by the baseball gods, reaching base on an error from Moran at 3B. Liriano would relieve Rodríguez, coming in to face the lefty Carpenter. Leadoff guy did what leadoff guy does, worked an amazing plate appearance, drawing a walk to load the bases for Goldy, uh-oh. Hurdle would go back to his pen (but can’t do this next year) going with the fireball right-hander, Keone Kela. Goldy would battle like Carp, drawing the easiest RBI he’ll ever get, walking to bring in Bader to cut the Bucs lead to one, at 4-3.
Kela wouldn’t let it get any worse, getting the next three, stranding the bases loaded with nobody out. DeJong would fly out to shallow CF to Marte and Swags and Yadi would strikeout to send things to the bottom half of the 7th.
Things kept getting dicey, as Dom Leone would come in to pitch the 7th. JB Shuck would take his first at bat of the afternoon, sending an easy fly ball to CF, but it wasn’t so easy apparently, as it popped out of the gliding Bader’s glove. Shuck would take 2B on the error. Leone put it all behind him, painting pitches to Frazier, eventually striking him out for the first out. Leone then would get Marte to ground out to Pauly Deez up the middle to advance Shuck over to 3B. With Dickerson and Bell coming up, Shildt would turn to his lone lefty, Andrew Miller.
The command issues struggled for Miller, as he walked Dickerson and hit Bell with a pitch to load the bases for Cervelli. Mike Mayers was called upon for the bases loaded jam. And he came thru, breathe a sigh of relief. Mayers would get Cervelli to ground out to DeJong to strand the bases juiced.
Somewhere around this time we go to a three man ump crew, as Jerry Layne (RIP) got drilled one too many times and had to be lifted for Vic Carapazz, who was today’s second base umpire.
Yairo Muñoz would get his first AB to leadoff the 8th, reaching base on another Cards infield single, bringing in KoWo. Burdi would pick up two huge strikeouts back-to-back, getting Wong and Bader on sliders to bring up Prince Sex for his second AB of the afternoon. And wow, talk about a game of inches. O’Neill would rip a ball down the LF, the ball spitting up chalk as it ricocheted off the line into the corner, bringing in the tying run in Muñoz to make it 4-4. Vázquez would come in an inning early, looking to get the final out vs Carp. Carp’s struggles at the plate today continued, as Vázquez struck out Carp on a slider to strand O’Neill at 2B.
The Pirates hit what seemed to be the final nail in the coffin leading off the bottom of the 8th, as Moran launched a solo shot off Mayers to make it 5-4 Bucs. Mayers then got Kang (first AB) to fly out to Bader and González to pop out to KoWo. Mayers then drilled Shuck with a fastball that ran in too much, plunking Shuck on the back. Frazier kept the inning alive, drilling a single back thru the middle to bring in Marte. Mayers had one final bullet in his arm, freezing Marte on a heater to keep things at a one run game going into the 9th.
The baseball gods really wanted the Cardinals to spoil this Bucs home opener, and I don’t know why, but I’m not asking questions. Goldy would reach on an error from González at SS. DeJong then grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, getting lucky as Frazier had trouble getting the ball out of the glove on the transfer. With Mayers spot up, Cafecíto would grab a bat to pinch-hit, but not before DeJong would advance to second base on a wild pitch from Vázquez. Cafecíto just knows how to hit, man. The Cardinals expert pinch-hitter drove an RBI double to the RF gap, splitting Marte and Shuck to tie the game at 5-5. Vázquez made sure this game would get to the bottom of the 9th tied, getting Yadi to pop out and Muñoz to fly out to shallow LF.
Jordan Hicks takeover. Jordan Hicks would come in to throw two scoreless innings, making batter fall to their knees, literally. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was so routine. Hicks would work a lot of deep counts today, but he limited mistakes. Dickerson would get the first look at Hicks, and he whiffed at a 101mph sinker. Melky Cabrera got a chance next, drawing a walk to extend things to an always uncomfortable at bat, Francisco Cervelli. Hicks would win the battle, inducing an inning ending 6-4-3 double-play.
Hicks would work a 1-2-3 10th, getting Moran to fly out to shallow RF to O’Neill. Kang would give it a try next, to no avail, swinging late at a 99mph sinker offering. Hicks would make a fancy play to end the inning, handling a comebacker from González to take things to the 11th still knotted up at 5-5.
The Cards had some of that two out magic in them today, as DeJong got things started with a single up the middle off Brault, working in his second inning. Brault then hit Wieters (pinch-hitting for Hicks) with a pitch to bring in Yadi. Yadi did his thing, working the count, drawing a walk to load the bases for Jive Muñoz. Muñoz would be facing newly entered reliever, Nick Kingham, who would deliver a wild pitch on ball four, bringing DeJong across for the 6-5 lead. Wieters would get cut down at home on the play, sending things off to Johnny G-Spot for the save opportunity in the 11th.
G-Spot would work a 1-2-3 inning, securing the first save of the Cardinals 2019 campaign. But it wasn’t easy either, Gant looked like he was having trouble finding the zone. Shuck would leadoff the inning grounding back to Gant on the mound. Frazier drew a walk, putting the tying run on base for Marte. G-Spot rolled up a game ending double-play, with a sweet flip from KoWo and turn from DeJong, going 4-6-3 on the play for the Cardinals 6-5 wild win.
Top 3 plays:
3.) KoWo goes deep for the 3rd time, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
2.) Prince Sex and Cafecíto RBI doubles (Prince Sex to tie it 4-4, Cafecíto for the lead 5-4).
1.) Hicks and G-Spot doing their thangs.
The Cardinals have an off day tomorrow, and will be back in action Wednesday evening vs the Pirates for the final game of a short two-game set. The Lizard King (0-1, 9.00) will make his second start of the season, facing off against Jameson Taillon (0-1, 6.00). First pitch from PNC is 6:05pm c/t.