Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 7, Pirates 5
By Rob Rains
Two hits from Albert Pujols, including the 696th home run of his career, twice pulled the Cardinals into a tie with the Pirates on Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
It took one swing from Nolan Arenado to win the game.
A two-run blast from Pujols in the sixth tied the game 3-3 and lifted Pujols into a tie with Alex Rodriguez for the fourth-most homers in major-league history.
Two innings later, after the Pirates had regained the lead, an RBI single by Pujols, his third hit of the game, again tied the game.
That set the stage for the ninth when Arenado doubled with the bases loaded to drive in all three runs, breaking the 4-4 tie, and sending the Cardinals to the victory.
The win allowed the Cardinals to remain eight games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central with 22 games left to play.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Pujols’ homer followed a leadoff double by Tyler O’Neill and his game-tying single followed a two-out double by Nolan Gorman … In the ninth, the Cardinals loaded the bases on singles by Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong and a one-out walk to Paul Goldschmidt before Arenado delivered the game-winning hit … The Cardinals also got a home run from Brendan Donovan that produced their first run in the fifth.
On the mound: In his second start since coming off the injured list, Jack Flaherty allowed three runs, on two home runs, over five innings. He also walked four and did not record a strikeout, throwing 87 pitches … After Andre Pallante worked a scoreless inning, JoJo Romero allowed a home run in the seventh that put the Pirates back in the lead … Giovanny Gallegos worked a perfect eighth before Ryan Helsley gave up a run in the ninth, then closed out the win with his 15th save.
Key stat: Pujols had been hitless in his last 12 at-bats before getting a two-out double in the second inning, his first of three hits in the game.
Worth noting: The Cardinals brought back lefthanded reliever Packy Naughton from Memphis and optioned James Naile … Steven Matz made his second rehab appearance for Springfield, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in one inning. He needed 35 pitches to get through the inning. The Cardinals are hoping he can become another lefthanded option in the bullpen before the end of the season.
Looking ahead: Jose Quintana will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains