Thursday’s Game Report: Cardinals swept by Pirates in doubleheader

Thursday’s Game Report: Cardinals swept by Pirates in doubleheader

By Rob Rains

If there was a theme to the Cardinals makeup doubleheader against the Pirates on Thursday, it was the story of missed opportunities.

In the first game, an error helped the Pirates score three runs in the top of the eighth – the first extra-inning game of the year for the Cardinals – and their rally in the bottom of the inning fell short, resulting in a 4-3 loss.

In the second game, the Cardinals stranded two runners at third and two more at second in a 2-0 loss, getting swept by the last-place Pirates.

“The fact of the matter is we had opportunities and we weren’t able to capitalize,” said manager Mike Shildt. “We weren’t able to bring it home.”

The two Cardinals’ starters, Kwang Hyun Kim and Johan Oviedo, allowed a combined two earned runs over 11 innings but the offense, and defense, did not provide enough support to come away with even one win.

Here is how the games broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals only run through the first seven innings in the opener came on Yadier Molina’s first homer of the season … In the eighth, which started with a runner on second, Dylan Carlson singled before Kolten Wong hit a sacrifice fly to produce the first run. Singles by Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt cut the lead to 4-3, with the tying run on third and the winning run on first, but Brad Miller and Max Schrock struck out to end the game … In the second game, the Cardinals wasted a leadoff double by Carlson in the fifth and a two-out triple by Miller in the sixth, their only two hits after the second inning.

On the mound: Kim allowed only one unearned run and three hits over six innings in the opener as the Cardinals committed three errors … The Pirates runs in the eighth came against John Gant, aided by Miller’s second error of the game and an RBI single by Bryan Reynolds on an 0-2 pitch … Oviedo, making his second career start, worked five innings in game two. He gave up two runs, both earned, on four hits. A one-out walk followed by three consecutive singles produced both runs in the third … Austin Gomber worked the final two scoreless innings.

Key stat: Molina caught all 15 innings in the doubleheader. It was the third time in his career that he started and caught complete games in both ends of a doubleheader. Both of the previous times he did it were 13 years ago, on July 28, 2007 and Sept. 15, 2007.

Worth noting: Pop Warner, who had been away from the team since it resumed play on Aug. 15, was back coaching third base … Before the opener the Cardinals placed reliever Andrew Miller on the 10-day injured list because of left shoulder fatigue. Junior Fernandez, who had been recovering from COVID-19 was activated to take his spot in the bullpen … Seth Elledge was recalled from the Springfield camp to be the 29th player for the DH but did not pitch … Edmundo Sosa, who had been on the injured list, was activated and optioned to Springfield … Goldschmidt drew a walk in the opener to extend his streak to 12 consecutive games with at least one walk, but the streak ended in game two … Of the 10 pitchers available in the Cardinals bullpen for the two games, they had a combined total of one save this season, by Gallegos.

Looking ahead: The Cleveland Indians will be in St. Louis on Friday night to open a three-game series that will conclude the homestand. Daniel Ponce de Leon will get the start in the opener.

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About Rob Rains 191 Articles
Rob Rains , who runs was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, St. Louis Media HOF 2018, and is a former National League beat writer for USA Today’s Baseball Weekly. For three years he covered the Cardinals for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat until its demise in the 1980s. Rains was awarded the Freedom Forum Grant to teach Journalism for a year at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State. Now based in St. Louis, Rains is often a guest on Frank Cusumano’s Pressbox Show on 590AM and has been writing books, magazine articles, and covers the Cardinals and Blues for He has written or co-written more than 30 books, most on baseball, including autobiographies or biographies of Ozzie Smith, Jack Buck, and Red Schoendienst. Rains volunteers his time helping run Rainbows for Kids, a 501 (c)(3) charity for families of children with cancer in the Greater St. Louis Area.