Saturday’s Game Report: Pirates 5, Cardinals 4
By Rob Rain, STLSportsPage.com
The Cardinals keep trying to convince themselves that they have a chance to catch the teams ahead of them in the fight for the second wild-card spot in the playoffs.
Losing games the way they did on Saturday night, to the Pirates, is not helping those chances.
Playing the Pirates this weekend was supposed to be one of those soft spots on the schedule that would work in the Cardinals favor. Pittsburgh came into the series at Busch Stadium riding a five-game losing streak, dropping them to 37 games under .500 and deeper into last place in the NL Central, 31 games behind the division-leading Brewers.
But it was the Cardinals who could not hold a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning on Saturday night as Genesis Cabrera gave up three runs that carried the Pirates to the win, after their 4-0 victory on Friday night.
The Cardinals fell back to just two games over .500, 62-60, and 1-4 in the first five games of the homestand against the Brewers and Pirates. They are 4 ½ games behind the Reds in the race for the second wild-card spot.
Here is how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: After getting 10 hits but failing to score on Friday night, the Cardinals scored their first run in the series in the third when Tommy Edman walked and came home on a double by Paul Goldschmidt, extending his hitting streak to 10 games … They took the 3-2 lead by scoring twice in the sixth. Tyler O’Neill beat out an infield single, stole second and scored on a single by Yadier Molina. Edmundo Sosa drove in the second run with a double … Singles by Edman, Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh but they could get only one run out of it, on a sacrifice fly by O’Neill, before Molina and Lars Nootbaar struck out to end the inning … Arenado’s hit was only his third in 22 at-bats in the first five games of this homestand … Edman singled leading off the ninth to put the potential tying run on base, but Goldschmidt flew out, Arenado struck out and O’Neill grounded out to end the game.
On the mound: The two runs allowed by starter J.A. Happ both came on home runs, by Kevin Newman leading off the third inning and Yoshi Tsutsugo leading off the fourth. The Pirates had one hit in each of Happ’s six innings. He struck out eight and walked one … Cabrera had not allowed a run since July 9, covering 15 appearances and 14 2/3 innings, before the Pirates clipped him for three runs in the seventh, all coming with two outs … Luis Garcia and T.J. McFarland kept the Cardinals within a run with a scoreless inning each.
Key stat: After hitting a robust .357 in July, with seven doubles and five homers among his 30 hits, and driving in a career-high 18 runs, August has been a far different story for Harrison Bader. He was 0-of-3 on Saturday night, dropping his average in 18 games this month to .167 (11-of-67, with all 11 hits singles). Bader has driven in just two runs and struck out 25 times, 37 percent of his at-bats.
Worth noting: The newest members of the Cardinals Hall of Fame – Keith Hernandez, Tom Herr, John Tudor and Bill White – were formally inducted in a ceremony on Saturday at Ballpark Village and then recognized in an on-field ceremony before the game … The Cardinals’ first pick in this year’s draft, Michael McGreevy, made his second appearance for the Florida Complex League team on Saturday, working 2/3 of an inning. He allowed one run on three hits, getting both of his outs on strikeouts … Former Cardinal Lane Thomas, traded to the Nationals for Jon Lester, has gone 6-of-11 in five games since being recalled from Triple A. He has a double, triple and two RBIs in his three starts and has also drawn four walks.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series against the Pirates as the Cardinals try to prevent Pittsburgh from sweeping the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains