Cards comeback again to sweep Pirates in extras, 5-4
Here we are again. Yelling at our tv’s, drinking our beers, whispering under our breath how much we hate baseball. Then suddenly baseball happens, which means it gets weird, and that’s where I come in and break this whacky sob out. April baseball is a trip, that’s all I know. And through the first six games, I couldn’t be more serious, the scorebook is getting some work in.
The Lizard King, Miles Mikolas would get the ball for the Cardinals tonight, making his second start of the season. Mik would be opposed by the big, fastball throwing right-hander, Jameson Taillon.
Honestly the difference in this game may have been when Clint Hurdle went to his bullpen to start the 8th inning, but we will get to that in a sec.
The Pirates dominated the Cardinals through the first 6 frames, or another way to put it, the Cardinals shot themselves in the foot one too many times. Taillon would yield just two hits through the first 6 innings, a single to Yadi in the 2nd and an infield single to the Lizard King himself in the 3rd.
The Pirates played some solid defense behind their starter tonight too, taking away at least a couple of hits from the Cardinals. Pauly Deez got robbed of a base hit to end the 1st inning by González at SS. Harry Bader got robbed of extra bases leading off the top of the 3rd inning by RF, Melky Cabrera. And Drew Robinson (pinch-hitting) had a bloop single taken away from Kang at 3B. (who made a routine pop almost turn to a base knock, so really this is pointless.)
Taillon was basically in cruise control out there, working fast innings, walking none, while striking out five. (85 pitches, 57 strikes)
The Lizard King on the other hand, was battling in and out of trouble his entire start. But he kept the Cardinals within striking distance. And he didn’t want to come out of the game either.
Adam Frazier decided he wanted to have the best game of his 2019 season tonight, raking off the Liz King, going (3-3) off him with 2 doubles and an RBI single.
Mik worked around the leadoff double in the bottom of the 1st from Frazier, striking out Marte on a hard two-seamer in on the hands. Things got a little trippy next, as Cervelli would send what looked to be a routine fly ball to Dex, who would mishandle it to put runners on the corners. Josh Bell then worked a walk on Mik to load the bases for the, not such a good guy, Jung Ho Kang. The Leadoff Guy, Matt Carpenter would flex his junk with a slick play to start an inning ending double-play, ranging to his left, throwing to KoWo who delivered the transfer over to Goldy.
The Bucs got on the board in the bottom of the 2nd, as JB Shuck reached base on an, one out, infield single to DeJong. That would bring up the eight-spot hitter, Erik González, who would lace an RBI triple into the RF gap, scooting past Dex to the wall. Mikolas then struck out his counterpart Taillon on a curveball, his second k of the evening. That would turn things over to the top of the order and Adam Frazier, who singled past the outstretched gloves of Goldy and Wong, dribbling the ball into RF for an RBI single to make it 2-0 Bucs. The inning would end as Starling Marte ripped a ball back to Mikolas on the mound, who gathered in time to underhand toss to Goldschmidt at first, stranding Frazier at second after swiping his first base of the season.
Kang put the Pirates on the board again with two outs in the 3rd inning. After two quick outs, Kang would get a high pitch to his liking from Mikolas, sending it to deep LF for a no doubter, making it 3-0 Pirates.
Dom Leone came in to relieve the Lizard King after his 5 innings of work, ending his night with a line of: (5 IP, 7 hits, 3r/3er, 2 bb, 2 k’s) Leone would toss an easy 1-2-3 inning, striking out the final two he faced (González and Taillon) on a cutter and fastball.
After Taillon would retire eleven Cards batters in a row, Pauly Deez would end that leading off the 7th. DeJong blasted a solo shot to LF, his 2nd HR of the season to make it a 3-1 game. Taillon set down the next three in order to take things to the bottom half, striking out Dex looking at a slider to end his night. (7IP, 3 hits, 1r/1r, 0 bb, 5 k’s)
The Cardinals made sure to tie this thang in the top of the 8th once Taillon was relieved with Kela, who they made work the other day as well. KoWo worked a good leadoff plate appearance, walking to bring in Harry. And Harry finally hit outta that bad luck from his first two line outs to Cabrera in RF, jacking a 2-run blast to CF into the bullpen areas to tie the game at 3-3. Prince Sex would get his first at bat next, grounding out to Kang to bring in the top of the order. Leadoff Guy did his thing too, sending a weak double deep into the RF corner. I know that doesn’t sound right, but if you were watching it you’d know, the ball was hit on the inner half of the bat and placed perfectly past Reyes. Kela stranded Carp in scoring position, getting Goldy to pop out to González and DeJong to strikeout swinging at a curve.
Mike Mayers and Andrew Miller would tag team the 7th and 8th innings for the Cardinals bullpen, working two scoreless to keep things tied heading to the 9th. Mayers worked two groundouts on Frazier and Marte before walking Cervelli. Mayers was throwing a lot of deep counts, but finally punched out Bell on a fastball to end the 7th. Mayers would get Kang to leadoff the bottom of the 8th, getting him to fly out to Bader. With Dickerson (pinch-hitting) coming up, Shildt would turn to Andrew Miller to counter Hurdle’s move. This was a nerve wrenching move given Miller’s command thru his first couple of outings, but the lefty did his part, getting Dickerson to reach at a 3-2 slider, grounding it back to him on the mound for the 1-3 putout. Miller sent things to the 9th after getting Shuck to strikeout looking at a heater.
Kyle Crick would get the 9th inning for the Pirates pen, working an easy 1-2-3 to keep things tied heading to the home half of the inning. Crick worked right thru Cafecíto, Molina, and Muñoz (pinch-hitting), getting Muñoz to reach at his exceptional slider.
Johnny G-Spot Gant, who’s been one of, if not, the most valuable piece in the Cards pen to begin the season, would get the opportunity to try and keep this thing tied and send it to extras for a second straight game. Gant immediately gave up a free pass to the first batter he faced, González, bringing in Reyes, who was making his first at bat after replacing Cabrera in RF in the 8th. With Reyes batting, González would swipe his first base of the season, sliding around a Pauly Deez tag, as Yadi’s throw appeared to beat him there. Gant would then punch out Reyes on a two-seamer to turn things over to the Pirates hottest hitter, Adam Frazier. Frazier smoked the ball down to Carp at the hot corner, as Carp would make a game saving play, I was so relieved. Marte ended the inning, grounding out to Carp to take things to extras for the second straight game.
Nick Burdi would start things out in the 10th inning from the Pirates pen, serving up a HUGE leadoff triple to KoWo. How unbelievable has he been to kickoff the season?
Harry would then draw a walk to bring in Prince Sex O’Neill, who delivered yet another clutch hit in late innings, sending an RBI single thru the right side of the infield to plate Wong to give the Cards a 4-3 lead. Francisco Liriano would come in relief to face the lefty, Matt Carpenter, who would fly out to Marte to bring in Goldy with two runners on. Goldy would work a walk to load the bases for DeJong. One thing to keep in mind with a lefty with a heavy slider pitching late with runners in scoring position, they’re a liability. And we saw why. Liriano would deliver a slider to DeJong, in on the hands, and Cervelli mishandled it to bring in Bader to make it a 5-3 Cardinals lead. Liriano worked around the damage and kept it at that, bringing in Alex Reyes for a save opportunity.
But things wouldn’t go so smoothly for Reyes, as he still struggled with command. Cervelli would open the inning with a broken bat single into LF, getting a jam sandwich in on the hands. After Bell flew out to Cafecíto, Reyes would walk Kang and Moran back-to-back to load the bases for Shuck. Shildt would go out to get Reyes, bringing in Dakota Hudson, who was placed in the bullpen this evening given the Cardinals upcoming schedule, allowing the Cards to have an extra long man in the pen if need be. Hudson, who has had troubles vs left handed batters, would walk Shuck to cut the Cards lead to 5-4. Hudson would settle down, picking up his first career save, getting González to pop out to Goldy (the most underrated play of the game) and Reyes to ground out to DeJong. Gant and Hudson are now tied with a save a piece on the season.
Top 3 Plays:
3.) Carp Daddy’s snag on Frazier’s liner in the 9th with Gant pitching and the winning run on second base
2.) Goldy’s catch, quick pivot and throw home in the 10th inning to keep the tying run at 3B
1.) Clutch hits- DeJong HR off Taillon in the 7th, Bader 2-run tying HR off Kela in the 8th, and Prince Sex RBI single for the lead in the 10th
The Cardinals (3-3) have an off day tomorrow before coming home for their home opener vs the Padres (4-3) Friday afternoon. The game was originally scheduled for tomorrow at 3:15, but due to the weather forecast, it has been pushed back on the original scheduled off day Friday. Jack Flaherty (0-0, 8.31) will get his first Opening Day nod at Busch, as he will he opposed against left-handed rookie, Nick Margevicius* (0-1, 1.80). First pitch at 3:15pm c/t with festivities starting on the field around 2:30pm.
It appears Swags Ozuna is getting an MRI in STL tomorrow due to an intercostal issue, which doesn’t sound very fun at all. I would expect Ozuna to go to the IL as Trap House Gyorko will be coming off the IL for the home opener.