Updated: Jun 10, 2018
The Cardinals would give their starter, Jack Flaherty, four early runs in the bottom of 1st hoping that would be enough to edge out the scrappy Pirates bunch.
Flaherty opened the night up with an 18 pitch 1st inning, recording two strikeouts after giving up a leadoff single to Josh Harrison. Flaherty had a good feel for his slider in the inning, but seemed to lose it as his evening progressed. Flaherty’s two strikeouts would come on the aforementioned slider.
The 4-Run 1st:
The Cardinals would bat around in the bottom of the 1st inning, scoring 4 runs on 4 hits. Carp, leadoff guy, and Bader would get things started opening up the inning with back-to-back singles. Tommy Pham tried bunting, for whatever reason, and popped it up to the pitcher, Trevor Williams, for the first out. Cafecíto would then draw a walk to load the bases for Dexter Fowler. Dex, coming off a three hit performance yesterday, would hit an RBI single to RF, scoring Carp and Bader, making it 2-0 Cardinals.
Yairo Muñoz, who had a BIG night, collected his first 2 RBI’s of the night, ripping a single to LF, scoring Cafecíto and Dex, extending the lead to 4-0. Williams finally worked his way out of the inning, throwing 25 pitches.
Everything In-between The Walk-off:
Jack Flaherty would labor in his 2nd inning of work, totaling 29 pitches. The Pirates would collect 3 hits and a run off the young pitcher, scoring on a Jordy Mercer RBI single to LF, scoring Moran. Flaherty would strand runners on the corners, recording his third strikeout on Harrison, a fastball in on the hands.
The offense would scatter three singles (Carp, Garcia, Bader) over the next 3 innings, stranding all 3 runners.
Flaherty threw his best inning of the night in the top of the 3rd, tossing 19 pitches, getting two more strikeouts of Cervelli and Marte. Flaherty got both strikeouts on fastballs on the inner-half, Cervelli with a 4-seam and Marte with a 2-seam.
The Pirates would keep chipping away in the top of the 4th, scoring another run to make it 4-2 Cardinals. Dickerson lined his second base hit of the game to LF to start the inning. Polanco would connect for an RBI double to RF with one out, scoring Dickerson. Flaherty ended the inning on a Mercer pop out to Garcia and a Williams fly out to Bader. Flaherty’s pitch count through the first 4 innings was: (18, 29, 19, 18)
The Pirates would tie the game at 4-4 the following inning, scoring both runs with 2 outs, stop me if you’ve heard that one before. After getting Harrison to fly out to LF, Flaherty would hit Cervelli with a pitch in the right forearm. After Marte flew out to Fowler, Josh Bell would tie it up with a 2 run blast barely clearing the wall in RCF.
Flaherty’s night would end after getting Dickerson to fly out to LF to end the inning.
The Cardinals would have some two out magic of their own to regain the lead in the bottom of the 5th. Fowler got things started ripping a one out double to RF and move up to third on a Muñoz fly out to Polanco. Greg Garcia (2-3, RBI) would drop a single into CF to bring home Fowler to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead.
Bullpen game the rest of the way.
Tyler Lyons and John Brebbia would combine to throw a scoreless 6th inning for the Cardinals. Lyons would work 0.2 of an inning, facing two LHH’s in Moran and Polanco. Lyons got Moran to pop out to Peña in foul territory and strikeout Polanco on a slider on the outside part of the plate. Lyons would be relieved by Brebbia would would walk the 8-hole batter, Mercer, to bring up a pinch-hitter, Austin Meadows. With the way Meadows has been swinging the bat in his short time in the bigs, this posed a scary at bat. Brebbia won, barely, getting Meadows to fly out to the warning track in front of the Pirates bullpen.
Clint Hurdle would turn to an exciting pitcher in the Pirates organization, Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow would stand two runners (Carp & Pham) after getting Cafecíto (0-3, bb) to fly out to RF. Pham got a hit too, positive thoughts, positive thoughts.
Brebbia would open the 7th inning. After recording a fly out of Harrison, Cervelli and Marte would get on base with back-to-back infield singles. Cervelli advanced to second on his single as Muñoz would kick it into foul territory past third base. With things getting dicey, Matheny would turn to one of, if not, his most reliable reliever so far this season, Jordan Hicks. Hicks allowed a walk to Bell, loading the bases for the hot hitting, Dickerson. Hicks would bust Dickerson inside with filthy sinker to induce his 7th double-play on the season out of the bullpen, a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning with the lead intact. Also worth noting, Hicks has stranded (10/12) of inherited runners this season.
Glasnow would throw the bottom of the 7th, working the fastest inning of the night with 7 pitches. Glasnow would retire the side in order as Jordan Hicks would make his way back to the mound for the 8th.
This is when things went downhill, briefly. Moran and Polanco would get back-to-back hits to start the inning, a single followed by an RBI double to RF, tying the game. Hicks got a big out, getting Mercer to fly out to RF. Todd Frazier then pinch-hit for Glasnow, working a walk to bring in the leadoff man, Harrison. Hicks would get another big out on a fly out to RF.
With Hicks at 30 pitches and only one day of rest after throwing 22 pitches the day prior, Matheny would go with his closer, Bud Norris, for the unconventional 4-out save. Francisco Cervelli immediately took the wind out of our sails, connecting for a 3-run bomb to LF, making it 8-5 Bucs. Mike Mayers was immediately summoned from the pen to finish the game off, saving Norris for the rest of the weekend.
Kyle Crick worked a quick, 12 pitch, 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 8th, getting Peña, Wong, & Carp. Hurdle probably should’ve stuck with Crick moving forward.
Mike Mayers would throw a 9 pitch top of the 9th, recording two strikeouts (Dickerson & Rodríguez) on fastballs.
Hurdle turned to his closer, Felipe Vázquez, for the save situation in the bottom of the 9th. I found this interesting given how good Crick has been and how easy he made the 8th inning look. Also, because Vázquez blew a save the past weekend vs the Cardinals and left the game grabbing/dangling his arm by his side. Something just isn’t right with him as his fastball velocity has also dipped a few ticks on the gun.
The Cardinals would end this one in dramatic fashion, scoring 5 runs to win the game without recording a single out. Bader (3-5) opened the inning with a double down the LF line. Pham reached base on a Rodríguez error at 3B and Ozuna would walk to load the bases. With Mayers due up, Luke Voit, recalled today, would drive in 2 runs with an RBI single to LF, making it 8-7 Pirates with two runners on.
With his closer struggling, Hurdle wouldn’t relieve him, even with Santana throwing in the pen. Yairo Muñoz would come through with the biggest moment of his career so far, demolishing a 3-run walk-off HR to the grass patch in CF (410 feet 103 mph exit velo), for the 10-8 emphatic win. This was the Cardinals 6th walk-off victory of 2018.
Also, something I didn’t mention because it didn’t come back to hurt us, of course, Mike Matheny double-switched THREE separate times tonight. Holy double-switch machine.
Miles Mikolas (6-0, 2.58) looks to keep his perfect record intact tomorrow night, getting the ball against Jameson Taillon (2-4, 4.53).
First pitch 7:15 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 54 is "In the Books"
by Stew // @StewStilez