Game 50 Recap
St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates
As we know him, leadoff hitter, Matt Carpenter started the game with another XBH, knocking a double off the Clemente wall in RF for a double. Cafecíto moved Carp over on a grounder to Frazier at 2B. Pirates starting pitcher, Jameson Taillon, recorded two strikeouts in the inning (Pham & O’Neill), getting his first on Pham before Ozuna would hit a weak ground ball to SS for an infield, RBI single, giving the Birds a 1-0 lead.
Miles Mikolas worked a little longer than he usually does in the bottom of the 1st, tossing 19 pitches (14 strikes). Mikolas would force two fly ball outs in the inning to Ozuna in LF. Austin Meadows reached base on a one out, infield single. Meadows would be stranded on first, as Mikolas fanned Josh Bell after a 7 pitch battle on a slider that tied Bell up, it wasn’t the only time he was tied up in the at bat either.
Starling Marte fouled a pitch into the Cardinals dugout during the inning, getting Mike Shildt right in the coconut. He seemed responsive, but damn that welt on his head was massive in a matter of seconds.
The Cardinals and Pirates would both go down in order in the 2nd inning. Taillon ended his inning with his 3rd strikeout, getting Carson Kelly.
Mikolas induced two weakly hit ground balls in the inning, and recorded his second strikeout of the day, getting Polanco on a 96 mph fastball.
Mike Shildt returns to the dugout in the top of the 3rd inning and Matt Carpenter hits a double to the LCF gap, what was the moneyline in Vegas on both those happening? And how could Shildt even fit his hat back on his head? Incredible.
Carpenter would be stranded on 2B after his second double of the afternoon, Cafecíto popped up to Bell, Pham grounded out 5-3 to end the inning.
Mikolas had the most Mikolas like inning, efficiency wise, working a 1-2-3, 8 pitch inning. Mercer and Frazier would fly out to Pham and Carson Kelly would make a good play to get Taillon on a weak hit ball in front of the plate.
At this point it looked like we were locked in a pitcher’s duel, Mikolas setting down his last 8 in-a-row, the only hit being a weak hit infield single from Meadows.
Taillon would hurl a 6 pitch inning in the top of the 4th, retiring the side in order, Marte making a good play on an O’Neill fly ball to CF.
Austin Meadows, again with weak contact (59 mph off the bat), blooped a single into shallow LF for his second hit of the day, the only hits for the Bucs to this point. With Marte batting, Meadows would steal 2B on a delayed steal. Mikolas threw Marte three straight strikes, throwing the slider two times in-a-row, the second further off the plate to get Marte reaching for Mikolas’ 3rd strikeout. Josh Bell would follow with a deep fly out to the track in CF and Meadows would tag up on the play. The delayed steal loomed large, as Moran would lace a 1-0 fastball over Wong into RF for an RBI single, tying the game 1-1. Mikolas ended the inning on three straight strikes to Polanco, getting him looking on a buck-nasty curveball for Mikolas’ 4th strikeout of the day.
Taillon would work another extremely quick inning, throwing 8 pitches, setting the Cardinals down in order. This put him at only 21 pitches through the last 3 innings. Taillon picked up two more k’s in the inning, getting Muñoz and Mikolas ending the inning.
The Pirates got to Mikolas in the bottom of the 5th, plating 3 runs, giving them the 4-1 lead. Mikolas allowed a leadoff walk, a rarity, to Díaz before giving up a single to LF off the bat of Mercer. With Taillon batting and nobody out, Clint Hurdle wouldn’t have his pitcher sac-bunt, instead flying out on a shallow fly to O’Neill in RF.
Then, Adam Frazier had the biggest at bat of the day, working an 11 pitch at bat, hitting a 2 run triple to the LCF gap. Pham broke in on the ball before realizing how hard it was actually hit. He realistically probably had no chance getting it, even if he did break properly. Austin Meadows would hit a sac-fly to LF, scoring Frazier, giving the Pirates a 4-1 lead after 5.
The Cardinals would threaten to push across some runs in the top of the 6th, only to be let down, nothing new here.
Taillon allowed a leadoff walk to Carp and Cafecíto would move him over on a ground out to 2B. Tommy Pham then ripped a ball (95 mph off the bat) down to Moran at third, ruled an error, although it should be a hit, to put runners on the corners with one out. Taillon then made Ozuna look bad, really bad. Tying him up on a first pitch sinker, way in on his hands, almost hitting him for a swinging strike one. Taillon induced an inning ending 6-4-3 double-play on Ozuna, escaping the jam.
Mikolas looked to have a bounce back inning, but would have a battle on his hands with leadoff man, Josh Bell. Bell worked a 9 pitch at bat, eventually striking out looking on a 95 mph heater. Mikolas got the next two batters (Moran & Polanco) out, Polanco ending the inning on a weak pop up to Carson Kelly. Bounce back inning successful.
The Cardinals would strike in the top of the 7th, with one of their infamous two out rallies they’ve been putting together this season. Taillon began the inning striking out his 6th batter of the game in Tyler O’Neill. Wong and Muñoz would collect back-to-back singles, forcing Hurdle to turn to his pen, giving the ball to Santana. Santana would come in and throw a wild pitch, moving Wong and Muñoz up a base. Santana induced a weak pop up off the bat of Carson Kelly to CF, leaving the runners put. Jedd Trap House would grab a bat and trap, hitting a huge, two out 2RBI single to LF, dropping it in no mans land hugging the line. Carp made his first out of the afternoon, popping out to the shifted 2B, stranding Gyorko. Pirates lead holding at 4-3.
Sam Tuivailala, who’s been lights recently, got his chance to pitch in another high leverage situation. Tui was tasked with keeping the Cardinals within one run, and he did fantastic, hitting 97 mph on the gun a couple of times. Also, his breaking pitches don’t go unnoticed. His slider and curve were on point today, sharp. Tui set down the Pirates in order, throwing 8 pitches, all for strikes. His curveball to strikeout Mercer was lethal, Tui’s curveball has became a legit weapon.
The Cardinals grabbed the lead back in the top of the 8th, scoring 3 runs on 2 hits and 4 walks. The inning started vs reliever Feliz, who would give up a leadoff single to Cafecíto before giving up back-to-back walks to Pham and Ozuna, loading the bases for O’Neill.
O’Neill (0-5, 4 k’s) would fall victim for his third strikeout of the day, bringing in Wong.
Hurdle went with his left-handed closer, Vázquez, with Wong due up and Matheny would counter with pinch-hitting Bader. Bader blooped a shallow fly into RF, tying the game 4-4. Yairo Muñoz then got the easiest RBI of his career, walking with the bases loaded, giving the Cards the lead. Kelly added to the lead with a 6-4 fielder’s choice, scoring Ozuna, making it 6-4 Birds.
Hicks and Norris would come in to close the door for the second consecutive day.
Hicks would retire the Pirates in order, throwing 14 pitches (9 strikes), mixing in more of that devastating slider. Just ask Sean Rodríguez about it, he knows.
Bud Norris secured the 6-4 series winner for the Cardinals, collecting his 11th save of the season in as many opportunities, getting the middle of the Pirates order 1-2-3 to end the game.
The Cardinals (28-22) will have a happy flight heading to Milwaukee (34-20) as they take on the NL Central leading Brewers for a three-game set before returning home this weekend to host the Pirates.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 50 is 'in the books'
words by Stew // @StewStilez
visuals and captions by cardinalsgifs