Sunday’s Game Report: Pirates 4, Cardinals 3

Thursday Game Report

Sunday’s Game Report: Pirates 4, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

There is a new entry for what could rank as the Cardinals’ worst loss of the season.

In a year filled with tough losses, what happened on Sunday in Pittsburgh might have hurt the most. The Pirates’ Yoshi Tsutsugo launched a three-run  walkoff homer off Alex Reyes to stun the Cardinals.

Reyes was trying to save a 3-1 win when he walked Jacob Stallings on a 3-2 pitch, his second walk of the inning. Tsutsugo sent Reyes’ next pitch into the Allegheny River.

That blast, which spoiled Reyes’ 27th birthday, cost the Cardinals a chance to move to just 2 ½ games behind the Reds in the battle for the second wildcard spot, going into a three-game series that begins Monday night in Cincinnati. Instead, the Cardinals remained 3 ½ games out in the playoff chase.

The ninth inning began when Reyes, who is the midst of his worst stretch of the season, walked the leadoff hitter. He struck out Colin Moran before walking Stallings and bringing Tsutsugo to the plate.

The homer was the Pirates’ first hit in the game since the fourth inning.

In his last 10 appearances, dating back to Aug. 5, when he issued four consecutive walks – three with the bases loaded – Reyes has allowed nine earned runs in 9 1/3 innings, issuing six walks and allowing three home runs.

It was the second blown save this week for Reyes, who has allowed at least one run in six of those last 10 appearances.

Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:

At the plate: Tommy Edman stayed hot as he doubled and scored in the third and then hit a two-run homer, his ninth of the season and second In three games, to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth … His run in the second came when he scored on the first triple by Tyler O’Neill in his career, coming in his 767th at-bat … In the four-game series, Edman was 9-of-18 with two homers, nine RBIs and seven runs scored … Dylan Carlson reached base three times with two singles and also was hit by a pitch.

On the mound: Kwang Hyun Kim, starting in place of the injured Jack Flaherty, allowed just one baserunner, on a walk, before giving up three consecutive singles that loaded the bases in the fourth. He got out of the inning with only one run scoring, however, on a sacrifice fly by Tsutsugo … Relievers Luis Garcia, T.J. McFarland and Geovanny Gallegos allowed only one runner, on a two-out walk by McFarland, to keep it a 3-1 game going to the ninth … It was the fourth blown save of the season for Reyes in 33 save opportunities. He had converted all eight save opportunities against the Pirates before Sunday.

Key stat: The Cardinals lost for only the third time this season when leading after eight innings. Their record had been 57-2 in those games.

Worth noting: Tsutsugo’s blast was the Pirates first walkoff homer against the Cardinals since Josh Bell hit one off Seung Hwan On on July 14, 2017 … Tsutsugo’s homer was his fourth in 17 at-bats against the Cardinals this season. He has hit one in 113 at-bats that were against teams other than the Cardinals … Edman became the first leadoff hitter in Cardinals history to score at least one run and drive in at least two runs in four consecutive games. He did not strike out in his 20 plate appearances in the series.

Looking ahead: Jon Lester will get the start Monday night in the series opener in Cincinnati.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.