Tuesday’s Game Report: Pirates 3, Cardinals 1
By Rob Rains
The box score will show that the Cardinals lost Tuesday night’s game when the Pirates scored two runs in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium.
In reality, however, the loss came two innings earlier.
In a 1-1 game in the seventh, Dexter Fowler led off with a double off the top of the wall in left center and went to third when the ball was bobbled in the outfield.
He stayed there when Kolten Wong walked. He stayed there when Matt Wieters grounded into a force out. He stayed there as Harrison Bader hit a foul popup to the first baseman. Fowler was finally able to get off third when Jose Martinez grounded out for the inning-ending out.
“Clearly frustrating,” said manager Mike Shildt. “We’ve got to execute there. We couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.”
Carlos Martinez got himself in trouble in the ninth when he hit a batter with one out, followed by two singles, a walk and a bases loaded groundout which scored the second run of the inning.
The loss snapped the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals only run scored in the fifth. Bader doubled, stole third and scored on a double just over third base from pitcher Jack Flaherty … The other two hits for the Cardinals were a pair of singles by Tyler O’Neill … Tommy Edman was in the leadoff spot and was 0-of-4 … The top three hitters in the lineup, Edman, Paul DeJong and Paul Goldschmidt, were a combined 0-of-12 with only one ball hit out of the infield.
On the mound: Flaherty continued the Cardinals’ outstanding run of pitching from their starters, allowing just three hits and one run over seven innings. In the five games since the All-Star break, one turn through the rotation, the starters have allowed four runs in a combined 35 2/3 innings, an ERA of 1.01 … The Pirates’ first run scored in the fifth on their first two hits of the game, a double by Corey Dickerson and a single by Kevin Newman, ending a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings from the Cardinals’ starters … Flaherty has allowed five hits and two runs in 14 innings in his last two starts and went 0-1 with a no-decision … Giovanny Gallegos retired all three batters he faced in the eighth to keep the game tied going to the ninth … Martinez had not allowed a run in his last five appearances, covering 7 1/3 innings.
Key stat: Tuesday night’s game was the 162nd for the Cardinals with Mike Shildt as manager, the equivalent of a full season. The team has gone 88-74 in those 162 games, exactly the same record for their first 162 games under Mike Matheny in 2012 and under Tony La Russa in 1996.
Worth noting: Matt Carpenter was placed on the injured list before Tuesday night’s game. He suffered a severe bone contusion on Monday night when he fouled a ball off the top of his right foot. “I’ve never not been able to finish an at-bat before but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk this morning,” said Carpenter, whose right foot was in a boot. Carpenter had just come off the injured list (lower back strain) when the season resumed after the All-Star break. He has started only four games since June 25, going 3-of-17, and will go out to play at either Memphis or Springfield to get at-bats before returning to the Cardinals. There is no timetable yet for when that will be … The Cardinals recalled infielder Edmundo Sosa from Memphis to replace Carpenter on the roster … Pirates pitcher Dario Agrazal was 0-of-2, extending a streak of Cardinals pitchers holding the opposing pitcher without a hit to 35 consecutive at-bats. The last hit allowed by the Cardinals to an opposing pitcher was a home run by the Mets’ Steven Matz on June 14. The only opposing pitcher to reach base since then reached on a walk … Two pitchers selected in this year’s draft, Connor Thomas and Logan Gragg, were promoted from State College to Peoria on Tuesday. Also making the same move was outfielder Jonatan Machado. Outfielder Terry Fuller was promoted from Johnson City to State College.
Looking ahead: Daniel Ponce de Leon will get the start on Wednesday in the final game of the series and the homestand. The game is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains