Despite facing a reeling Pittsburgh Pirates team with a chance to gain some separation in the wild card race, the St. Louis Cardinals managed just five hits on the night were shut out tonight for the first time since July 11.
Miles Mikolas got off to a rough start that was aided in part by a defensive miscue from Jose Martinez in right field tonight and an infield single from Corey Dickerson. Mikolas found himself in an early bases loaded situation, but escaped without allowing a run.
Pirates starter Trevor Williams entered tonight with a career ERA of almost 7 in 10 career starts against the Cardinals, got into an early jam of his own when he walked Matt Carpenter to start the game and allowed a double to Yadier Molina. With runners on second and third, Tyler O’Neill hit a fly ball to shallow center that was caught on a tough play by Adam Frazier. At first, it looked like Carpenter could score on the sacrifice fly, but he was halfway between third and home on the play and couldn’t tag up in time. The Cardinals couldn’t get a run across.
After the Cardinals and Pirates traded two more scoreless innings, Matt Carpenter left the game without explanation during the top of the fourth inning. According to Dan McLaughlin on the broadcast, Carpenter threw up at first base. So either the salsa expired, or he threw up on the bag to gross the Pirates out and keep them from touching first. Pretty innovative if you ask me.
The Puke Defense would not last, and Pirates got on the scoreboard first in the fifth inning with a little help from the BABIP gods. Jordy Mercer hit a leadoff double to center and scored on a broken bat single from Starling Marte to make it 1-0 Pittsburgh. Two batters later, a single from Gregory Polanco scored Mercer to make it 2-0 Pittsburgh after five. Mikolas stranded two baserunners to stop the rally, but that would be the end of his night. (He did bat for himself in the bottom of the inning only because the short bench left Mike Shildt without many pinch hitting options)
Mikolas ended up striking out five batters and allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings. He threw 93 pitches, including 31 in the first inning, but was ultimately done in by one bad frame in the fifth.
With Carpenter presumably locked in a clubhouse toilet stall, Matt Adams took over at first base, which also means Matt Adams: Leadoff Hitter became a thing. He responded by snapping an 0-for-27 streak with a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth. Jose Martinez walked on four pitches to give the Cardinals a scoring opportunity, but they were left stranded on back-to-back flyouts. The Cardinals managed just three hits off of Trevor Willams (two of them doubles) through six innings before Williams was finally lifted.
Chasen Shreve and Dominic Leone kept tossed scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh to keep the Redbirds within striking distance as they prepared to face the Pirates’ bullpen. In the bottom of the seventh, Harrison Bader reached on a bobbled ball at third, and Yairo Munoz was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. But this would also be wasted with a Patrick Wisdom strike out and a pop out from Matt Adams to keep the score 2-0 Pittsburgh.
Yairo Munoz doubled in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but the Cardinals couldn’t do anything further, and went on to lose 2-0. With the loss, the Cardinals are now 74-59 on the year. They’ll have another shot for the series win tomorrow night. I would recommend scoring runs. And, uh, someone check on the clubhouse spread.
Some game notes:
- Tyler O’Neill has struck out 12 times in his last 6 games and can’t seem to hit a breaking ball to save his life. He certainly has a lot of power, but it may not be time to make him an everyday player just yet
- Brett Cecil pitched the eighth inning and was really efficient, striking out two. Carlos Martinez also retired the Pirates quickly in the ninth. Overall, a really good night from the bullpen.
- Recently, I moved into a new apartment that provides its residents with cable, including Fox Sports Midwest in HD. Last week, I was watching a Cardinals game, on FSM, when about halfway through, my cable went out, and when it came back on, the sound on FSM was distorted, and the picture was no longer in HD. The game looked like it was being shot on a potato, and I could barely read the scoreboard. It also doesn’t appear as though this has happened to any other channel I get besides FSM. This isn’t actually related to tonight’s game, I just felt like complaining. Carry on.